Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Relationship between the Police and Media

                Is the media coverage too hard or too soft on the police?  Police criticize the media for focusing on the negative aspects of their work, while critics of the police claim the media overlooks many police foibles they should be exposing to the public.   With that said the attitude of the media towards the police is an ambivalent one.   The media rarely features news stories on the police as heroic figures, who selflessly give themselves to protect the public.   Though the media does glamorize police work, and make it appear to be exciting.   As most of us know police work can be unexciting at times with moments of exciting action, then back to the routine patrol.   The media also looks upon the police with suspicion largely as a response to the police’s legal mandate to use force, halt citizen actions, and place persons under arrest.  When deviant acts are committed by the police, it makes the headlines.  Police misconduct make great stories for media, it sales papers, gets hits on the internet and overall it makes the media money which is what they want.   Now we all can agree on that police misconduct and police scandals should be brought in the light and be resolved.   The relationship between the police and media has changed over the last 20 years.  The police treat the media more like a public relations extension rather than an adversary.  Also individual officers receive training on how to interact with the media.  Maybe in next 20 years police and media relations will improve even more, only time will tell.  At the beginning of the post I asked a question, now I’d like you to answer it.  Is the media coverage too hard or too soft on the police? 


  1. This is a very interesting article that asks a tough question. I do not think that there is a black and white answer for this. On one hand we do see the media OVER-cover the delinquent acts that some crooked cops do which puts a cloud over their 'defenders of society' status. But who is to say that the media and the police don't hide some dirty laundry from the public, so that people can go on with their everyday lives without worry.

    To play devils advocate, the media also puts the police in a good light from time to time. We see this on the news when a police officer saves a child's life or receives an honorable mention.

    The thing that bothers me the most about this article is that the media fully supports fire fighters, the military, EMTs, and every other occupation that helps people in society except for police officers. Everyone else is put atop a pedestal, but the police is not. Why not?

  2. The media is too hard on the police. Citizens do not fully understand the complexity of police work and their judgements are without full evidence. Law and Order and CSI are the most visible media outlets for daily police work and they obviously do not give a real sense of the job. The media is quick to jump on bad police work or questionable police behavior but you have to dig to find many examples of positive police work. This is simply unfair.