Examine the Extent to Which the Media Could Be Said to Present Us with Distorted Picture of Crime in Society

Topics: Sociology, Norm, Crime Pages: 2 (689 words) Published: September 26, 2012
Examine the extent to which the media could be said to present us with distorted picture of crime in society (15marks) Crime is an illegal action or activity for which a person can be punished by law. Crime is a social construction as it can change over time, such as there being laws against doing something, and then the social norm changes over time, so it’s not considered a crime anymore. The media is considered a social construction as they are based on opinions. Legal crimes are said to reflect social norms and values, for example women did not used to be allowed in bars, but the social norm has changed and now they are. Deviance acts are acts that violate the accepted standards of the community whether it legal or illegal. Crime and deviance is mostly what is the news coverage. Ericson, found that 45-71% of radio news concerns crime. Another sociologist , Williams et.al, found out that 30% of British newspapers is about crime. The news that is reported, mainly contain massive distortions about the acts. This is because newspapers and media can decide what they want to contain and what they think is most important. This is where social construction comes in because they are using their opinion to determine which stories are important. Most stories in the newspapers are old people or young children. This would make the readers feel sympathy for them. This is called Age fallacy (Felson). This make the readers believe that the victims are older/younger/worse off than they actually are. In the media, there tends to be an over-representation on violent and sexual crimes. This would make the readers/watchers/listeners to think that society is a lot more violent than it actually is. Ditton and Duffy found out that 46% of media reports are about violent/sexual crimes but in official statistics they only make 3% of all crime reported. This implies that the media exaggerate about crimes. The media also exaggerate on the success of the police. However violent the...
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