The Rising Tide of Crime
Uploaded by joeydaprof on Jun 12, 2006
The rising tide of crime threatens to engulf us all - or so we are led to believe.
The media today is a useful informative tool for the citizens of the world having a direct influence on their perceptions of how they view the world. The way it selects, organizes and presents information, shapes the audiences assumptions of domestic and international affairs. The media is important in shaping public agendas by influencing what people think about, and how events and issues are packaged and presented.
In this presentation I will be exploring whether media stereotypes and depictions of crime are truly reflective of official crime statistics.
The politics of fear is buffered by the media, stressing fear and threat as features of entertainment that, increasingly, are shaping the everyday lives of individuals. The constant use of fear through increases in reference to criminal incidents pervades crises in normal times: it becomes part of the taken-for-granted word of "how things are," and one consequence is that it begins to influence how we perceive and talk about everyday life, including ordinary as well as significant events. This produces the effect on individuals to begin to believe that danger and risk are a central feature of everyday life. The use of fear in headlines increased dramatically over the last decade and a half, peaking around 1994 only to be surpassed in 2001 due to the September 11 attacks. A qualitative content 1992 - 2002 of several major newspapers shows that crime reports about doubled in their news reports.
The use of fear in headlines increased from 30-150% for most newspapers analyzed over a 7-10 year period, with the peak year in 1994. Many of these increases were associated with more emphasis on crime reporting. Audiences interpret the repetitive reports as dramatic enactments of "fear and dread in our lives" and they begin to believe that the cases of crime are on the rise. The major objective of the use of fear in highlighting criminal cases and incidents is to promote a sense of disorder and a belief that `things are out of control which in turn benefits the media agencies. Serious crimes create sensational headlines which in turn creates uninformed or poorly informed individuals. Serious crimes such as assaults and kidnappings continue to be blasted across headlines even when false or greatly distorted. This creates informal decisions by the citizens that crime is...