If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.

 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What America Thinks: Does Media Fuel Mass Murders?

Is the media feeding the fire that leads to mass shootings, terrorism and police violence? Many feel the media glorifies the villains of these stories by focusing on their personal lives and backgrounds, inspiring others to commit similar acts for the recognition and infamy. We decided to find out what America thinks.

Overall, 44% of American Adults think the media covers mass murders too much. Even more (62%) think they cover the personal lives of violent criminals like mass shooters too much. 44% think such coverage of their lives inspires others to commit similar crimes, thus perpetuating the cycle of violent crime.

Following a 2013 Rolling Stone profile and magazine cover of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 33% said the media should withhold the names and pictures of violent criminals and terrorists. But a plurality of 46% disagreed.

Americans think the media even inspires the attacks sometimes. For instance, take the recent murder of five police officers in Dallas. 62% think the media coverage of shootings by police officers inspire people to attack the police. Just as many voters think the media overhypes incidents in which black Americans are shot by the police and therefore makes it more dangerous for cops to do their job.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.