How media portrays crime and the effect it has on the public.
In our everyday life, we rely on many different forms of media for both information and entertainment; from news channels, to television, even the video games we play all fall into the category of media. Since we have such a social connection to media, we have begun to realize the media, for all its benefits, may also affect the mindset of the general public. This review discusses and compares the layperson and actual sociological findings of the potential affects. It goes through what people believe about the sensationalization of crimes, to disproportionate reporting of crimes, offenders and victims, and violence in popular media, and looks at how it affects our psyche as a community and society. It's important to take a close look at our beliefs, the reality, and its affect in order to get a better understanding of how we as a culture change and adapt to ourselves.
The types of crimes that the media chooses to broadcast are generally violent crime. More and more we seeing stories involving murder or assaults. Ever since Columbine there is an increase in coverage of school shootings, making it seem commonplace in our communities. As the media continues to over represent these crimes, the crimes still stick out in the community's collective mind. To the average American, it would seem as if violent crimes are increasing at an alarming rate. In reality the number of violent crimes is decreasing, despite the fact that our prison population is growing rapidly (Wolfers 2014).
There is also an emphasis on drug related crime. Since in actuality the number of violent crimes is decreasing, the prison system thrives on the arrests of drug users and drug dealers. The media portrays minorities as dangerous drug users, who will inevitably commit more heinous crimes (Knafo 2014). Many media outlets depict drug users and dealers as burden on the community; so much of police attention is fixated on those deviant members of society.