The unreality of "reality-based" policing: American television, images of crime and law enforcement.

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Title: The unreality of "reality-based" policing: American television, images of crime and law enforcement.
Authors: Irving, Mark H.
Date: 1998
Abstract: The American television show COPS has been the precursor for what is rapidly becoming an expanding form of popular television programming. This quasi-documentary-styled television show contains a combination of both news and entertainment formats. The main purpose of this thesis is to assess the degree to which this so-called "reality-based" television police program reflects "real-life" or typical representations of crime and police work in the United States. This study critically examines and draws attention to the many biases, stereotypes, inaccuracies, and distortions contained in "reality-based" television depictions of crime and policing. The study is based on a media content analysis of thirty-six episodes of COPS, airing over a period of six months during 1993. Official crime statistics serve as the primary benchmark for comparison to the television episodes. Likewise, the television results are compared with the findings of selected academic studies. The analysis probes several key areas including: the types of crime portrayed on television; the manner in which police work is depicted; the racial and gender make-up of police officers, suspects, and victims appearing on the program; solution or clearance rates for television crimes. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/4264
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-10172
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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