“We think of people who watch the news as informed and open-minded,’’ said Dixon, who teaches at the U. of I. Urbana-Champaign campus. “But we hypothesize that just watching the news might lead to stereotype endorsement.”
Dixon says local TV news presents “a distorted mirror” and “network news is more subtle, but it’s still there.’’ Studies on newspaper coverage have found they, too, give a distorted version of the “real world.’’
One result is that black males are more likely to be seen as potentially violent, he said.
Gender, age, education, income and a community’s makeup and crime rate also influence racial attitudes, Dixon said. But he concludes that more than a quarter of stereotypical beliefs in the Los Angeles subjects can be connected to how much news they watched.