Media's Role In The Criminal Justice System

Our criminal justice system is deemed unsound due to effects the media has on the public. For instance, the debate on capital punishment has been around since the beginning of time, although it truly became misconstrued when media coverage became widespread. The media wields a tremendous amount of influence in our society through newspapers, televisions, computers, and other outlets (Media Influence in Capital Cases). Once news such as this became available at our finger tips, you started to see a shift in opinion throughout the nation, especially in court rooms, statistics, and politics which has a lasting effect on legislation.
The more the media grows, the more they are scrutinized for their influence on values and understanding. Even though
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The media realized this and used it as an opportunity to change reporting tactics and see how public opinion shifted over time. For example, the death penalty used to be discussed due to cost and constitutionality, now the media is focusing on the possibility of innocence, the morality, and the effectiveness. This shift in the way the media covers capital punishment forces Americans to reevaluate their stance and could be why although many Americans still agree with the death penalty, the number is decreasing. Studies done by multiple political scientists found that news coverage of the death penalty mainly focused on exonerations and wrongful executions (Hayes). In fact, in 2009, the average amount of stories of someone who was exonerated from death row was thirteen times more than those in the pre-innocence frame era (Lenz, Holman “The Media, Government, and Politics”). The innocence argument in my opinion has gained coverage so quickly and on such a large scale because of how compelling it is. Even the staunchest death penalty supporters must agree that executing someone for a crime they didn’t commit is unjustifiable. As long as the “innocence frame” remains a part of the debate and a sensationalized topic by the media, Americans acceptance towards the death penalty will continue to decrease

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