News media consumption and support for counter-terrorism measures: the role of hatred and fear

Maitane Arnoso-Martínez*, Magdalena Bobowik, Nerea González-Ortega, Borja Martinović

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Media are a key social agent shaping society’s responses to measures implemented in the fight against terrorism. We argue that emotions elicited by media narratives on terrorist attacks are decisive to understand the link between the news media consumption and citizens’ support for military intervention in the Middle East, as well as for security measures in the home country. In two studies conducted after the Brussels attacks (N = 250) and the Barcelona attacks (N = 633), we tested the explanatory role of emotions–specifically fear and hatred–in the association between media narratives and these two outcomes. The results of both studies show that hatred explained the positive relationship between news media consumption and support for military intervention, and to a lesser degree, agreement with security measures. In contrast, the positive relationship between news media consumption and agreement with security measures was explained by fear. This research underscores the need to consider how emotions are utilized in media discourse. We discuss practical implications of our findings for promoting ethical journalism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

Keywords

  • Fear
  • hatred
  • news media consumption
  • support for military intervention
  • support for security measures
  • terrorism

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