The rising tide of crime threatens to engulf us all – or so we are led to believe.
The media today is a useful informative tool for the citizens of the world having a direct influence on their perceptions of how they view the world. The way it selects, organizes and presents information, shapes the audiences assumptions of domestic and international affairs. The media is important in shaping public agendas by influencing what people think about, and how events and issues are packaged and presented.
In this presentation I will be exploring whether media stereotypes and depictions of crime are truly reflective of official crime statistics.
The politics of fear is buffered by the media, stressing fear and threat as features of entertainment that, increasingly, are shaping the everyday lives of individuals. The constant use of fear through increases in reference to criminal incidents pervades crises in normal times: it becomes part of the taken-for-granted word of “how things are,” and one consequence is that it begins to influence how we perceive and talk about everyday life, including ordinary as well as significant events. This produces the effect on individuals to begin to believe that danger and risk are a central feature of everyday life. The use of fear in headlines increased dramatically over the last decade and a half, peaking around 1994 only to be surpassed in 2001 due to the September 11 attacks. A qualitative content 1992 – 2002 of several major newspapers shows that crime reports about doubled in their news reports.
Analyse the following quote: “ it is because the media are central to our everyday lives that we must study them... as social and cultural as well as political and economic dimensions of the modern world. ” (Roger Silverstone, Why Study the Media? 1999. ) criteria understand respond to question construct logical argument key terms/concepts used accurately provide relevant examples where required ...
The use of fear in headlines increased from 30-150% for most newspapers analyzed over a 7-10 year period, with the peak year in 1994. Many of these increases were associated with more emphasis on crime reporting. Audiences interpret the repetitive reports as dramatic enactments of “fear and dread in our lives” and they begin to believe that the cases of crime are on the rise. The major objective of the use of fear in highlighting criminal cases and incidents is to promote a sense of disorder and a belief that `things are out of control which in turn benefits the media agencies. Serious crimes create sensational headlines which in turn creates uninformed or poorly informed individuals. Serious crimes such as assaults and kidnappings continue to be blasted across headlines even when false or greatly distorted. This creates informal decisions by the citizens that crime is officially on the rise.
But the intense competition that’s part of the effort along with the insensitivity of some journalist may lead to a distortion of actual events and the result of media generated crime waves which creates an inaccurate perception of the level of crimes being committed. These generated crime waves were continually undertaken in the 1980s which included the so called assaults on elderly by youths. These generated crime waves saw responders misjudging the levels of crime being committed. Till today this is the case were media continues to distort reality by creating its own crime waves so to instill fear in the citizens that crime is on the rise.
Close your eyes and think of three criminals in as many seconds. The first images that come into your mind will do. Done it? There is a strong likelihood that most of us thought of the same kind of people. Your selection might look something like this: there is a thug; a ‘hustler’ (a roving thief, light-fingered and expert at robbery with violence); and there is a terrorist who’s fanaticism is revealed by his wild gestures with an unwieldy – Russian made – rifle).
These typical criminals occur in our imaginations for a reason. Our imaginations – at least as far as crime is concerned – have been hijacked. The media – and here I’m including thrillers and detective stories, James Bond movies and TV cop shows as much as the news – has developed the ‘crime problem’ to the point where fiction dominates fact. We see criminals only in terms of stereotypes. Our vision of criminals prowling the streets and looking for trouble is as media-derived – and so as predictably scripted – as a comedy-show or a detergent advertisement. The media provides an uneven coverage of crime which tends to imply crimes against the person are the most common form of crime. We are all encouraged to live in constant fear of attack, robbery and most of all mugging. The media are the major source of information on legal issues especially in relation to crime and therefore common sense views of crime are affected by the images the various media portray. Media treatment of law and order issues suggests that the streets are full of criminal behaviour with chaos lurking at every corner. The media depicts that the streets are a nightmare where there are continuous clashes between people and police and violence on an extreme scale.
Punishment of Crimes in the US Criminal Justice System One of the greatest challenges facing the criminal justice system is the need to balance the rights of accused criminals against society’s interest in imposing punishments on those convicted of crimes. The U. S. criminal justice system deals with punishment of those in violation of the law in several ways; retribution, incapacitation, ...
The media emphasis on violent crimes such as murder assault and sexual assault and theft presents unrealistic views of crime instilling fear in the population that these horrendous crimes are on the increase. On the other hand official crime statistics state otherwise that over the recent years crime has dropped tremendously. The depiction of the tremendous amount of crime reports in the news greatly distorts the level of crime actually being committed as the viewers gain a misinterpretation that in fact crime is on the rise. The media blows things out of proportion and offers inaccurate, biased information which then leads to citizens absorbing information which is subtle and misleading not reflecting official criminal statistics.
Enter terrorism. The attacks on the world trade centres in the US on 9/11 and the Bali bombing were cast as “terrorism” and the term has now become widely used instilling great fear on the general population. The fear of terrorism has been exaggerated by the media to a great extent and numerous myths, identities and characteristics have emerged as a result. Terrorism to some extent has been blown out of proportion instilling fear in the general population of the possibilities of a terrorist attack occurring at any second. This fear of terrorism contributes to the distortion created by the media that crime is on the rise as the world is seen as a violent and unsafe place. Distorted and inaccurate crimes that are portrayed by the media become much more believable due to the atmosphere that the media has created about terrorism. In a world of fear almost all acts of crimes whether distorted or not become a reality.
Media Fear Tactics This paper will take a look at two articles on BBC World News and how they directly relate to Gavin De Beckers Media Fear Tactics. It will take a look at the way news articles are presented so that the viewer and reader begin to have fear instilled in them as soon as they begin the article. It will also take a look at why the news coverage would attempt to do this to their ...