CRJ 105 Term Paper

Submitted By that_falcon
Words: 1848
Pages: 8

Ryan Malloy CRJ 105
5/5/15 Caine
Term Paper: News Media and Law Enforcement In the world of law enforcement, there are not many elements that play a bigger role in how the job works than with the world of news media. While this may seem to be unexpected to some, it is by far the largest influence on how policies are enacted and also how the public will view the department as a whole. Without the constancy of 24 hour sensationalist journalism the public would only have the perception of their own local departments from interactions few and far between. However, with all the coverage that exists these days it is nearly impossible to be unaware of the actions of almost every police officer across the entire country. With eyes on these men and women at all times, it isn’t uncommon for mistakes to happen, and when they do, the media will make sure the world sees it. While it is known that not all cops are bad cops, there has grown a perception in the masses that there is a lot more bad apples in the bunch than most departments would like to let on. In light of such controversial events over in just this past year, the death of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, the list goes on and on. Now, while the media is not responsible for these events in any way, their coverage has allowed the public to create their perceptions of these events that they previously would not have had the chance to even know of. With the growth of digital media allowing information at the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger on a touch-screen, it is easier than ever to be informed on everything that is going on in the country, even the world. In 2011, the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism found that 34% of respondents read their news online while only 31% got this information from newspapers, marking the first time that internet news had outnumbered newspapers in the percentage of people receiving the information. (O'Dell) This information shows that a growing technological age is allowing easier and much more up-to-the-moment coverage of events in this time. With civil unrest going on currently in cities from Ferguson to Baltimore, the coverage has allowed the people of the country to see how police interact with an angry mob up close and personal as it happens like never before. With uneasy relations with the community, the media is pulling the strings as to how much pressure is put on the situation. Distrust is a common word when discussing the current situation between police departments and their constituents these days. A series of polls conducted by Reuters showed that the public does not overwhelmingly trust their police. On the question of whether or not Police officers routinely lie to serve their own interest only 43.8% disagreed, 30.9% agreed while 25.2% were unsure. While the majority did disagree, it wasn’t even over 50% showing that more than half of those polled in this case either believe or are unsure of whether or not the police would routinely lie to serve their own interests. Now while these results are disturbing there is a slightly more positive result yielded from the results; on the question of whether or not the responders trust police officers to be fair and just a slightly higher percentage agreed at 53.1% as compared to 27.6% disagreeing and 19.3% being unsure. Now while 53% is a slight majority, it isn’t much to brag about. (Schneider)Now while the media is not directly to blame for this distrust it does play a large part in the equation. This poll was conducted earlier this year during a lot of protests across the country receiving large media coverage, thus allowing certain perceptions to be informed in some eyes or swayed to others. Despite all the animosity they attempt to create, it is not uncommon for police and the media to have a cordial relationship with each other. It is not uncommon for local department heads to know media members by their first