Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2021

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Ann Gordon


The 2016 election and President Donald Trump’s administration, tapped into U.S. citizens’ polarization regarding the topic of immigration. There was and is a clear negative depiction of immigrants in many different local and national outlets including social media. Using the data collected from Chapman's survey of American fears in 2021, I analyze how fear of immigrants is related to media consumption. Social media and news outlets' coverage of immigrants directly influences the public’s attitudes. Agenda setting, priming, and framing help us understand that news and media construct a perception for people that might not be accurate. Citizens have formed their opinions from the rhetoric and depictions seen through media coverage. My findings are that watching local news is the most influential variable from the different media outlets on fear of immigrants. The second most influential is reading online news websites like Google or Yahoo news and the third is national nightly network news. Media consumption is not the only variable that has a relationship with people’s fear of immigrants, political affiliation, fear of whites not being the majority, and age are found to relate. I found that media consumption has an impact, but other variables such as political affiliation and fear of whites not being the majority have an even stronger relationship. The media’s focus on graphic and violent depictions for views has formed an altered reality for media consumers around the U.S. It is essential to bring awareness to the media's constructed perception that immigrants must be feared in the U.S. to start breaking down barriers for marginalized people/communities.


Presented at the virtual Fall 2021 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.