Media 's Influence On Public Perception Of Law Enforcement Essay

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It is no secret that the media is able to influence the general public’s opinion on most anything. Whether the subject is fiction or non, movies, documentaries, and the news especially, are capable of swaying the public’s opinions and perceptions one way or the other. Not even the world of law enforcement is safe from the media’s purview (Barlow, M. H. and Barlow, D. E. and Chiricos T. G., 1995), as media portrayals often romanticize law enforcement as a well oiled machine that always gets the bad guy, and has a perfect relationship with the public. On top of this, the media has displayed a poor habit of portraying crime as predominantly violent and racial, rather than showing the whole picture(Gilliam, F. D. and Iyengar, S. and Simon, A. and Wright, O., 1996). In this paper, the motives driving these depictions, as well as the scope and effect of the media’s influence on public perception of law enforcement, will be explored and discussed.
One of the largest ways the media influences public opinions is through the news. News outlets report on local and world events, often applying their own bias to advance an agenda (Cavender, 2004). In general, entertainment television depicts crime, especially violent crime, far more often than it actually occurs in the real world (O’Keefe, 1987). Crime is more often than not presented to the public in two ways: crime is violent and criminals are nonwhite (Gilliam, et al, 1996). When put together, these two factors have
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