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Essay on Crime and Media: A Focus on Perception

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Crimes and criminal law have always been a sensitive subject with the people; criminal law concerns itself with issues such as morality, authority, equity and integrity – all of which are aspects on which the public may have strong beliefs; strong but suggestible. It is well known that finances, media, education and law are fundamental to a society – two of them are also inherently linked through society: media and law. The media affects society’s perspective and values which, in turn, shape the law. What is little known, perhaps, is the depth of control that the media possesses over society: it influences through language, the staging of criminal cases in popular media and through subtle, indirect means like presentation. Of course, this level of influence on the public reflects itself in society’s values and beliefs on a general scale.
To begin, one must realize that there are not several different media outlets. Multiple channels are owned by the same company and these companies, in turn, are subsidiaries of a parent company. The popular media today is controlled by only five major corporations: Time Warner, Disney, News Corporation, Viacom, and Bertelsmann – which owns most English language publishing houses. Inevitably, biases will be present; but the lack of exposure to other lesser known sources which may counterbalance these biases causes a shift in public opinion, one that is largely controlled by the popular media. One of the most powerful ways in which people are influenced is through language. The positive or negative connotations and repetitive use of specific terminology bring up certain emotions or depart messages into the subconscious mind. One may refer to them as trigger words think, for example, of words such...


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... Modern Criminal Jury Trials." Last modified 11,3,2009. Accessed May 11, 2012. http://www.luc.edu/law/activities/publications/lljdocs/vol41_no1/pdfs/lawson_verdict.pdf.
Media Awareness Network, "How to Detect Bias in the News." Accessed May 11, 2012. http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/educational/handouts/broadcast_news/bw_bias_in_the_news.cfm.
OwenSpencer-Thomas, "News Values." Accessed May 11, 2012. http://www.owenspencer-thomas.com/journalism/newsvalues.
Powell, Betsy, and Peter Small. "Jurors warned to avoid lure of 'CSI effect'." The Toronto Star, March 10, 2008. http://www.thestar.com/news/article/326798--jurors-warned-to-avoid-lure-of-csi-effect (accessed May 11, 2012).
Wordpress, "Law & Order: Beneficial or Detrimental to the US Legal System." Last modified February,7,2012. Accessed May 11, 2012. http://lawmindscience.wordpress.com/2011/02


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