Immigration rhetoric has shifted public opinion, Ogan study finds
Recent rhetoric surrounding the alleged dangers migrants pose pushed immigration to the front of the political agenda in Europe and the United States and resulted in significant shifts in public opinion, according to a study by professor emerita Christine Ogan.
“Mediatized Realities of Migrants in a Comparative Perspective: Media Use, Deservingness, and Threat Perceptions in the United States and Western Europe,” by David De Coninck of KU Leuven (Belgium), Ogan, Lars Willnat, MA’91, PhD’92, of Syracuse University and Leen D’haenens of KU Leuven, appears in the International Journal of Communication. It examines how perceptions of migrant deservingness might be affected by television news exposure and perceived threat.
The study found that in Europe, exposure to public news is associated with lower threat perceptions and greater deservingness, while exposure to commercial news is associated with higher threat perceptions and lower deservingness. In the United States, exposure to CNN is associated with lower threat perceptions and greater deservingness, while exposure to Fox News is associated with greater threat perceptions and lower deservingness.
The study also found that realistic threat plays a greater role than symbolic threat in lowering public perceptions of deservingness in the United States, while the reverse is true in Europe.