Viewers of Covid-19 news on Fox TV more likely to be biased against Asians: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 21, 2020

A third of the people surveyed had seen someone blaming Asians for the pandemic

A recent study by Ohio State University explored the reason for the growing prejudices against persons of Asian descent during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They found that racial biases, coupled with partisan media viewing, have led to the further stigmatisation of the community in the United States.

The study was published in the journal Ethnicity and Health.

The study said that it was prejudice against Asian Americans that was most strongly linked to beliefs that Asians were responsible for the pandemic and are the cause for its spread.

Lead author Hyunyi Cho, a professor of communication at Ohio State University, said in a statement: “It was striking that this general prejudice against Asian Americans appeared to play a powerful role in the stigmatisation of this group in the specific context of Covid-19.”

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The researchers conducted a poll in April and found that one-third of the people surveyed had seen someone blaming Asians for the pandemic. The researchers also conducted a nationwide survey of 842 American adults between May 11 and May 19.

“We wanted to see what could explain people of Asian descent being stigmatised for this virus,” Cho said.

The researchers asked participants a variety of questions about Covid-19. This included Covid-19’s impact, media use, and their views of Asian Americans, among other issues.

Overall, stereotypical racial beliefs about Asians and envy about the success of some Asian Americans in society were most linked to stigmatisation.

Study co-author Wenbo Li, a doctoral candidate in communication at Ohio State, stated: “It turned out that the stereotypes and beliefs that people already had about Asian Americans were more powerful in predicting stigmatisation than other factors we studied. That is what was most surprising to me.”

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Their findings also revealed that people who consumed Covid-19 news on Fox News and social media outlets were more likely to blame Asian Americans and see them as a disease risk than those who got their news from CNN or MSNBC and didn’t consume as much social media.

In addition, people who believed the Trump administration was doing a good job responding to the pandemic crisis were more likely to report prejudicial views about Asian Americans.

“We saw evidence in our results that stigmatisation of Asian Americans because of Covid-19 can have political and ideological aspects,” Cho said.

“Finding ways to foster collective efficacy can be an antidote to divisive communication on partisan cable television and social media,” Li said.

Published on October 21, 2020

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