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News Media’s Relationship With Stereotyping: The Linguistic Intergroup Bias in Response to Crime News


Bradley W. Gorham; e-mail:


This paper examines the linguistic intergroup bias (LIB) in the context of people’s interpretations of a race-related television news story. The LIB suggests that people use more abstract language to describe stereotype-congruent behaviors, particularly when that person is a member of an out-group. This study of 208 White adults manipulates the race of a suspect in a TV news crime story and examines how race influences the abstractness of the language viewers use to describe the suspect. The findings offer support for the LIB being induced by crime news and show that news media use is significantly related to the presence of the LIB. This suggests that stereotypical news coverage may subtly influence the interpretations people make about members of other social groups.