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The Inaccurate Media Portrayal of Criminals

Faith Andrews

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It’s been nearly 46 years since cult leader, Charles Manson, was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the murders committed by his loyal followers who called themselves The Manson Family. The Manson Family gained national infamy following their brutal killing of actress Sharon Tate and five others in 1969.

On November 19, of this year, after a long sentence, Manson finally passed away. While many rejoiced on this day I couldn’t help but notice peculiar headlines about Manson. Headlines speaking of him in a humanizing manner. Some headlines read: “The Human Side of Manson” or “Manson’s grandson: ‘He was a kind man.’”

This is a bad habit our media has developed. Recently, it seems as if any time a mass shooting, a murder, a rape, or any other egregious crime is committed by a white male or female, media likes to add a positive twist to his or her story. This is something we have become all to accustomed to as a society. Clickbait or not, this is something we have to put a stop to and fast.

I consider myself extremely tech savvy. I enjoy twitter and other social media outlets just as much as the rest of you all, but what bothers me about these platforms are the blatant racism we are exposed to. Over the past few years there has been a pattern of media outlets normalizing white criminals and putting down black victims.

For example, Amy Bishop, who pled guilty to the murder of three colleagues was described as “brilliant”, while Trayvon Martin, who was defenselessly shot by George Zimmerman, was described as a “troublemaker” who was often suspended from school. The list of contrasting portrayals goes on longer than one can imagine. White criminals are too often described in an extremely positive light, while black victims will have their names dragged through the mud.

This inaccurate interpretation of black people, victims or not, has to stop. Although it does not happen all the time, it happens all too frequently to be looked over. We, as a society, have to look at the bigger picture. Whether we want to admit it or not, we have children as young as three learning these thoughts and beliefs. If we want to see a change, we have to start at a micro level. Media will always be apart of our lives, but it is up to us what media content we choose to support and expose the next generation to.

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The Inaccurate Media Portrayal of Criminals