Media and Crime

Ultimately, it seems that media distorts the nature of crime in our society, due to the place of privilege that entertainment and ratings hold over realism and accuracy.As Kenneth Dowler, a professor of criminal justice in California points out, society these days is fascinated with crime and justice (Dowler, 2003, p. 109). It may be no surprise, then, that a lot of people get their ideas of crime in society largely from crime drama shows. Indeed, the nature of violent crime in particular carries a lot of emotional impact that drama writers can draw on in telling compelling stories (Levi, Maguire, Brookman, 2007, p. 687). Additionally, many of these supposedly realistic programs [blur] the lines between fiction and reality through their advertising and marketing materials (Dowler, Fleming, Muzzatti, p. 838). But although the shows are sometimes based on real cases, they are far from realistic, and often condense the investigation timeline and the certainty and celerity of case resolution (Guastaferro, 2013, p. 264). It is precisely because of the fact that they present a neatly wrapped package [in which] there is little ambiguity, … justice prevails, and resolutions are … expedient (Guastaferro, 2013, p. 264) that they are so popular. The crime in these shows, is often not realistic, with a tendency to violence and success that is not particularly well-matched with reality. This is because of the sensational nature of television, which aims to produce emotions like fear in the viewer, and as a result crime shows present a distorted image of the typical crime or criminal (Dowler, 2003, p. 117). Perhaps due to the positive messages that crime drama gives us about the certainty of justice being served, the way they portray crime and the criminal justice system have a big effect on people’s perceptions of crime in reality. This fascination drives themto consume more and more media-based around or detailing criminal acts.