How Online Media Shapes Polarization Towards Policing

Awarded Scholars:
Shelley Liu, University of California, Berkeley
Tony Cheng, University of California, Irvine
Project Date:
Mar 2022
Award Amount:

While scholarship often links attitudes towards police to demographic variables such as race, class, and age, sentiments towards police change over time. For example, surveys have shown that changes in sentiment towards police closely track the political cycle. Online media can drive moments of polarization during electoral cycles by amplifying and politicizing issues at a time when media consumption is high. Political scientist Shelley Liu and sociologist Tony Cheng will examine what aspects of online media shape polarization towards police. They will draw on three data sources: (1) community sentiment data from New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, (2) engagement data with media articles across online platforms, and (3) an original survey experiment. Their study will build on emerging research on the social politics of policing and media.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


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