Television News Content of Minority Groups as Contextual Factor of the Differences between Specific Prejudices
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AbstractBeyond their overall level of generalized prejudice across groups, individuals express different levels of prejudice toward different target groups. In this paper, adopting a media-based explanation, we assess whether differences in television news content are associated with differences in target-specific prejudices. Therefore, television news content (tone and framing) of five minority groups (LGBT, Jews, Eastern Europeans, North-Africans and Roma) are combined with individual-level survey data from Belgium. The content analysis reveals large differences in the tone and framing of news coverage between these minority groups. Multilevel analysis suggests that differences in prejudice are indeed reflected by patterns in television news coverage for these groups: minorities that are most negatively evaluated by the public receive the most negative coverage, with many references to problems and threat frames. Prejudice is especially high for minority groups that are often associated with criminal threat frames in the news. Groups that are positively depicted are associated with less prejudice. We conclude that television content is an important contextual factor contributing to the explanation of differences in target-specific prejudice.
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