7. Crime and the media

HideShow resource information
View mindmap
  • Crime and the media
    • Media representations of crime
      • The news media give a distorted image of crime, criminals and policing
      • The media over-represent violence and sexual crime
        • DITTON & DUFFY
          • 46% of media reports were about violent or sexual crime yet these made up only 3% of all crimes reported by the police
      • The media portray criminals and victims as older and more m/c than those typically found in the CJS
        • FELSON
          • He calls this the 'age fallacy'
      • Media coverage exaggerates police success
      • The media exaggerate the risk of victimisation especially to women, white people and higher status individuals
      • Crime is reported as a series of separate victims without structure and without examining underlying causes
      • The media overplay extraordinary crimes and underplay ordinary crimes
        • FELSON
          • He calls this the 'dramatic fallacy'
          • Similarly the media leads us to believe that to commit crime one must be clever and daring- the 'ingenuity fallacy'
      • There have been changes to this type of coverage
        • SCHLESINGER & TUMBER
          • In the 60s the focus was on murders and petty crime but shifted by the 90s
      • There is also increasing preoccupation with sexual crimes
        • SOOTHILL & WALBY
          • Newspaper reporting of rape cases increased from under a quarter of all cases in 1951 to over a third in 1985
      • News values and crime coverage
        • The distorted picture of crime shows how news is a social construction
        • COHEN & YOUNG
          • News is not discovered,    it is manufactured
        • News values are the criteria by which journalists decide whether a story is newsworthy
        • Key news values:
          • Immediacy
          • Dramatisation
          • Personalisation
          • Higher-status
          • Simplification
          • Novelty or unexpectedness
          • Risk
          • Violence
      • Fictional representations of crime
        • We don't just get our images of crime from the news
        • TV, cinema and novels also provide us with knowledge of crime
        • SURETTE
          • Fictional representations of crime follow 'the law of opposites'; they are opposite to the OFs
        • Property crime is under-represented, while violence, sex and drugs crimes are over-represented
        • Fictional sex crimes are committed by psychopathic strangers rather than the true criminal who tends to be an acquaintance
        • Fictional cops usually get their man
        • However, recent trends  portray cops as corrupt, criminals  as young non-white underclass and victims as more central
    • The media as a cause of crime
      • There is concern that the media may have negative affects on attitudes, values and behaviour
      • There numerous ways in which the media might possible cause crime and deviance:
        • Imitation; by providing deviant role models resulting in copycat behaviour
        • Arousal: through viewing violent or sexual imagery
        • Desensitisation: through repeated viewing of violence
        • By transmitting knowledge of criminal techniques
        • As a target fro crime e.g. theft plasma tvs
        • By stimulating desires for unaffordable goods
        • By portraying the police as incompetent
        • By glamouring offending
      • Overall, however, most studies tend to find that exposure to media violence has a small and limited effect on its audience
      • Fear of crime
        • There is concern that the media create a distorted impression of crime causing unrealistic fear of crime
        • GERBNER ET AL
          • Heavy users of TV had higher levels of fear of crime
        • However, correlations between media consumption and fear of crime does not prove that the media causes fear
          • It may be that those who are already afraid of going out at night watch more TV just because they stay in more
        • SPARKS
          • Much 'media effects' research ignores the meanings that viewers give to media violence
      • The media, relative deprivation and crime
        • Lab-based research has focused on whether media portrayals of crime and deviant lifestyles lead viewers to commit crime themselves
        • An alternative approach is to consider how far media portrayals of normal rather than criminal lifestyles might also encourage people to commit crime
        • LEFT REALISTS
          • The mass media help to increase the sense of relative deprivation among poor and marginalised social groups
        • MERTON
          • Individuals may turn to crime as a result of their lack of access to the criminal opportunity structure
    • Moral panics
      • Another way the media may cause crime is through labelling
      • The use of media pressure about certain social groups may lead to a negative label of the group and possible changes in the law
      • An important element in this process is the creation of moral panics
      • In a moral panic:
        • 1. The media identify a group as a folk devil or threat to societal values
        • 2. The media present the group in a negative stereotypical fashion and exaggerate the scale of the problem
        • 3. Moral entrepreneurspoliticians, police chiefs, bishops and other 'respectable' people condemn the group and its behaviour
        • 4. A crackdown is called for, however this may result in a self fulfilling prophecy that amplifies the problem
      • Mods and Rockers
        • Study by STANLEY COHEN: book called 'folk devils and moral panics'
        • Mods wore smart dress and rode scooters; rockers wore leather jackets and rode motorbikes
        • The initial confrontation with the two groups was minor yet the media over-reacted
        • COHEN says the media produce an inventory of what happened which contained 3 elements:
          • Exaggeration and distortion
          • Prediction
          • Symbolisation
        • The media's portrayal of the events produced a deviance amplification spiral
        • This spiral lead to increased social control and produced further marginalisation and stigmatisation of the mods and rockers as deviants and theerfore less tolerance
        • The media further amplified the deviance by defining the groups and their subculture styles which led to more youths adopting the style
        • Media definitions of the situation are crucial in creating a moral panic because most people have no direct contact with the event
        • COHEN argues that moral panics often occur at times of social change
        • The mods and rockers moral panic was a result of a boundary crisis where there was uncertainty about what was acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
        • FUNCTIONALISTS
          • In this view, moral panics can be seen as ways of responding to a sense of anomie created by change
          • By dramatising the threat to society in the form of a folk devil the media raises the collective consciousness and reasserts social controls when central values are threatened
        • STUART ET AL (neo-marxism)
          • The moral panic over mugging in the British media in the 70s served to distract attention from the crisis of capitalism, divide the w/c on racial grounds and legitimate a more authoritarian style of rule
        • EVAL
          • It assumes that societal reaction is a disproportionate over-reaction; but what is proportionate?
          • What turns the amplifier on and off; why are the media able to amplify some problems and not others?
          • Do today's audiences who are accustomed to shock horror stories really react with panic to media exaggerations?
      • Global cyber-crime
        • The arrival of new types of media is often met with a moral panic
        • The arrival of the internet has led to fears of cyber crime
        • WALL's 4 categories of cyber-crime:
          • Cyber-trespass (crossing boundaries into other peoples cyber property)
          • Cyber-deception and theft (identity theft, 'phishing'...)
          • Cyber-pornography (that involving minors and access to children through the Net)
          • Cyber-violence (psychological harm or inciting physical harm)
        • Policing cyber-crime is hard because of the sheer scale of the internet and its globalised nature
        • However, ICT provides the police and the state with greater opportunities for surveillance and control of the population

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Crime and deviance resources »