Impact of Media Reports on Mass Shootings

Impact of Media Reports on Mass Shootings. Can media coverage of shooters encourage future mass shootings? We explore the link between the day-to-day prime time television news coverage of shootings on ABC World News Tonight and subsequent mass shootings in the US from January 1, 2013 to June 23, 2016. To circumvent latent endogeneity concerns, we employ an instrumental variable strategy: worldwide disaster deaths provide an exogenous variation that systematically crowds out shooting-related coverage. Our findings consistently suggest a positive and statistically significant effect of coverage on the number of subsequent shootings, lasting for 4-10 days.

Mass Shooting and Acts of Violence

As the number of mass shooting and acts of violence increase nationwide, researchers have set out to determine the specific underlying cause. This study explored a pattern between two variables: the spread of mass shooting news on social media platforms, and the increase in these crimes. This study analyzed and compared media activity from mass shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Parkland. These school shootings occurred in three separate media eras, and data from a mass shooting archive was used to examine the frequency of incidents over time.

Impact of Media Reports: Research Question

What is the impact of media reports on mass shootings and the attitude it creates regarding mentally ill persons and public view towards control of guns?

Objectives

The main objectives of the study were:

  • To assess the impact of media reports on perceptions gun control
  • To determine the public perceptions towards people with mental illness regarding gun control

Therefore, the main objective of this paper will be to test the impact of media reports on mass shootings and the attitude it creates to the public regarding mentally ill persons and public view towards control of guns. Also, it will help to determine if the news coverage on restricting mentally ill individuals from getting guns has increased the negative attitude among citizens towards this group.

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