Crime and the Media

The temptation is to make an entry on the “issue of the day” whatever that issue may be.  Instead, the subject matter of this post will be Crime and the Media and the role that it plays in our lives.  It seems at first blush that the subject is rather dry and, once a case is over, who really cares?  A closer look reveals that our society borders on crime obsessed.  Take a look at today’s newspaper (or any day’s for that matter,) the TV listings, the movie releases.  They are dominated by stories of crime.  Many social critics lament that we emphasize the social deviant behavior while ignoring the good works of those who deserve praise.  I’m not quite so cynical as to think that good works are ignored.  Heroism is everywhere and we are not slow to recognize it.  Criminal behavior SHOULD be thrust in the spotlight in the spirit of outrage.  This behavior is not acceptable and those who do it should be placed in the spotlight of shame much the same as the Pilgrims did with their public stocks.

The problem I see is with the fascination and media saturation with crime.  It has lost its proper place and share of the attention.  There is a very great risk to this: complacency.  Too much focus on deviance erodes that sense of outrage and gets us to a place of acceptance.  Serial killer trading cards?  True crime books outselling great biographies of world figures?  This is the beginning of a slip down the road of the acceptance of bad behavior that is both wrong and dangerous to future generations.

The answer is not censorship or some kind of control on the media.  The answer is to ignore the hysteria individually and emphasize the good behavior we see around us.  Print stories about the athlete’s breaking of the record first and not the bad behavior that has come to be expected.  Cut off the interest, and the stories will not be printed.  A quick solution?  No.  It is the only way, however, to take back the proper focus of the media onto the right kind news.

By:  Kent M. Barker

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