Murray State Theses and Dissertations


A substantial body of literature connects media effects to consumer perceptions of the criminal justice system. Research on the topic of cultivation theory has highlighted that an increased fear of crime within the general populace, due to an exaggeration of violence and criminal activity in the mass media, has spurred increased support for punitive policing, harsher sentencing, and positive feelings toward capital punishment. However, no research exists to explicate the cultivation of consumer perceptions toward the criminal courts. This study examines the impact of media consumption through television, the internet, and social media on consumer evaluations of the criminal courts. Utilizing a national non-full probability sample of 500 White, Black, and Hispanic/Latino respondents, the study examines media effects across race/ethnicity, as well as across political party affiliation. Findings suggest that race/ethnicity and party affiliation mediate the relationship between media consumption and evaluations toward the criminal court system.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

Cultivation Theory, Criminal Justice, Media, Race, Party Affiliation, Quantitative Methodology

Thesis Advisor

Stephen Cox

Committee Member

Frances Smith

Committee Member

Geoffrey Luurs

Document Type


MSUElliottThesis2021.docx (139 kB)
Minor Revisions Needed