The Other Side of the Pandemic: Effects of Racialized News Coverage on Attitudes Toward Asians and Immigrants

Martina Santia, Ayla Oden, Seon-Woo Kim, Raymond J. Pingree, Jessica Wyers, Kirill Bryanov


Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. news coverage related to race in 2 distinct ways: coverage of how foreign countries, particularly Asian countries, responded to the pandemic, and coverage of episodes of racism against Asian Americans and Asian-looking individuals. Past research has firmly established that different types of racialized news coverage can lead to very different effects among audiences. This study employs an online survey-experiment to investigate the effects of exposure to these 2 types of racialized news coverage amid the pandemic. Our findings reveal that exposure to an anti-Asian racism news story negatively affected attitudes toward the group depicted in the news. Anti-Asian racism news also increased opposition to immigration. News about an Asian country, however, did not influence attitudes toward Asians and instead decreased opposition to immigration. Trump support played a moderating role for some of these effects. As hate crimes targeting Asians continue in the United States and abroad, the implications of these findings are discussed.


anti-Asian racism, racialized news coverage, racialized rhetoric, media effects, and COVID-19

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