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    Media Depiction of the Police

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    Often, the media's portrayal of police officers have them using force and deception to apprehend suspects and obtain confessions.
    •Analyze and explain whether this is a true depiction of how real police officers work.
    •Analyze and explain how much of what you see on television and films is lawful, accurate, and ethical.
    •Examine whether the police are ever portrayed by the media as peace officers, or as using nonviolent methods to solve crime.
    •What is the relationship between excessive media viewing and the fear of crime? Is an increased fear of crime a natural response to violence, brutality, and injustice being broadcast to our homes on a daily basis? Why or why not?
    •Many police dramas now include reenactments of crimes. Does this mislead viewers into believing that such things actually happened? Does the media's interpretation of facts bias the perceptions of the public about the effectiveness of law enforcement officers?

    Acting under the public's right to know and to prevent the abuse of power by the government, media representatives often report information regardless of what law enforcement officials want. Law enforcement officials do not always want some matters reported to the public. This is often done to protect the integrity of an ongoing investigation or to avoid embarrassment to their departments. However, these same law enforcement officials often use the news media to present their position on a particular incident or issue. Media representatives have ethical obligations to not intentionally present false information to the public.
    •Analyze and explain whether the law enforcement officials are under any similar ethical obligation to not intentionally present false information to the media.
    •Should law enforcement be able to block a media inquiry into police activities in some cases because of the belief that the use of deception is for a greater good such as for an undercover drug operation?
    •Suspected criminals do not always have a right to expect the truth from law enforcement, but do citizens have a right to expect the truth at all times from all public officials, including law enforcement? Analyze and explain

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    Solution Preview

    Often, the media's portrayal of police officers have them using force and deception to apprehend suspects and obtain confessions.
    •Analyze and explain whether this is a true depiction of how real police officers work.

    First and foremost, not "all" television portrayals of policing include the use of force to subdue suspects as many iconic shows throughout the history of television that have depicted cops have not used this form of entertainment. Nevertheless, any television depiction of any life event will not be a "true depiction" in its truest form as television is simply entertainment that mimics life but could never be construed as real by anyone. With this said, there are similarities that exist between the depictions that are shown on television in some regards to how policing occurs, but these are only partially accurate because of the actual time that it takes to solve crimes as well as the high rate of crimes that are never solved by police. Therefore, the television series that runs for one hour that always solves a case is not a real depiction of any actual police organization.

    Some similarities that could exist entail how investigations are conducted, witnesses' interviewed, suspects interviewed, and other investigative techniques. These are usually accurate portrayals of how police gather evidence, follow leads, and other vital areas of policing, but they're done in unrealistic timeframes to ensure that the "fantasy show" is able to honor its time slot as well as adhere to its commercial sponsors.

    •Analyze and explain how much of what you see on television and films is lawful, accurate, and ethical.

    Much of what is seen on television is not accurate, ethical, or lawful as television is not mandated to adhere to any of these standards. Therefore, television is a fictionalized version of policing that should not be interpreted as accurate in any sense of the real world, but there are similarities such as those I mentioned in the aforementioned paragraph. An actual show that follows real "cops" live such as "Cops" or "The First 48" does represent lawful, accurate, and ethical television shows as these represent real police who are followed live by television crews.

    •Examine whether the ...

    Solution Summary

    Media Depiction of the Police is examined.

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