9780761911050

Policing the Media : Street Cops and Public Perceptions of Law Enforcement

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780761911050

  • ISBN10:

    0761911057

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2000-02-15
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc
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Summary

Policing the Media is an investigation into one of the paradoxes of the mass media age. Issues, events, and people that we see most on our television screens are often those that we understand the least. David Perlmutter examined this issue as it relates to one of the most frequently portrayed groups of people on television: police officers. Policing the Media is a report on the ethnography of a police department, derived from the author's experience riding on patrol with officers and joining the department as a reserve policeman. Drawing upon interviews, Perlmutter describes the lives and philosophies of street patrol officers. He finds that cops hold ambiguous attitudes toward their television characters, for much of TV copland is fantastic and unrealistic. Moreover, the officers perceive that the public's attitudes toward law enforcement and crime are directly influenced by mass media. This in turn, he suggests, influences the way that they themselves behave and perform on the street, and that unreal and surreal expectations of them are propagated by television cop shows. This cycle of perceptual influence may itself profoundly impact the contemporary criminal justice system, on the street, in the courts, and in the hearts and minds of ordinary people.

Table of Contents

Foreword vii
Preface ix
Acknowledgments xvi
Viewing and Picturing Cops
1(20)
Looking Back Through the Viewfinder
2(4)
Wanting Something to ``Happen''
6(2)
``Here's a Good Shot''
8(6)
``They'll Think We're Boring''
14(7)
All the Street's a Stage
21(12)
The Dramaturgical Metaphor
21(5)
Approaching Cops as Viewers
26(4)
The Fog of the Street
30(3)
Prime-Time Crime and Street Perceptions
33(21)
Televisual Content
34(5)
Street Perceptions: Police Responses to the Screen
39(15)
Ethnography and Police Work
54(9)
Observing the Street Cop
54(9)
Front Stage and Back Stage
63(36)
The Front Stage
64(6)
The Back Stage
70(17)
Star Power and Control
87(4)
Failed Expectations and Value Judgments
91(8)
The (Real) Mean World
99(22)
In the Same Boat
99(3)
Everyone Is Innocent
102(4)
No Respect From the Audience
106(4)
The System Is Against Them: Statistics as Bullshit
110(5)
Tales of Decline
115(3)
Conclusions: Rebels Against the Public?
118(3)
Real Cops and Mediated Cops: Can They ``Get Along''?
121(12)
Perceptions as Effects
122(5)
The Struggle Continues
127(6)
Appendix 133(16)
References 149(9)
Index 158(2)
About the Author 160

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