The Extent Press and Media Influence and Shape Public Perceptions of Crime

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Social media was created in 1997 and since then it has been one of the most pervasive forms of control over the public’s perceptions of crime. The press has shaped and influenced the public’s perceptions of crime for decades now as the public learns about crimes from many different sources, such as: the news/newspapers, magazines, movies, TV shows, books and many other forms. Usually these sources don’t present the complete reality of those crimes. ( Media, Process and the Social Construction of Crime – Gregg Barak) Violent crimes are more often presented as the ‘norm’ by the news, TV shows etc. This provides the public with daily doses of information about murder, kidnapping, rape and many others. This impacts the societal views negatively, thus resulting in heinous crimes such as murder and rape being classified as normal.

'Moral panic: it is a reaction by the majority of the population based on false or exaggerated perceptions that are fuelled by the media who amplify or overstate antisocial actions.” (– Stanley Cohen 1972) For example, the “Watts family murder” case, it has been widely broadcasted even landing its own documentary. The case was reported by many news channels such as ‘The Sun’ in these news reports, it was presented that Chris Watts murdered his wife and two children because he had a mistress who he wanted to begin a new life with but he didn’t know how to end things with his wife.

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However, ‘The Sun’ and many other news articles failed to present the martial problems that were occurring between Chris and his wife such as: his wife being extremely controlling. This impacted the societal views of this crime extremely as the press failed to authentically portray the unseen and unheard ongoing issues between Watts and his wife, in addition influencing the public to believe that the murder of both his wife and two children was a spontaneous act of rage with no real reason behind the murders. While there is never a reason respectable enough to justify a murder, it is important to recognise that Watts’ murder rage was fuelled by his marital problems that he felt he could not escape. However, this does not aid the public in any way to believe Watts’s was right in committing these murders but, it does provide essential background information deemed critical to his case. In the long run, information like this can help people form their opinion on worldwide cases as such. Given that sources such as ‘The Sun’ do not depict the case with false information or, leave out information which hinders the validity of the details open to the public eye.

Media on numerous distinctive events has contrarily impacted the public’s sees of police officers’ violent experiences with African American men but they have not set up wide-ranging contributing variables. This also impacts the societal views negatively as a high number of media associates crime with a certain race. Specifically, when it comes to protests a few media outlets tend to present these as ‘looting and rioting’ . The case of George Floyd is an example of a distinctive event including a police officer and an African American man.

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The Extent Press and Media Influence and Shape Public Perceptions of Crime. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“The Extent Press and Media Influence and Shape Public Perceptions of Crime.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
The Extent Press and Media Influence and Shape Public Perceptions of Crime. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
The Extent Press and Media Influence and Shape Public Perceptions of Crime [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from:

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