Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Gwendelyn Nisbett & Jennifer Hartsfield
The way that people perceive race and crime is often driven by the media. The public may simply assume that crime happens and the news media report the details. On the contrary, the media construction of race and crime is a complex interweaving of both fact and fiction oftentimes set in an overarching racist narrative. The depiction of race by the media is impacted by three primary factors: media influence on an audience, media ownership, and media depictions of race and crime. Although the media have a somewhat moderate influence on audiences, they do have the power to narrate how race and crime is discussed. Lastly, common depictions of race and crime contribute to the social construction of beliefs about who commits crime and who are the victims of crime. This entry examines all of these areas as they relate to television news. Communication researchers argue that the media do ...