Crime and the Media

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  • Crime and The Media
    • Media representation of crime
      • Williams and Dickinson's study into British Newspapers
        • Williams and Dickinson found that 30% of the reports were focused on crime
    • Distorted image of crime, criminals and policing
      • The over-exaggerated reporting of violent and sexual crimes
        • Ditton and Duffy found that 46% of media reports were focused on violent and sexual crimes
          • Only 3% of violent and sexual crimes recorded to the police in 1983
      • The media portrays criminals and victims as older, middle class and intelligent individuals
        • Felson believes this is called the 'age fallacy'
      • The media exaggerates police success in solving cases of crime
        • The media over-presents cases of violent crime which has a higher clean up rate than property crime
        • The police are a major source of information for the media, so they positively portray them to create a beneficial relationship.
      • The media exaggerates the risk of victimisation towards women, white people and people of a higher status.
    • Stan Cohen and Jock Young believe that news is not discovered, it is manufactured.
      • News values
        • Involvement of a celebrity, money, violence and excitement.
        • News values help journalists create stores which distort reality and are more 'newsworthy'
    • Fictional representations of crime
      • This comes from TV, films, novels etc..
        • Mandel - from 1945-84 10 billion crime thrillers were sold worldwide
          • Mandel suggests there is a greater risk that individuals will imitate behaviour seen in fictional crime.
            • The James Bulgar case, the offenders imitated behaviour seen in the thriller 'Child's Play' in the murder of James Bulgar
        • Surette - Law of opposites
          • Reality
            • Property crime is under-represented
              • Sex crimes are usually carried out by people the victim knows.
                • There are many unsolved cases of extreme crime
          • Fiction's distortion
            • Sex and drug crimes are over-represented
              • Sex crimes are committed by strangers
                • The police are usually/always successful with solving cases
          • Difference between official crime statistics and the media
      • Trends of info-obtainment crime shows
        • Criminals are white, under-class, young males
        • Portray police as corrupt and less successful
    • Fear of crime
      • Fear of crime may be greater amongst those that read tabloid newspapers and those who watch a lot of TV
        • However, tabloid newspapers could simply reflect the reality of crime for low in-come readers living in inner-city areas with statistically higher levels of crime.
        • Simmon's and Dodd's - Newspaper readership study
          • Tabloid/broadsheet  determines their perception of crime
            • 43% of tabloid readers thought crime rates had risen in the British Crime survey.
              • Tabloid readers will be lower class due to the news values, quality of language and glamourisation of crime
            • 26% of broadsheet readers thought crime rates had risen.
              • Broadsheet readers will be less exposed to the news values used in extreme cases of crime and will therefore have a more valid perception of crime.
    • Cause of crime
      • Moral panics
        • Moral panics are whereby society panics by the exaggerated reporting of crime by the media
        • Stan Cohen's study into Mod's and Rocker's.
          • The two youth subcultures polarised by their clothes, mode of transport and music disturbed the peace on seaside towns in 1960's
            • Exaggeration and distortion - the media exaggerated the level of violence used by the subcultures, forcing them to become folk devils and create a moral panic
              • Prediction - The media predicted further levels of conflict which forced the police to take tougher action.
                • Symbolisation - the subcultures characteristics and symbols were negatively labelled and they were connected to other forms of violence around the UK
                  • This lead to the deviancy amplification spiral as the two subcultures were further polarised and the self-furfilling prophercy lead to the subcultures conforming to their deviant roles assigned by the media.
          • Mcrobbie and Thornton argue that people are now desensitised by the media and extreme cases are now less likely to create moral panics
        • Jock Young - Hippie culture in Nottingham
      • Relative Deprivation
        • Lea and Young believe that all social classes are exposed to a materialistic lifestyle and lower social classes simply cannot afford these goods causing relative deprivation.
          • Merton believes lower social classes feel pressured to conform to this lifestyle and innovations strain to illegitimate means to furfil this deprivation
      • New types of media such as the internet can create patterns of cyber-crimes
        • Cyber-trespass - hacking
        • Cyber deception/theft - identity theft
        • Cyber-pornography
        • Cyber-violence - psychological harm or physical harm inflicted over the internet

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