Misrepresentation of Crime in by US Politicians

Satisfactory Essays
The crime problem in the United States has historically been misstated

and exaggerated by bureaucrats and politicians. The intentions behind

these overstatements vary within each context but a common thread

emerges upon closer examination. As in any capitalist society, money

and material possession are the primary motivation that fuels society

and people. It could be argued that FBI director Louis Freeh made his

comments to the National Press Club in 1994 out of genuine concern for

the American people, but realistically the statement was made in an

effort to gather support and increase funding for law enforcement.

Following this statement and from increased pressure from politicians,

the Federal Crime Bill was ratified, and authorized the spending of

thirty billion dollars, primarily towards more police officers and

prisons. It also included many new punitive sanctions and the

expansion of the death penalty to more than fifty federal crimes.

Louis Freeh's politically correct and unapprised proclamation takes an

exceptionally narrow view of crime and its curtailment. Freeh chooses

to focus on the media, statistics, and ultimately public opinion as

his justification for increased funding. However he fails to realize

the influence of the media and statistics in molding public opinion

and the difference between public opinion and reality. Existing

individualistic theories such as rational choice theory help reinforce

Freeh's statement. The overstated crime problem, backed by a

capitalistic media and misinterpreted statistics has created a

punitive crime policy, which is further supported by individualistic

theories of crime. In this paper I will show how misreported

statistics and media focus on violent crimes shapes public opinion.

Then I will go on to demonstrate the role of individualistic theories

in supporting punitive crime control policies. Ultimately I look to

prove that the actions of the media and politicians are centered on

money and how crime is inherent to the American Dream . The media

never has been and probably never will be an accurate source for

criminology or criminal analysis. The sensationalist media depiction

of crime is almost always exaggerated and biased toward violent