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What is the media portrayal of police officers: positive or negative? 

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Phillip Holland eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In many circumstances, national news media portrays police officers in a negative light. Cases of corrupt police officers and police shootings often make the news. Police brutality against minorities is also a popular theme on national news media outlets. While there are biased and corrupt police officers out there, one purpose of the news cycle is to show stories that hold people's attention, and when people are outraged, they are more likely to watch. This helps to drive ratings. Often, the only time police officers are shown doing something good is during the human interest portion of the nightly national news—usually the last five minutes of the show.

Local news, while it sometimes shows stories with corrupt police officers, is more likely to show police officers doing good things, like helping children or doing charity work. Local news media is more likely to portray police officers as hometown heroes. One reason is that people in the viewing area know the police officers on a...

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rachellopez | Student

Depending on the news story, they can be portrayed as both positive or negative. In my experience, I always hear about police in a negative way. I always see stories about cops hurting innocent people or making false judgement, but it is rare I hear a story about a cop doing something good, even though a lot of them do. The media portrays them in a way that will get the most attention. Not every cop is the same and they are trying to do their jobs, but the news only wants a story that people will watch/read. So, for the media, cops are seen as negative, whether that is true or not.