Crime and the media

  • Created by: Kami G
  • Created on: 16-06-17 13:35

Media representations of crime

The media gives a distorted image of crime, criminals and policing:

  • Over-represents violent and sexual crimes
  • Portrays criminals and victims as older and more middle-class
  • Exaggerates police success

New values and crime coverage

Distorted image the news portray of crime reflects the fact that news is a social construct. Cohen and Young argue that the news is manufactured. Some stories are selected and some are rejected.

New values - the criteria and journalists use to decide whether a story is newsworthy. Values that influence selection of crime stories include; dramatisation, risk, violence, higher status people (celebs). 

Fictional representation of crime

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The media as a cause of crime

There has been a long-term concern about media having a negative effect on attitudes and values, especially those who are easily influenced. 

The media can cause crime by imitating, arousal, transmitting knowledge and glamorizing

Fear of crime

The media exaggerates violent crimes and the risk of certain groups being victims e.g. young women and old people. This may cause unrealistic fear of crime. 

The media, relative deprivation and crime

Left realists, Lea and Young argue that media increases relative deprivation among marginalized groups. Today, even the poor have access to media and stimulates a sense of relative deprivation and social exclusion whom cannot afford material goods.

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Moral panics

The media can cause crime and deviance by causing moral panics.

The mods and rockers - Cohen's Folk Devils and Moral Panics examines how media's response causes disturbance between teenagers and the mods and rockers due to a creation of a moral panic.

The media has exaggerated and distorted the seriousness of the event, they predicted further conflict and violence and symbolized the mods and rockers. 

Media portrayal of events can produce a deviance amplification spiral in two ways:

1. Making it appear the problem was out of hand

2. Defining two groups and emphasizing differences. 

Perspectives on moral panics

Functionalism - moral panics are a way of responding to anomie (normlessness). By dramatizing the threat to society the media raises collective consciousness. 

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