Media Representations Of Crime
· Ericson et al – 45-71% of quality press and radio news was about various forms of deviance and its control.
· Williams & Dickinson – British newspapers devote 30% of their news space to crime.
· The media distort the image of crime, criminals and policing – compared to official statistics the media:
Ø Over-represent violent and sexual crime
v Ditton & Duffy – 46% of media reports were about violent or sexual crimes – even though these only made up 3% of all crimes recorded by the police.
v Marsh – violent crime was 36x more likely to be reported than a property crime in the USA.
Ø Portray criminals and victims as older and more middle class
v Felson – calls this the ‘age fallacy’.
Ø Exaggerates police success
v Due to the police being a major source of crime stories – want to present themselves in a good light.
v Also because the media over-represents violent crime which has a higher clear up rate.
Ø Exaggerate the risk of victimisation
v Especially to women, white people and higher status individuals.
Ø Crime is reported as a series of separate events
v Without structure and without examining underlying causes.
Ø Overplay extraordinary crimes
v Felson – calls this ‘dramatic fallacy’.
v Also, the media makes us believe that we need to be…