CRM 3312 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Thomas Theorem, Embryology, Easygroup
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Media Portrayals of Youth Deviance
Many people believe that journalists and reporters tell us exactly what is occurring during a
However, these individuals will often have their own biases and will alter reality when
describing the occurrences.
The media shapes how the consumers think and feel about certain behaviours.
Why does it matter how young people are represented in news stories about crime and
oPeople begin to think that what is the anomaly is actually the norm.
oThe Thomas Theorem: What people perceive as real is real in its consequences.
If we define other people as real, then this interpretation will cause action.
oThe media tends to focus on the negative.
This will make the public react and make them want more action from the
criminal justice system and the police.
The public will want judges handing down harsher sentences.
If this doesn’t occur, the criminal justice system will be seen as weak and
not doing their job.
How It All Begins
oExtent and seriousness of atypical episodes of “deviance” are exaggerated in mass
When this occurs, minor problems begin to seem more common.
The press only focuses on the sensationalized events.
oCreates increased interest and public concern.
oPressure on police, criminal justice agents, and politicians.
The public wants to see more resources put towards getting tough on crime.
Politicians will take this stance so that they will be elected.
oMore cases are reported (thus, increased media attention) and response by authorities
reinforces public fear.
oGives impression that the initial exaggeration was actually a true representation.
When reporting on a story, we don’t get the background information, information
that could paint a fuller picture.
Concern, Fueled by the Media Gives Rise To…
The moral panic: An intense feeling in a population about some issue that appears to threaten
the core values and wellbeing of society.
oYouth are often seen as the groups that are a threat.
oIt was believed that the nature of being young makes them susceptible to criminal
o“Reefer Madness”: A video that discusses drug addiction, focusing around marihuana.
Individuals would lure young people to smoke marihuana and demonstrated the
This film was financed by a church group.
It wanted to teach parents about the dangers of weed and to have them teach
their children to stay away from it.
Moral entrepreneurs: This is a group of people, a single person, or a formal organization that
attempt to enforce rules that are consistent with their own moral beliefs; they start the panic.
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