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Flashcards in Crime and The Media Deck (40)
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Briefly outline the three ways in which the media give a distorted image of crime.

- Media over-represent violent and sexual crime: Ditton and Duffy - 46% media reports about violent or sexual crimes, only 3% of all crimes recorded by police.

- Media portray criminals and victims as older and more m/c than those typically found in CJS. Felson: 'age fallacy'.

- Media exaggerates risk of victimisation, especially to women, white people and higher status individuals.


According to Schlesinger and Tumber, how did the portrayal of crime change between the 1960s and the 1990s? What caused this change?

1960s: Focus on murders and petty crime.
1990s: Focus on drugs, child abuse and terrorism.

Change came about because of the abolition of the death penalty for murder. Also rising crime rates meant crime had to be 'special' to attract coverage.


According to Soothill and Walby, how do the media give a distorted view of sex crimes?

- Newspaper reporting of rape cases increased from under 1/4 of all cases in 1951 to over 1/3 in 1985.

- Distorted picture of rape is one of serial attacks carried out by psychopathic strangers. Exception rather than rule.

- Most cases victim knows rapist.


Briefly explain what is meant by news being a social construction.

- Outcome of a social process in which some potential stories are selected while others are rejected.
- S. Cohen and Young: news isn't discovered but manufactured.


Briefly explain how news values are used to manufacture the news.

News values are the criteria by which journalists and editors decide whether a story is newsworthy enough to make it into the newspaper or news bulletin.


Briefly outline some of the key news values.

- Immediacy: 'Breaking news'

- Dramatisation: Action and excitement

- Personalisation: Human interest stories about individuals

- Higher-status: Persons and 'celebrities'

- Simplification: eliminating shades of grey

- Novelty or unexpectedness: A new angle

- Risk: Victim-centred stories about vulnerability and fear

- Violence: especially visible and spectacular acts


According to Surette, what is meant by the 'law of opposites'?

The opposite of the official statistics.


Give four examples of how fictional representations of crime differ from official statistics.

- Property crime: under-represented. Violence, drugs and sex crimes: over-represented.

- Real-life homicides: mainly result from brawls and disputes. Fictional: product of greed and calculation.

- Fictional sex crimes: committed by psychopathic strangers, not acquaintances. Fictional villains: higher status, middle-ages white males.

- Fictional cops usually get their man.


Briefly outline three recent trends in fictional representation of crime.

- New genre of 'reality' infotainment shows: young, non-white 'underclass' offenders.

- Increasing tendency to show police as corrupt, brutal and less successful.

- Victims: become more central with law enforcers portrayed as their avengers. Audiences invited to identify with their suffering.


Briefly outline four ways in which the media might cause crime and deviance.

- Imitation: by providing deviant role models, resulting in 'copycat' behaviour.

- Arousal: e.g through viewing violent or sexual imagery.

- Desensitisation: e.g through repeated viewing of violence.

- By transmitting knowledge of criminal techniques.


According to Schramm et al, what is the impact on children of exposure to media violence?

For some harmful, others beneficial. For most, neither harmful or beneficial.


According to Livingstone, why are people still preoccupied with the effects of the media on children?

Despite such conclusions, people continue to be preoccupied with effects because of desire (society) to regard childhood as a time of uncontaminated innocence in the private sphere.


How might media representations of crime affect people's fear of crime?

Media may be distorting the public's impression of crime and causing an unrealistic fear of crime.


Briefly outline the findings of the following studies on the link between media use and fear of crime:
- Gerbner et al
- Schlesinger and Tumber

Gerbner et al: Heavy users of TV (4+ hrs per day) had higher levels of fear of crime.

Schlesinger and Tumber: Tabloid readers and heavy users of TV express greater fear of becoming a victim, especially physical attack and mugging.


According to Greer and Reiner, why should an interpretivist approach be used when investigating the effects of the media?

If we want to understand the possible effects of the media, we must look at the meanings people give to what they see and read.


According to left realism, how do the media encourage feeling of relative deprivation?

