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Working for JusticeA Handbook of Prison Education and Activism$
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Stephen John Hartnett, Eleanor Novek, and Jennifer K. Wood

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037702

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037702.001.0001

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Challenging the Media-Incarceration Complex through Media Education

Challenging the Media-Incarceration Complex through Media Education

Chapter:
(p.141) Chapter 7 Challenging the Media-Incarceration Complex through Media Education
Source:
Working for Justice
Author(s):

Bill Yousman

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037702.003.0008

This chapter argues that the United States faces a crisis of representation, for while crime rates remain stable, the TV and other corporate-controlled mass media bury viewers beneath an avalanche of fear-based spectacles in which crime and violence are portrayed as escalating, even life-threatening crises. It then outlines a new program of media education that enables consumers of mass media to develop more informed and empowering views of the complexities of crime and violence. Focusing on prime-time dramatic television as the most prevalent source of fictional images of violence, crime, and incarceration, the chapter addresses the distorted narratives and images that saturate popular television dramas. Drawing upon interviews with ex-prisoners, it also shows how media representations of imprisonment, though inaccurate and misleading, shape the perceptions even of those who have themselves been incarcerated.

Keywords:   misleading representation, mass media, fear, crime, violence, incarceration, distorted narratives, television dramas, imprisonment

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