New Study Shows Further Media Bias

By Free Radical

Travis Dixon, University of Illinois professor authored a report that shows racial bias in media.

Travis Dixon, University of Illinois professor authored a report that shows racial bias in media.

Black families are disproportionately depicted as dysfunctional in media according to a new report by Color of Change and Family Story. The analysis released on Wednesday showed that African-Americans are overrepresented as poverty stricken, criminal, and lacking two parent households which runs counter to actual statistics.

The report looked at The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, as well as major television networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. A total of 800 media companies were examined from January 2015 to December 2016. It was found that Black families represent 59% of the poor in media but account for just 27% of impoverished Americans according to the latest government data. In dealing with criminality, Blacks are shown 37% of the time in media when they only account for 26% of individuals arrested on criminal charges. On the other hand, Whites are depicted as criminals 28% of the time in media when in reality they account for 77% of crime suspects.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign communications professor Travis Dixon who conducted the study, argues that these depictions, albeit false, have real world consequences. “This leaves people with the opinion that black people are plagued with self-imposed dysfunction that creates family instability and therefore, all their problems.”

On a policy level, they leave an impression that Black people are hopelessly pathological and thus undeserving of much needed government services.

Perhaps the worst component of the analysis is that Black people themselves often rely on these media sources for their news. They can in fact internalize these false narratives and can reproduce negative self-images and intra-racial conflict.

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