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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51695 Find in a Library
Title: CRIME TIME TV (TELEVISION) - IF ALL WE KNEW IS WHAT WE SAW...
Journal: CONTEMPORARY CRISES  Volume:2  Issue:4  Dated:(OCTOBER 1978)  Pages:437-458
Author(s): J A PANDIANI
Corporate Author: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co
Netherlands
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 29
Sponsoring Agency: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co
1000 Ah Amsterdam, Netherlands
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: DISCREPANCIES BETWEEN REAL WORLD CRIME AND CRIME AS DEPICTED IN TELEVISION PROGRAMS ARE EXPLORED IN A STUDY OF DATA ON 130 HOURS OF CRIME DRAMA AIRED ON NETWORK TELEVISION (TV) FROM FEBRUARY THROUGH JUNE 1977.
Abstract: THE PROGRAMS STUDIED REPRESENT 62.3 PERCENT OF THE PRIME TIME CRIME DRAMA APPEARING ON NETWORK TV DURING THE MONTHS STUDIED AND 38 PERCENT OF THE CRIME DRAMA PRODUCED FOR THE 1976-1977 TELEVISION SEASON. DATA ON UP TO THREE DIFFERENT CRIMES, OFFENDERS, VICTIMS, SUSPECTS, AND LAW ENFORCERS WERE CODED FOR EACH SHOW. THE DATA WERE THEN COMPARED WITH FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION ARREST STATISTICS, WITH EMPHASIS ON THE CRIMES OF HOMICIDE, ASSAULT, ROBBERY, BURGLARY, THEFT, AND OTHER LARCENIES (INCLUDING MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT). THE COMPARISON REVEALS THAT TELEVISION DRASTICALLY DISTORTS THE NATURE AND DISTRIBUTION OF CRIME IN U.S. SOCIETY. TELEVISION SHOWS A WORLD FILLED WITH SERIOUS CONVENTIONAL CRIME, WHEREAS IN THE REAL WORLD CRIME IS OVERWHELMINGLY CONCENTRATED AMONG THE POOR, THE YOUNG, AND THE NONWHITE. BY COMMONLY PORTRAYING OFFENDERS AS WHITE, MIDDLE-AGED, AND AFFLUENT, TELEVISION HIDES FROM VIEWERS MANY OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHARACTERISTICS OF CRIMINALS: THEIR AGE, RACE, AND SOCIAL CLASS. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THIS KIND OF DISTORTION NEGATIVELY AFFECTS THE ABILITY OF PEOPLE TO THINK REASONABLY ABOUT THE SOCIETY IN WHICH THEY LIVE. THE DISTORTION IS A DIRECT, ALTHOUGH UNINTENDED, CONSEQUENCE OF THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES THAT GOVERN TELEVISION CONTENT. COMMERCIAL INTERESTS CONTROL NETWORK TELEVISION PROGRAMMING, AND THE DISTORTIONS IN THAT PROGRAMMING ARE A REFLECTION OF ADVERTISERS' PERCEIVED SELF-INTERESTS. IN THE COURSE OF USING TELEVISION'S EDUCATIONAL POTENTIAL TO SELL THEIR PARTICULAR VISIONS OF THE 'AMERICAN WAY,' ADVERTISERS CONTRIBUTE TO A COMPLEX FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS AMONG VIEWERS, A SITUATION THAT HAS IMPORTANT POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES. ANY CHANGE IN TELEVISION PROGRAMMING REQUIRES A CHANGE EITHER IN THE PERCEIVED SELF-INTEREST OF SPONSORS OR IN THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE OF TELEVISION. THE AVAILABILITY OF RELATIVELY INEXPENSIVE VIDEOTAPE PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT AND ACCESS TO CABLE TELEVISION SYSTEMS COULD LEAD TO A BALANCED CONTROL OF THE MEDIUM, WHICH IN TURN COULD BRING ABOUT A BALANCED PORTRAYAL OF SOCIETY. SUPPORTING DATA ARE INCLUDED. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Arrest statistics; Offenders; Perception; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Socioculture; Studies; Televisions
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51695

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