Woke : internet news and social media on recent attitudes towards police use of force
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] News media has long featured high-profile incidents of police use of force; however, exposure to these incidents may be increasing because of the accessibility of smartphones, social media, and Internet news. Police are concerned about the impact this potential increase in negative publicity may be having on the relationship between police legitimacy and crime prevention. However, scant research has examined the role Internet news and social media consumption have on attitudes toward police use of force. This dissertation study employed mixed methods to explore the role social media and Internet news have on such attitudes at the macro, meso, and micro levels in the United States across racial and ethnic groups. At the macro level, nationally representative data were used to examine the relationships between Internet news consumption, neoliberal and racial resentment ideologies, and demographics on attitudes of approval toward police use of force. The results indicated that Black/African American Internet news consumers are more supportive of police use of force than non-Internet news consumers. Furthermore, education increased the odds of approving of police use of force among the Hispanic/Latinx subsample, whereas Internet news consumption did not. Significant predictors for Whites included income, conservativism, individualism, and gender. However, these results changed when the analysis accounted for variation at the meso level. Lastly, personal experiences with police and retrospective experiences online when consuming use-of-force incidents provided a greater understanding of the findings. The variation observed between the racial and ethnic subsamples built upon theories of social location and media.
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