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Is It Terrorism?: Public Perceptions, Media, and Labeling the Las Vegas Shooting


Studies in Conflict & TerrorismJournal abstract

When a mass casualty event occurs, why do some people label it terrorism while others do not? People are more likely to consider an attack to be terrorism when the perpetrator is Muslim, yet it is unclear what other factors influence perceptions of mass violence. Using data collected from a national sample of U.S. adults shortly after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, we examine how media consumption and social identity influence views of the attack. Media consumption and individual-level factors—Islamophobia, political ideology, and other participant demographics—influence how people view the attack and how confident people are in their assessments.

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