Economic Conditions and Ideologies of Crime in the Media: A Content Analysis of Crime News

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Study Citation and Title

The article’s title is “Economic Conditions and Ideologies of Crime in the Media: A Content Analysis of Crime News. The study is about the relationship between the current conditions of the country’s political economy and the way the media portrays these crimes. The main basis of the study is the method by which Time Magazine had covered, analyzed, and featured the crimes committed in the U.S during the post-World War II era. It was argued that the magazine had provided the public with a distorted and highly inadequate picture of crime in the country in favor of the capitalist political economy.

The paper aims to prove that the said news magazine distorts or frames the country’s crime rate and the realities surrounding it, including the government’s crime control methods, in certain ways that support the higher institutions of authority and power functioning within the country.

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Methodological Technique Used

To support the study, the paper used certain methodologies. Intensive content analysis of articles and stories about crime, crime rate, criminals, and the entire criminal justice system of the United States in general, which appeared in Time magazine during the post-World War II era, was conducted. The study was focused on five different years namely 1953, 1958, 1975, 1979, and 1982.

During these sample years, the number of articles to be examined is proportion with a number of dependent variables, including the annual employment rate and crime rate within the respective year. For one thing, the annual employment rate was specifically included in the study to further show whether it has something or nothing to do with the content of the articles examined. Generally, the two basic types of crime analyzed by the paper were classified as violent or non-violent crimes.


The mugging in London during the early 1970s had been the trigger point of the study. That particular event had shown the direct relationship of media representation, as far as the rampant mugging is concerned, with the hegemonic and economic crises within the same society.

This alone had shown the possible ideological concept that media representation is bound to follow. This hypothesis in turn, was tested in the United States. It has then become this paper’s position that the media is in fact prone to distorting the instances of crime committed within the society in such a way it would support of the many interests of the capitalists.

Research Question

The main research question of the paper was this: “Do the media accounts about the crimes in the U.S. were highly misrepresented in such a way it evidently supports the interests of the dominant class of the society?” The paper also aims to find out whether the ideological media representation of crimes changes if and when the conditions in the political economy were also to be changed.

Main Hypothesis Tested

The paper tackles three main hypotheses. The first of which was the significant disparity between the proportion of news articles that are related to crime, especially those crimes that were violent in nature, against the percentage that were known to the police. The crimes reported over the media were considerably higher in percentage than the ones that were rightfully reported to the police.

The second hypothesis tested was regarding the proportion of articles that deals with certain crimes of violence being greater during the years wherein the country was experiencing relatively high unemployment rate. It was found out that during low-unemployment years, there were lower news about crimes in the media.

The last hypothesis was about the proportion of articles of crime during the period of stagnation and expansion. More articles about crimes of violence were printed during the former when compared to the latter.

Main independent variable(s)

The annual unemployment rate for the specified years, more specifically during the long periods of expansion and stagnation, were the independent variables. The paper seeks to find out whether the unemployment rate of the given year has something to do with the number of articles being printed on the magazine that were basically about violent crimes during the post-World War II period. It was found out that the number of articles about crime increased from 13 in 1953 to 62 in 1982.

The crime rates during the given years are also a part of the independent variable group. Between 1979 and 1982, there was a 1% increase in the actual crime rate in the society, but there was a 55% increase in the number of printed articles about crime in Time magazine.

Main dependent variable(s)

The study has produced several dependent variables. The main dependent variables in the study were the number of articles and the particular years when the said articles were printed. There were a certain number of article samples selected for each year. In the five years that the paper had selected to study, certain articles were evaluated. The number of articles printed in each year varies according to the independent variables such as unemployment rate, years of expansion and stagnation, and crime rate.

Specifically, these were the percentage of articles produced for every sample year given certain parameters and the average frequencies of crime news articles for the specific years with high employment rate and during the long periods of expansion and stagnation. Another dependent variable would be the increase of the number of articles for a given year in relation to the crime rate of the same period.

Unit of Analysis

The unit of analysis of this paper is the impact of each article printed on Time magazine in relevance to the dominant classes of the society. The paper aims to explain the relationship between these two entities and it had worked to answer the questions that were presented earlier on.


The paper is about the articles about crime in the U.S. appearing in Time magazine during the post-World War II period. Specific entries in the article such as the type of crime and the characteristics of the offenders also play a very important role. The paper was able to conclude later on about the role that media play in racial discrimination. A link has been discovered between colored offenders and the crimes being blamed on them as committed in the society.

Cite this page

Economic Conditions and Ideologies of Crime in the Media: A Content Analysis of Crime News. (2016, Jul 26). Retrieved from

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