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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A great example of the lack of CJ knowledge by the media

In class and in the book, we talk about how media personnel are not informed about criminal justice. And this hurts their reporting about crime and criminal justice.

Here is an example from Fox News today:

  • Pitcher's Widow Outraged As Killer Draws a Walk

    Neal Evans, who murdered Atlanta Braves pitcher Dave Shotkoski in 1995, released from jail 10 years early 


    Gosh, that would be a tragedy if someone was released from JAIL 10 years early, because it would mean his sentence was negative 9 years.

    Because a jail sentence can be no longer than 1 year.

    Get it? 1 minus 10 = -9.

    Is there a difference between jail and prison?

    Clearly, the differences are many AND important. And any student in Introduction to Criminal Justice could tell you all about them.

    But not the media.

    Imagine the ignorance that is required to state not only that a murderer was released from jail early, but also to state he was sentenced to jail in the first place!

    Oh yeah, and notice the killer is black and the victim is white. Does that have anything to do with the outrage?

1 comment:

  1. The words jail and prison are often used interchangeably even though, as you stated, there are vast differences. I know from personal experience, that I was unaware of the differences until I took my first Intro to Criminal Justice class. Now, however, it seems like second nature to spot the difference between the two. I probably used the words interchangeably before a CJ classes because of what I was witness to through the media and other social interactions. Clearly, the media greatly affect the way in which people understand Criminal Justice. Furthermore, I'm sure the ethnicities of the victim and offender are cause for some of the commotion. The media has built up an image of the "ideal offender." Unfortunately, this usually translates into a male individual from a minority group. The media will play on this image to gain an audience. Society must realize the extent to which the media influence them, and the media should work to further their knowledge of Criminal Justice so that they don't continue to present misleading information to the public.