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Crime and the Media

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Williams and Dickinson
They found that British newspapers devote up to 30% of their news space to crime.
Media, crime & official statistics
1. The media over-represent violent and sexual crime. 2. Portray criminals and victims as older and more m/c ('age fallacy') 3. Exaggerate police success in clearing up cases. 4. Exaggerate the risk of victimisation e.g. to women 5. Crime is reported as a series of separate events (out of context) 6. Overplay extraordinary crimes ('dramatic fallacy')
Cohen and Young
They note, news is not discovered but MANUFACTURED (consider NEWS VALUES such as immediacy/dramatisation/simplification). -> One reason why the news media give so much coverage to crime is that news focuses on the unusual and extraordinary, and this makes deviance newsworthy almost by definition, since it is abnormal behaviour.
Ernest Mandel (1984)
He estimates that from 1945 to 1984, over 10 billion crime thrillers were sold worldwide.
Fictional representations of crime
1. Property crime is under-represented, while violence, drugs and sex crimes are over-represented. 2. Fictional sex crimes are committed by psychopaths, not acquaintances. 3. Fictional cops usually get their man.
Fictional representations of crime
(RECENT TRENDS) 4. 'Reality' shows tend to feature young, non-white 'underclass' offenders. 5. There is an increasing tendency to show police as corrupt, brutal and less successful. 6. Victims have become more central, with police portrayed as avenger (mściciel) and audiences invited to identify with their suffering.
Media as a cause of crime
1. Imitation ('copycat behaviour') 2. Arousal (pobudzenie) e.g. through viewing violent imagery 3. Desensitization 4. Transmitting knowledge of criminal techniques 5. Stimulating desires for unffordable goods e.g. through advertising 6. Glamourising crime.
Imitation AO2
Research on the media as a cause of crime or violence often uses lab experiments (e.g. Ross and Ross 'Bobo Doll'). While this allows researchers to control the variables involved, the artificiality of the setting undermines validity. Experiments cannot easily measure long-term effects either.
Schlesinger and Tumber
They found tabloid readers and heavy users of TV expressed greater fear of going out at night and of becoming a victim. (AO2) An alternative reading of this finding is that those who are afraid of going out at night watch more TV just because they stay in more. That is, fear of crime may cause greater media use, not vice versa!
Lea and Young
They argue that the media increase relative deprivation among marginalised groups. (Interpret this idea using Merton's argument that pressure to pursue cultural goals can cause deviance when legitimate opportunities to achieve are blocked)
Moral panics
1. The media identify a group as a folk devil, negatively stereotype and exaggerate the problem. 2. Moral entrepreneurs condemn the behaviour of the group, leading to calls for a 'crackdown' (rozprawić się). 3. In turn, this may create a self-fulfilling prophecy, amplifying the very problem e.g. setting up special drug squads led the police to discover more drug taking. 4. As the crackdown identifies more deviants, calls for even tougher action create a DEVIANCE AMPLIFICATION SPIRAL.
Moral panics AO2
Who is to decide whether the societal reaction is an irrational over-reaction? Left and right wing realists argue that people's fear of crime is often rational.
He argues that moral panics are a result of BOUNDARY CRISIS, where there is uncertainty about where the boundary lies between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in a time of change. The folk devil gives a focus to popular anxieties about disorder.
Cohen AO2
He doesn't explain why the media are able to amplify some problems into a panic, but not others, nor why panics come to an end rather than continuing to amplify indefinitely.
Functionalism and moral panics
They see moral panics as ways of responding to the sense of anomie created by change. By dramatising threat to society in the form of a folk devil, the media raise collective consciousness and reassert social controls when central value are threatened.
McRobbie and Thornton
They argue that in late modern society, panics are routine and have less impact because audiences are accustomed to media exaggerations. There is also less consensus about what is deviant, so it's harder to create panics.
Thomas and Loader
They define cybercrime as computer-mediated activities that are either illegal or considered illicit (niedozwolony) and are conducted through global electronic networks.
Yvonne Jewkes
She notes the internet creates opportunities to commit both conventional e.g. fraud and 'new crimes using new tools' e.g. software piracy.
David Wall
He identifies four categories of cybercrime: cyber-trespass e.g. hacking, cyber-deception e.g. identity theft, cyber-pornography, and cyber-violence e.g. text bullying.
Policing cybercrime
It is difficult partly because the sheer scale of the internet and because globalised nature poses problems of jurisdiction. Though ICT provides police and state with greater opportunities for surveillance.