Lea and Young: "The mass media have disseminated a standardized image of lifestyle, particularly in areas of popular culture and recreation, which, for those unemployed and surviving through the dole queue or only able to obtain employment at very low wages, has accentuated the sense of relative deprivation."


How do the media representations of 'normal' life illustrate Merton's view of the cause of crime?

Pressure to conform to the norm can cause deviant behaviour when the opportunity to achieve by legitimate means is blocked.

Media: Instrumental in setting the norm and thus in promoting crime.


According to cultural criminology, how do the media turn crime into a commodity?

Rather than simply producing crime in their audiences, the media encourage them to consume crime, in the form of images of crime.


According to Hayward and Young, what is the impact of a media-saturated society on crime? Use an example to explain your answer.

Blurring between the image and the reality of crime, there's a blurring between image and reality of crime. The way the media represent crime and crime control now actually constitutes or creates the thing itself.

Example: gang assaults not just caught on camera but staged for the camera and packed together in 'underground fight videos'.


Using examples, briefly how corporations and advertisers use the media images of crime to sell products.

- 'Gangster' rap and hip hop combine images of street hustler criminality with images of consumerist success.

- Fenwick and Hayward: "crime is packaged and marketed to young people as a romantic, exciting, cool and fashionable cultural symbol."


Using examples, briefly explain what is meant by 'brandalism'.

- Graffiti: marker of deviant urban cool, but corporations now use it in a 'guerrilla marketing' technique ('brandalism') to sell everything from theme parks to cars and video games.

- Corporations use moral panics, controversy and scandal to market their products.


How are brands used as tools of classification?

- Brands become tools of classification for constructing profiles of potential criminals.

- Designer labels valued by young people as badges of identity now function as symbols of deviance.

- Example: some pubs and clubs refuse entry to individuals wearing certain brands.


Briefly explain what is meant by a moral panic.

An exaggerated over-reaction by society to a perceived problem where the reaction enlarges the problem out of proportion to its real seriousness.


Briefly outline the three stages of a moral panic.

- The media identify a group as a folk devil or threat to societal values.

- The media present the group in a negative, stereotypical fashion and exaggerate the scale of the problem.

- Moral entrepreneurs, editors, politicians, police chiefs and other 'respectable' people condemn the group and its behaviour.


Briefly explain the following groups:
- Mods
- Rockers

- Mods: smart dress, rode scooters, listened to The Who
- Rockers: wore leather jackets and rode motorbikes, listened to Elvis Presley.


Briefly outline the following elements of media reporting of the mods and rockers identified by Cohen:
- Exaggeration and distortion
- Prediction
- Symbolism

Exaggeration and distortion:
- Media exaggerated numbers involved, extent of violence and damage, distorted picture through dramatic reporting and sensational headlines (e.g: Youngsters Beat Up Town)

- The media regularly assumed and predicted further conflict and violence would result.

- Symbols of the mods and rockers were negatively labelled and associated with deviance.
- Medias use of these symbols allowed them to link unconnected events.


According to Cohen, how did the media's portrayal of events create a deviance amplification spiral?

- Media made situation appear to be spreading and out of hand.
- Led to calls for increased control (police and courts).
- Produced further marginalisation and stigmatisation of mods +rockers as deviant, less tolerance of them and so on in upward spiral.


In what ways did the media further amplify deviance?

- Defining the two groups + their subcultural styles.

- Led to more youths adopting these styles + drew in more participants for future clashes.

- Emphasising their supposed differences allowed media to crystallise two distinct identities + transformed loose-knit groupings into two tight-knit gangs.

- Encouraged polarisation + helped create self-fulfilling prophecy of escalating conflict as youths acted out role assigned to them by the media.


According to Cohen, why are media definitions crucial in a moral panic?

In large-scale modern societies, most people have no direct experience of the events themselves and thus have to rely on the media for information about them.


What does Cohen highlight about the nature of post-war British society?

It was a period in which the newfound affluence, consumerism and hedonism of the young appeared to challenge the values of an older generation who had lived through the hardships of the 1930s and 40s.