Crime and the Media
Overview of MediaSocialConstructionismMADD Politics
A Brief History of Crime/Media
Crime has always been a good source for mediaEarliest forms of media had crime/justice themesFolktales, theatre, songsTypes of mediaPrint (as early as 1400s)PamphletsPenny press, dime novels, comic booksVisualFilm (1910)Commercial radio (1920s)Commercial television (1950s) cable television (1970s)VCRDVRInternet/Computer games
NewsTV (local, national, cable)EntertainmentExamplesInfotainmentWhy is crime-media such a good match?The “mediated experience”
Knowledge is socially created (shared meanings)Sources of “knowing”Direct (experience)Symbolic (other sources)Where direct and symbolic knowledge clash, what wins out?Conformity experiments, horse meat
Physical WorldCompeting ConstructionsMedia as the ArenaWinning Social Construction
Claims Makers / Claims
Moral EntrepreneursExamples of claims makers in crime/justice?Role of law enforcement?ClaimsFactualInterpretiveLinkingSatanic Day Care Cult Murderers (p. 37)Meth is more addictive than _______.
DefineCJ FramesFaulty SystemBlocked OpportunitiesSocial BreakdownRacist SystemViolent Media
“Perfect Examples” of the problemWorst crimeInnocent victim, heinous offender/crimeLink construction to symbolic crimeChild would be alive if not for _________.Press case in media
Who “owns” a particular problem helps dictate policyCommon problem owners? Examples?
You See Timmy…
What is the media image of crime most visible in news and entertainment?Theme in bothSuretteand Beckett/Sasson?A particular “frame” has largely won out in the competition for social construction of crimeWhat effect does this have on the “real world?”Cultivation theory and the “mean world”Selection Theory, QualificationsResponse using experimental design
The Politics of “Law and Order”
Beckett andSassonDominant construction of crime not accidentContext of 1950s-1960sLiberal agenda/policies?Conservative strategy?Individual understanding of crime/disorderWelfare as bad
Law and Order II
Conservatives hate changeCivil rightsCompeting construction of civil disobedienceGoldwater NixonCrime as National ConcernStrikes chord with subset of AmericansLINK crime to civil rights to other fears of change/disorderThe “Southern Strategy”Nixon “We’ll go after the racists”Problem: Crime not federal. Solution?
ReaganEconomy in tank (#1 American concern)Still, put crime as high on agendaShift federal law enforcement from white collar to drugs/violence“Just say NO”Democrats Pile onBushWar on DrugsWillie Horton as a “wonderful mix of liberalism and a big black rapist” (Horton as his “running mate”).
Crime as situational/personal failure“COPS”News coverage, etc.War on DrugsCrack babiesThe “Meth Epidemic”
You See Timmy
Common perception/story = politicians respond to public demandsPublic “fed up”Beckett andSassonPoliticians helped “construct” and cultivate the law and order frameCriminal justice problem and solution (not poverty, etc)
Context of 1970s/early 1980sClaims Makers?How did MADD “construct” the problem of drinking and driving?Vs. competing claim of the time?Use of Media?ContextFit for “industry”Fit for political context