Media and Crime

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Media and Crime What is crime? A normative definition views crime as deviant behavior that violates prevailing norms – cultural standards prescribing how humans ought to behave normally. This approach considers the complex realities surrounding the concept of crime and seeks to understand how changing social, political, psychological, and economic conditions may affect changing definitions of crime and the form of the legal, law-enforcement, and penal responses made by society. These structural realities remain fluid and often contentious. For example: as cultures change and the political environment shifts, societies may criminalize or decriminalize certain behaviors, which will directly affect the statistical crime rates, influence…show more content…
While journalism may be the media profession with the most legitimate claim to exercise influence over the criminal justice system, it is by no means the only way the media exercise such influence. Entertainment media have also been studied and criticized for their influence over public perceptions of the people and institutions that comprise the criminal justice system. A striking amount of television programming has in one way or another (e.g., through comedy, mystery, drama, biography, docudrama, and soap opera) been centered on police, lawyers, judges, criminals, and victims of crime. The effects on public attitudes and behavior that these portrayals may have brought about have received considerable research attention. Media portrayals of violence, largely in television but also in movies and—increasingly in the 1990s—recorded music, have been studied in part for their potential to inspire real-life criminal behavior. Exposure to violent media content has been argued in criminal defenses as a mitigating factor in the guilt of defendants. Since the early 1980s a television genre has emerged that is part journalism (in that it purports to deal with reality and with important subjects) and in no small part entertainment (in that it is dramatic, enhanced with music and special effects, and often includes actors playing various roles). Shows such as Cops, America 's Most Wanted, and Unsolved Mysteries combine footage of actual arrests, interviews with

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