Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Crime in the Reporting of Crime Stories

Allie Dosmann
Blog 3

Would Blacking out the Face of the Perpetrator Make a Difference?

When I read the article "Want to Stop Mass Murder? Muzzle the Press!" I was first and foremost surprised by the bold claims the article made. When it stated, “Guns don't kill people. Journalists who report the names of people who kill people kill people,” I thought that was a little extreme. This is not to say that the article didn't have some good points. It proposed the idea of blocking out the face of criminals, and that is something that I think could have a positive impact. I think that this would really take away from the glorified conception of crimes

The article also touched on the slippery slope that this could lead to, implying that suddenly we wouldn’t be able to describe crimes at all in articles or that we would need to have an air tight relationship with the police in order to prevent details from escaping. I do think this is the case. 

I think that if someone wants to do heavy research to find the face of a criminal, then that is fine. This does not make them a star, considering you can do a Google search to find just about anyone’s face on the Internet. I also do not think the details of the crime need to be kept under wraps. Criminals can find ideas for crimes based on real instances or by turning on the television to one of the many crime shows. I think that crime television programs would be censored long before journalists would be prevented from telling the story of a crime. I also feel that given the large amount of crime television programs that this will not be happening anytime soon.

Mandy Patinkin experienced some real mental consequences from his time as the main character of the show Criminal Minds. His story can be read about here. If this can impact him so drastically, how can it not be having any impact on its regular viewers?

Spin of the Media Spinning Trials

I think that the worst thing 24-hour news coverage has done to the journalism world is put a lot of emphasis on biased journalism. Many outlets such as MSNBC and Fox News have found that their niche is to provide journalism with a political bias. I believe this same thing happens with crime stories, but with a bias against the person on trial. If you look at the Casey Antony trial, it is easy to see that she was condemned from the beginning by the public. The NewYork Times talked some about this issue in their article here.

What is the point of our judicial system if the media is out there making the decisions for them? I read up on the Casey Anthony trial a lot, and while I do believe all evidence points toward her being guilty, I trust in our judicial system. The popularity of 24-hours news has prompted news sources to take a stand on the issue they are covering in order to have something to talk about, and this is harming the American right to a fair trial.

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