Teargas and Selfie Cams: Foreign Protests and Media in the Digital Age.
With Ze Fu & Naima Green.
New media, with its speed and accessibility has brought with it a promise of liberation through technology. An act of violence, captured by a bystander on a cell phone camera, can be uploaded and shared with millions across the world in a matter of seconds. At the same time, in the sea of information, unverified footage produced by an anonymous individual may be seen as unreliable. In this paper, we use a survey experiment to explore whether 1) repression of pro-democracy protesters abroad by authorities increases public support for U.S. intervention on their behalf and 2) if the source of the information about repression influences the levels of support. We find that perceiving foreign protests as violently repressed increases American support for targeted sanctions against the hostile regime, but it does not impact the degree to which Americans wish to learn more about the protests. We also do not find statistically significant differences between mobile phone footage as compared to TV news footage.