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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 137019 Find in a Library
Title: Crime, Race, and the Fourth Estate
Journal: National Review  Volume:42  Issue:20  Dated:(October 15, 1990)  Pages:52-54,56
Author(s): L Anderson
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 4
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Criminal justice professionals, politicians, community leaders, and the media should make an effort to avoid purveying a patronizing double standard that excuses or rationalizes criminality based on a particular view of interracial dynamics in the larger community; the case of the Central Park rape of a white female jogger by minority youth and the cases involving black victims and white offenders in Howard Beach and Bensonhurst, also in New York, illustrate the problems.
Abstract: Media Coverage of the Central Park rape was, on the whole, commendable, as it sought to avoid inflaming racial passions and prejudices. In the community at large, however, many black and white leaders attempted to portray the criminal justice processing as being racially biased and motivated. There was no objective evidence to support these claims, however. Media coverage did not maintain its objectivity in the Howard Beach and Bensonhurst cases, however. In an effort to declare its stand against racially motivated violence against minorities by whites, the media engaged in pretrial condemnations of the defendants' behavior against minority victims as being blatantly racist. The New York Times, for example, not only focused on the racial elements of these cases, but distorted and even falsified facts in the process. When examining cases that involve victims and offenders of different races, the cases should be assessed based only on the evidence, without rushing to the assumption that the racial identities of the parties involved explain either the offense or the case processing.
Main Term(s): Media coverage; Racial discrimination
Index Term(s): New York; Racially motivated violence
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