Crime Justice and the Media

How does the media impact the criminal Justice system? Listed below are some very publicized cases and the reaction of the media. I will discuss the impact media has on societies’ opinions, whether police are successful in solving crimes because of overexposure of the media. Or are citizens’ opinions about the criminal Justice system misconstrued by the media’s exposure of crimes? And I will compare positive and negative effects between Canada and the United States to discover if the media has the same kind of effects in another country.

Remember the 0. 1. Simpson trial? How could we forget! The trial was televised every day and was the longest trial in California history costing more that $20,000,000. (Murrain’s and Admass, 2007). Society was fascinated by this case because it involved a celebrity and a brutal crime. The victims (Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson) were forgotten and people were more concerned with the publicity and outcome of the trial. Then there was the Scott Peterson case. The media loved that case because he murdered his pregnant wife and their unborn child. How about the case of Jon Bent Ramsey?

The media publicized that case continuously because she was a young beauty queen. Her parents were accused of killing her and later cleared of all charges. The people are influenced about how they feel about the Justice system because of the way the media portrays crime (2007). Society as a whole has a fear of crime and it is mainly due to reporting of crime in several sources (2007). People tend to believe what they read in newspapers, magazines, news articles on the Internet, radio, and television. It is hard to believe there are any positive factors regarding the media and the criminal Justice system.

There are in some cases: Toby Cohen, a reporter for Post-media News in Ottawa, Canada has reported some victims had rather liberating experiences with the media. Ms. Cohen has reported that: Conversing with the families of victims and looking through photos of their loved ones that were victims of crimes has at times been very healing for the families. Also the media can help police get involved in some cases where law enforcement was reluctant to help. An example of one case was a teenage girl went missing and the police were not concerned and offered little help in finding her.

A friend of the family notified a few friends in the media and the missing girl’s parents were on the evening news pleading for the return of their daughter. The next day the police began an official search and 10 days later they Crime Justice and the Media By Maggie the Criminal Justice System 3) well. Debbie Mayfly mother There are some negative aspects to this issue as of murder victim Leslie Mayfly made several requests to the media to stop calling her daughter the “mutilated victim” but it fell on deaf ears.

Also in the case of the families of serial killer Clifford Lesson’s victims’ faced relentless harassment from he press and reporters would hide Just to snap a photograph of the murdered families, media would also follow the victim’s acquaintances to school victim’s trying to get information about the murders. Families would occasionally hear about the details of their loved ones’ murders from media bulletins. In the United States there are positive and negative issues concerning the media’s impact on crime as well.

Below is a list of positive and negative factors of media on the criminal Justice system in the United States. (Murrain’s & Admass, 2007): Positive * The media may help form attitudes toward new subjects where prior opinions exist. * The media may influence attitudes that are weakly held. * The media may strengthen one attitude at the expense of others when the strength of the several attitudes is evenly balanced. * The media may suggest new courses of action that better satisfy existing wants and needs. The media’s strongest recognized effect remains the reinforcement of existing dispositions and attitudes. Negative * Substitution: Persons lacking alternative sources of knowledge substitute media information, which raises fear. * Resonance: Persons with victim experience or knowledge focus on media information, which intensifies preexisting fear. Vulnerability: Persons less able to prevent factorization are made more fearful from media information. * Affinity: Persons who demographically resemble media victims are made more fearful by media information. Ceiling effects: People who already have high levels of fear are beyond the media’s influence. Much of this publicity from the media reflects poorly on the police, the courts, and the criminal Justice system as a whole (2007). Most people do not have a direct awareness of the criminal Justice system and most of the information they do receive comes from the media whether it is written or verbal (2007). The media plays a significant role in the interpretation of criminality and the criminal Justice system.

Research has been done that police are not portrayed positively in the media. Doc- dramas and news tabloids represent the police as heroes while newspaper and radio see the police as ineffective and incompetent. News media focuses on negative criticism rather than positive and successful crime prevention efforts (2007). Doodler, K. (2003) Media Consumption and Public Attitudes Toward Crime and Justice: the Relationship Between Fear of Crime, Punitive Attitudes and Perceived

Police Effectiveness (Electronic version), Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, University at Albany School of Criminal Justice Web site: http://www. Albany. Du/sec/Jeep/visits/doodler. PDF In conclusion society is fascinated by crime in the media especially when the crimes positive and negative effects are very similar in the United States and Canada. The media can be helpful to law enforcement and victims’ families and other times the impact can be worse. Regarding police effectiveness and the criminal Justice system the media tends to twist the meaning of reality.

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