Evaluate the relationship between media and crime, considering to what extent the medias portrayal of crime affects the audience?
- At least 3 factors that ‘mediate’ the relationship between media and crime E.g. socio-economic factors.
- An evaluation of the models of media (Gender Bias, Racial Bias, Sexual Orientation Bias).
That is a good question. First, I would say that the media does influence the public. Second, I would also say that at time the media just hardens stereotypes without much thought. For examples, most criminals are non-white, and less educated. At other times, the media tries to break the stereotypes, probably because it makes for good TV or Print. For example, think of all the movies with a twist or conspiracy theories. So, there will be no easy answers. Third, I think one thing that is pretty clear is that the media feeds of people's fears. The fear of people can be a great way to make money and control people. So, in this sense, I think they media totally affects the population.
This response coattails my previous response to a similar question. I think the media is making strides to ensure that a preponderance of bias is not present. This might be in part due to watchdog groups who are responsive to media bias and its impact on social orders. For example, the media's depiction of drug use in terms of crack cocaine versus its powdered counterpart helped in large part to form a social bias that the former was a drug used "on the streets" and the latter was more of an "affluent" narcotic. While social perception might be one thing, the disproportionate sentencing for drug offenders on each side might have been a result of this bias enhanced by the media. The "War on Drugs" declared in the 1980's took a large toll on the incarceration of African- American males. The portrayal of this offensive was to show arrests of individuals in urban areas and people of color in the process. While not fully explored at the time, the understanding that emerged was that such measures might not have addressed the real front of "the War," such as how illegal drugs entered the cities, and how government could have done more to ensure that its presence did not cross into our borders. The media at the time did not pay as much attention to these elements, but over time have done so. The media's depiction of drug use and consumption in the 1980s held a great impact on legislation passed and social perceptions formed.
Like I said in your previous question, the major reason for the media's fascination with crime is the fact that it makes for good TV (and print, to some extent). Crime stories are simple -- they have good guys and bad guys, they have drama, they have emotion, someone wins, someone loses. They tend to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. All of this makes it easy for people to understand them and be caught up in them.
Outside of that, the main factor I can see "mediating" this relationship is the fact that people who commit crimes are generally very different from those who report on them. They tend to be poorer, less educated, and are more often non-white. This helps make it so that reporting on crime is stereotyped because the reporters don't have a good understanding of the people involved.
However, the money aspect is the more important of these, in my opinion. The most culturally sensitive reporter is still going to be pushed by the business demands of the industry to portray crime in certain ways that will appeal to the average viewer.
The media's presentation of crime has changed significantly since Television first appeared in people's homes. Initially the types of shows that were aired showed crime as a negative thing that ruined people's lives. However, the past years crime has been portrayed as more of a sexual representation that is attractive to the population. Young viewers reflect the influence this has played in their style of dress and an increase in violent acts by younger people.
Racial bias tends to present the population that a country is in conflict with as he bad guy. For example there has been an increase in shows and reports about the crimes of Arabic people. Racial stereotypes for African Americans have started changing for the positive. However, many Americans still identify the race as being thugs because of media presentation. It should be noted that Disney's recent movie with a Black Princess is an indicator that the media is under pressure to present black people in a more positive light. Yet, most of media is influenced by commercial gain and had the revenue not been available to support ticket sales the movie would most likely not have been made.
Factors that mediate the relationship between media and crime are commercialism, the communities identification of who their current enemy is, and public demand. Media is also a reflection of society.