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Crime Myths And Facts Essay

1674 words - 7 pages

There are many ways in which the public interprets and reacts to crime. These perceptions are often inaccurate because of the media's unrealistic method in presenting crime. Discussions relating to how the media presents forms of crime, what is true and false about these representations and the effects crime myths have on society will be discussed in detail throughout this assignment. Conclusions will be drawn to sum up the discussion.Firstly, the media portrays some crimes differently than how they are often reported to the police or experienced by the victims. The media tends to focus on the dramatic or alarming aspect of an incident in an attempt to stun the viewer. Crimes that are reported by the media are often crimes that take place the least. In fact 12 per cent of all crimes are in some way related to violence yet these crimes represent 60 per cent to 90 per cent of all crime news stories. (Daly, K. 2004, p. 1) So why are the majority of crime news stories violent crimes? The public is interested in hearing about dramatic, compelling events. These stories rouse the public's attention due to the severity and devastation of incidents. They also give the viewer a feeling of superiority; find comfort in watching criminals get caught and reprimanded for the crimes they commit. They are glad to find out criminals do not get away with crimes and justice is done. (Daly, K. 2004, p. 3) However, viewing violent crimes can also have an adverse affect on the viewer and have sparked 'copycat crimes' in which offenders imitate what they have seen reported on the television or in the newspapers. (Burgh, H. 2002, p. 207) Secondly, the media primarily centers on what will sell newspapers and get people watching news programs rather than concentrating on the whole facts of the incident and what happens in the real world. The media aims not only to present and report news but to present and showcase newsworthy stories. Newsworthy stories emphasise the dramatics, the unusualness and the shocking while placing less emphasis on the facts. (Goldsmith, A., Israel, M and Daly, K., 2003, p. 40) Journalists investigate and report these stories because they are entertaining and sensational and are the stories that grab the public's attention. (Burgh, H. 2002, p. 216)Media news and views will differ according to their medium; for example, some television stations operate with the main goal of informing the public and have a more factual basis; such as the privately owned government funded ABC. In contrast, the commercial broadcasting stations primarily focus on securing ratings. Commercial stations are often subjected to 'Yellow Journalism' which refers to a sensationalised, manufactured piece of news, based solely on improving their viewing audience. These stations also use the worst case scenario to make a generalization without investigating all the circumstances of a news story. (Campbell, J. 2001, p. 109)Current event programs and other news programs are...

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