Essay on Crime and the Media

1289 Words 6 Pages
Crime and the Media
The public depends on the news media for its understanding of crime. Reportedly three quarters (76%) of the public say, they form their opinions about crime from what they see or read in the news (Dorfman & Schiraldi, 2001). After reviewing five hours of reality crime television shows, one is left with a very dismal look on society and a prejudice towards minorities as they are largely depicted as the perpetrators of crime. This new genre commonly referred to as reality television appears to be sweeping the nation by storm. Opinions vary, depending on whom you ask, to what extent reality plays a role versus the selling of a product. Sensationalism, advertising, ratings hype, profiling and fear all comprise the mass
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The apprehension and subsequent arrest all dramatized for the cameras. The suspect, heard on camera being questioned about his past domestic violence charges, his inability to pay child support and finally he is asked about the observed drug purchase.
Of the nineteen cases reviewed, drug related crimes were more prevalent. In cases involving African American suspects, the drug of choice was crack cocaine. In suspects that were Caucasian, the drug of choice was methamphetamines. On the episode aired on May 5, 2005, COPS: Bad Girls, the suspect, a Caucasian woman was selling drugs and prostituting (Langley, 2005). With the cameras rolling, the audience is able to overhear, that the suspect is on welfare and has had her children taken away because of her drug habit. The suspect denies the charges, and the officer insists on making the point that she is using her welfare money in order to purchase drugs.
In the cases reviewed, the program did not divulge the age. Upon observation, the average estimated age is twenty-five. Age did not appear to have any particular correlation to the type of criminal activity. What appeared to be more in play was the socioeconomic scale of the suspects. The average age and circumstances seem to strike a familiar vein with the cases reviewed. On average, the suspects were unemployed, residing with a family member, a history of violence and drug use. This profile…