Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Crime and the Media Essay -- essays research papers

Crime and the Media The public depends on the news media for its understanding of crime. Reportedly three quarters (76%) of the public say, they form their opinions about crime from what they see or read in the news (Dorfman & Schiraldi, 2001). After reviewing five hours of reality crime television shows, one is left with a very dismal look on society and a prejudice towards minorities as they are largely depicted as the perpetrators of crime. This new genre commonly referred to as reality television appears to be sweeping the nation by storm. Opinions vary, depending on whom you ask, to what extent reality plays a role versus the selling of a product. Sensationalism, advertising, ratings hype, profiling and fear all comprise the mass medias’ marketing strategy to America. Sadly, what we see portrayed by television shows such as â€Å"COPS† have contributed largely and in some cases unjustly to the prejudices that are present today. The predominant races of the suspects portrayed in the episodes of COPS were African Americans (Langley, 2005). The predominant genders of the suspects were male. However, the May 5, 2005, episode of COPS featured an exclusive on COPS: Bad Girls (Langley, 2005). Combining the special episode with the four and a half hours of regular viewing of COPS the numbers still reflect the predominance of suspects featured are African American males (Langley, 2005). In two cases out of the nineteen viewed, the suspects were Caucasian, and the reason for the stop was expired tags. This stop was handled much differently than the previous stop. The officers were not aggressive when they approached the car, and the incident proceeded in a civilized manner. Ironically, in the scene prior to the present, the officers had observed an African American suspect in a drug area with expired tags, and the encounter was very different. A car chase ensued, an ultimate arrest with the suspect forced to the grou nd in an aggressive manner, searched, and hand cuffed. The officers suggest to the audience their suspicions that drugs may be involved. Ultimately, their suspicions prove correct when the cameras capture the crack cocaine hidden in the pants of the suspect. Of the crimes, featured 90% were drug related and 10% were associated with domestic crimes. On the COPS episode aired on May 6, 2005, the suspect, African American observed in an undercover sti... ...stice system. Dr. West points out â€Å"The urgent problem of black poverty is primarily due to the distribution of wealth, power, and income-a distribution influenced by the racial caste system that denied opportunities to most "qualified" black people until two decades ago.† (West, 1994. p. 93-5). Clearly, economics contributed to the criminal propensities of the suspect viewed. The African American suspects compared to their counterparts, appeared scary, drug crazed and out of control. While it is unfortunate, people still believe, if it is on television it must be true. Reality crime television provides a false sense of legitimacy. Those that watch the show, often forget that in the final analysis, it is television, and the main point of television programming is to entertain, sell advertisement and achieve the best ratings possible. References Dorfman, L, & Schiraldi, V. (2001). Off balance: youth, race & crime in the news. Building Blocks for Youth Law Center. Retrieved May 5, 2005, from Langley, J. (Producer). (2005). COPS. (Television series). New York: Fox. West, C. (1994). Race matters. New York: Vintage Publishers.

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