Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Crime and the Courts
News media coverage of crime and the courts highlights, among other things, the clear tension between First and Sixth Amendment rights in the Constitution, those of a free press versus a defendant's right to a fair trial. But such coverage also demonstrates the power of media to contribute to a false view of reality, as when heavy viewers of television feel threatened by a world they perceive as filled with more crime than is the case. Crime stories dominate most American news media. Numerous content analyses of newspapers and television stations have shown that local media are saturated with accounts of crime, hence the local television newsroom adage, “If it bleeds it leads.” Public interest in crime news is generally high, providing a commercial incentive for newspapers and broadcasters to cover more crime news. Furthermore, crimes usually make good news stories in that they provide crucial drama and human interest ...