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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 66982 Find in a Library
Title: INFLUENCE OF MASS COMMUNICATION MEDIA ON PUBLIC OPINION ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE (FROM PUBLIC OPINION ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE - EUROPE, 1979 - SEE NCJ-66980)
Author(s): H J SCHNEIDER
Corporate Author: Problems
Council of Europe
European Committee on Crime
France
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 41
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: France
Annotation: THE IMPACT ON PUBLIC OPINION OF THE MEDIA COVERAGE OF CRIME, CRIMINALS, AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS ANALYZED AND ILLUSTRATED WITH EXAMPLES OF MASS MEDIA DISTORTION DRAWN FROM FRANCE, GERMANY, AND THE UNITED STATES.
Abstract: PRESENTED AT THE 13TH CRIMINOLOGICAL RESEARCH CONFERENCE OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE (1978) BY A GERMAN CRIMINOLOGISTS, THIS PAPER FOCUSES ON THE ADVERSE EFFECTS ON PUBLIC OPINION OF THE DISTORTED PORTRAYAL OF CRIME, CRIMINALS, AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN THE MASS COMMUNICATION MEDIA, ESPECIALLY THE DAILY PRESS AND TELEVISION PROGRAMS. CENTRAL TERMS SUCH AS MASS COMMUNICATION MEDIA, PUBLIC OPINION, CRIME, CRIMINALS, AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ARE DEFINED. ACCORDING TO THE ARTICLE, THE MASS MEDIA NEVER PROJECT OBJECTIVE IMAGES: THEY ARE EITHER CRUDELY DISTORTED FOR MASS VIEWERS OR MORE SUBTLY SLANTED FOR SMALLER, ELITE AUDIENCES. IN ANY CASE, THE MASS MEDIA ARE MOULDING RATHER THAN MIRRORING PUBLIC OPINION. AS SHOWN IN AN ANALYSIS OF EIGHT FRENCH NEWSPAPERS AND SIX MASS-CIRCULATION WEEKLIES, NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS DETERMINED BY A PAPER'S POLITICAL ORIENTATION AND TYPE OF READERSHIP. TELEVISION IS PRESENTED AS GENERALLY SUPPORTIVE OF SOCIAL CONTROL MECHANISMS, ALTHOUGH EFFORTS TO COMBINE INFORMATION AND ENTERTAINMENT IN SPECIFIC TELEVISION PROGRAMS IS QUESTIONED. THE REPORT EMPHASIZES THE NEED FOR CATEGORIZATION OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF DISTORTIONS THAT ARE FOUND IN THE MEDIA, SUCH AS NONINFORMATION; OVER-INFORMATION; AND BAD, FALSE, AND FRAGMENTARY INFORMATION. THE MOST IMPORTANT KINDS OF IMPACT OF THE DISTORTED PORTRAYAL OF CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE ON PUBLIC OPINION ARE SEEN IN THE SPREAD OF IRRATIONAL FEAR OF CRIME, IRRATIONAL BELIEFS IN THE EFFICIENCY OF FORMAL SOCIAL CONTROL, AND THE REINFORCEMENT OF EXISTING NEGATIVE STEREOTYPES CONCERNING DELINQUENTS. FINALLY, THE ROLE OF THE MASS MEDIA IN CREATING THE NEED FOR LEGISLATION AND THEIR USE BY OFFICIAL AGENCIES IN THEIR EFFORTS TO GAIN POPULAR SUPPORT FOR POLITICAL GOALS IS CONSIDERED. AN INTERNATIONAL BIBLIOGRAPHY IS APPENDED. FOR RELATED ARTICLES, SEE NCJ 66980. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--LGR)
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Fear of crime; France; Germany; Labeling theory; Media coverage; Offenders; Police personnel; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public information; Speed reloading devices; Television programming; United States of America; Violence on television; Violent inmates
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66982

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