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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69656 Find in a Library
Title: How the Police View the Press
Journal: Journal of Police Science and Administration  Volume:8  Issue:2  Dated:(June 1980)  Pages:148-159
Author(s): F A Lazin
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Following a mass riot of teenagers angered by the cancellation of a rock concert, a riot involving the police and the rock concert attenders, police cadets responded to press coverage of the event.
Abstract: The 69 police cadets in two police academy classes were asked to respond with regard to their perception of the press's coverage of the riot in an effort to describe how newly recruited policemen from white ethnic and minority communities view the press. Common themes of the essays were compared to discover how police view the press as an important socializing institution in American society, to see if white ethnics view themselves as outsiders and are alienated from the establishment (including the media), and to discover whether significant alienation or resentment exist either toward the press or society in general. A very significant percentage of the cadets believed press coverage of police-related incidents to be hostile to the police. Only seven cadets argued that the press printed the truth, and by implication, acted in a professionally objective manner. The remaining 62 (almost 90 percent) presumed a generally biased press influenced by partisan political interests, ideology, financial gain, and a desire to please the public. In effect they would reject any suggestion that the press reported a factual, more or less objective, account of events. The lack of trust expressed by these cadets suggests a very ineffective press whose ability to act as a powerful transmitter of information is undercut. Yet most of the cadets believed the press to be biased, nonobjective, or untruthful for reasons not necessarily relating to the relationship between the police and media; this may suggest that a person's belief that the press is untrustworthy or biased on a given subject may contribute to his taking a generally mistrustful view of the paper. Moreover, evidence of alienation was generally absent. Nevertheless, the lack of trust and the appearance of antagonism remain alarming. Tables chart the responses of the cadets. Footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Police attitudes; Police community relations; Police occupational stress; Police personnel
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