A new study published by the University of Houston discovered that long-term exposure to television news outlets that unfairly represent race causes racial biases, reported RawStory. In short, mainstream network news can make you racist.
The study was published as a collaborative effort between researchers at the University of Houston and the University of Munich in Germany. Professor Temple Northup of the University of Houston cited previous findings showing that local new stations overreport on crime and that black people are overrepresented as criminals.
The same effect is present in Austria as foreigners are often overrepresented in tabloid-style daily newspapers. This effort was led by Professor Florian Arendt at the University of Munich in Germany.
“The two countries were selected due to access of available data for a comparable news stereotype that exists in both countries,” said Northup. “In the U.S., a large body of research indicates crime is overrepresented on local television news relative to the actual amount of crime that actually occurs in a community.”
Three hundred and sixteen people participated in the first study of American viewers. They completed the Implicit Association Test (IAT), a psychology tool used to uncover a person’s hidden or unrealized biases. Participants were then asked to express their conscious feelings about black people and how many hours of news they watch each day.
As Northup suspected, Americans who watch more local television news developed implicit negative racial attitudes toward African-Americans.
The study was replicated in Austria in an attempt to find similar results. As with the American study, Austrians who read a specific type of tabloid print news developed more negative feelings toward foreigners.
“The results of the studies suggest that in both these countries, regular exposure to stereotypical news coverage creates negative implicit attitudes,” said Northup. “The findings from the study in the U.S. suggest individuals who consumed more local television news than others in the study may have increased negative racial bias toward African-Americans.”
Northup concluded that Austrians who read tabloid-like newspapers developed similar implicits attitudes.
There is a problem with American news at all levels. The 24-hour news giants like CNN and Fox make stories out of nothing in an attempt to fill airtime. The local networks do the same thing. Mainstream news no longer seeks to inform the electorate. Instead, it chases ratings and ad revenue.