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Copycat Crime & The Media

             Every day when we wake the first thing most of us do is turn on a television, radio, computer, or scan the local newspaper to see what has happened while we slept. We have become information junkies, and the media is more than willing to feed our addiction. Our eyes are the mainline to our brain, pumping into its depths: the war in Iraq, murders, and snipers on the loose in our communities and schools. We watch documentaries on serial killers the likes of Ted Bundy and the Son of Sam. These pictures infuse our psyche like a drug. With attention to detail these crimes are photographed and doctored by the media with the effects and techniques of melodrama. The media exploits us, and we love every minute of it. However, in the search for the perfect story, the media sometimes overlooks its responsibility to protect the public. The increasing value the media puts on drama and detail may affect the darker side of some people's psyche. Influences of the media, a psychological predisposition to criminal behavior, and the desire to "get away with murder" seem to be contributing factors in crimes that copy what has already been seen in the media.
             Our forefathers valued the importance of a free press, and they made it part of the groundwork of our constitution. But, with that right comes the awesome responsibility to keep the public informed. The media should give alternate views so that people can decide on a stance in any issue. The media is the main supplier of information and images regarding events and people outside our immediate environment. By promoting various aspects of social reality, the media also influences individuals' aspects of social reality; and individuals" judgments about how to deal with important social problems (Iyengar, 1991). .
             In their quest to inform, the media sometimes forgets the psychological and emotional influence they have on the population. Individual emotion and disposition enable us to become aware of the world we live in, and develops our ability to understand it better.

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