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Focus of news media

Focus of news media

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Focus of news media

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  1. Focus of news media • Not only on “serious,” violent street crime, and random crime, but is also often: • Uncritical (pro status quo) • Acontextual (no important context provided)

  2. Focus on news media • Lots of “facts” • Numerous “official statements” • TV news often visually dramatic/sensational (even when nothing is happening)

  3. People think crime is widespread and increasing Between 1992-1993, major network evening news coverage of homicide tripled From 1993-1996, major network news coverage of homicide increased 721% 88% of Americans in 1994 thought crime was at an all-time high

  4. In fact crime was down!

  5. Concern = new policies • e.g., 1994 crime bill (more police, more prisons)

  6. Plus this kind of thing!

  7. Crime in the news • Crime now makes up about 30% of local news • Crime stories are sometimes the first two to three stories on the local news • Proven formula of local news is: • Crime story, crime story, crime story, local story, weather, sports, feel good story http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ai2Jj09DUn8

  8. News • Between 1977 and 1997, coverage of “hard” news declined from 67% to 41% • News about celebrities tripled from 2% to 7%! … “soft” news doubled from 13% to about 25%. • Has gotten worse since then

  9. Race • Focus on black crime • Focus on white victims • Suggests crime is inter-racial rather than intra-racial

  10. Who said it? • “There is nothing more painful to me ... than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

  11. Documented outcomes • See crime as “black” problem • Police profiling • See crime as “dispositional” rather than “structural” • Support punitive solutions (status quo)

  12. Gender • Far more focus on men than women • Women commit less serious crime

  13. Good woman v Bad woman • Generally women are treated more leniently (chivalry hypothesis) • When women commit acts outside of their expected gender roles, the media react negatively (evil woman hypothesis)

  14. Crime and sex

  15. Juveniles • The coming of the “super predator” • Professor John Dilulio and colleagues wrote: “Based on all that we have witnessed, researched and heard from people who are close to the action … here is what we believe: America is now home to thickening ranks of juvenile “super-predators” – radically impulsive, brutally remorseless youngsters, including ever more pre-teenage boys, who murder, assault, rape, rob, burglarize, deal deadly drugs, join gun-toting gangs and create serious communal disorders.” • Professor James Fox suggested that juveniles in the 1990s had “more dangerous drugs in their bodies, more deadly weapons in their hands, and a seemingly more casual attitude about violence.”

  16. Juveniles: Magazine Covers • “Children Without Pity” – Time, October 26, 1992 • “Teen Violence: Wild in the Streets” – Newsweek, August 2, 1993 • “Big Shots: An Inside Look at the Deadly Love Affair Between America’s Kids and Their Guns” – Time, August 2, 1993 • “Heartbreaking Crimes: Kids Without a Conscience” – People, June 23, 1997 • “The Monsters Next Door” – Time, May 3, 1999. • http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=e7781fb3f42f8b6780b964bbd02f5079

  17. Juveniles • A study of more than 7,500 stories on more than 550 television broadcasts found about 1,700 crime-related stories. • About one-third of the stories focused on juveniles as suspects and/or victims (juveniles were more likely than adults to be depicted as victims). • Stories about adult crime and juvenile delinquency were generally handled early in the broadcast, were often the first story, and were often grouped together with other crime stories. • About two-thirds of stories featured a criminal justice official. • Largest portion of stories dealt with murder.