Media Consumption and Support for Capital Punishment

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Law and Justice

Publication Date



Theoretically, the media influences public perceptions of crime and criminality and helps shape perceptions of how the crime problem should be managed. Using a 2010 survey in Washington state, this article tests the theoretical connection between watching television (news, crime dramas, and police-reality programs), reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, interacting with the Internet, and support for capital punishment. Research in the area of perceptions of capital punishment shows that support for capital punishment varies depending on its operationalization; therefore, this study includes both a general measure of support for capital punishment and a measure that provides for the availability of life without parole as an alternative option. Variables including race, sex, age, attitudes toward the police, and perceptual variables such as collective efficacy, economic insecurity, and justice concerns are included as controls in the models. Findings indicate that the relationship between media consumption and capital punishment is dependent on both the media form/channel and the operationalization of capital punishment.


This article was originally published in Criminal Justice Review. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Criminal Justice Review


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