Feeding the Fear of Crime: Crime-Related Media and Support for Three Strikes

Synopsis

Callanan tests the link between individuals' media habits and punitive attitudes toward criminals, finding that the more crime-related television people watch, the more fearful they become, and the more supportive of three strikes sentencing. Although there are some differences between forms of crime-related media consumption across race/ethnicity, the link with punitiveness still holds. The test provides evidence for Gerbner's cultivation hypothesis of a 'mean world' view. Heavy consumers of crime-related media are more fearful of crime, more likely to believe crime is increasing, more likely to rate crimes seriously, more likely to believe the world is 'just,' less likely to support rehabilitation, and much more likely to support three strikes sentencing.