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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136137 Find in a Library
Title: Media World of Crime: A Study of Social Learning Theory and Symbolic Interaction (From Advances in Criminological Theory, Volume 2, P 115-143, 1990, William S Laufer and Freda Adler, eds. -- See NCJ-136131)
Author(s): H J Schneider
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 29
Sponsoring Agency: Transaction Publishers
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Sale Source: Transaction Publishers
Rutgers-the State University
140 West Ethel Road
Units L-M
Piscataway, NJ 08854
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper hypothesizes that criminological research results have virtually no influence on the portrayal of crime in the mass media and that the unrealistic interaction between publicized opinion and public opinion has negative consequences in reality for the development of fear of crime, an aggressive lifestyle, and unjustified alterations of legislation and penal laws.
Abstract: The thesis that the portrayal of criminality and criminal justice has personal and social reality consequences rests on social learning theory. According to this theory, behavior is learned not only according to its success, but also through the observation of models. Numerous content analysts have conducted research on the form and content of crime portrayal in television news programs. Such research indicates that media criminality is almost exclusively violent crime between strangers, that crime portrayal in the mass media concentrates on crime perpetration and detection, that the offender is a disagreeable and reckless character, that the victim is guileless and completely surprised by the crime, that crime control is performed almost exclusively by formal social control organizations (police, courts, and corrections), and that the mass media do not devote sufficient treatment to crime causes. Examples of media crime portrayal are presented including news programs, investigative television, newspapers, cartoons and comics, and courtroom reports. Public opinion about crime is discussed, along with subjective states of public security and the need to form criminologically desirable opinions through the mass media. 103 references
Main Term(s): Media coverage
Index Term(s): Criminology theory evaluation; Public Opinion of Crime; Social Learning; Symbolic interaction theory
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