The Leopold and Loeb case of 1924 is nationally recognized to be the first of its kind. It was a crime committed by two wealthy teenage boys, Richard Leopold and Nathan Loeb, who committed murder with what seemed like no motive at all. This case was a catalyst for social interpretation as journalists played a major part in the discovery of details of the crime. Often time mixing fact with fiction, this case was talked about well beyond the years after it was laid to rest. Throughout the years there has been lots of speculation as to why Leopold and Loeb did what they did and many topics have been discussed; all the way from modern childhood to homosexuality. This case delved into every aspect of the boy’s lives and revealed new truths over time. The Leopold and Loeb case was never about the crime committed but more as how the journalists portrayed the boys in social media. Over time the case was interpreted as a sensationalist journey through an untypical crime that changed into a pop culture phenomenon that affected how crime and law is interpreted.
When the story of a kidnapped boy broke out on May 23, 1924 the mass media immediately began to develop a story about the crime. Journalists were major contributors to the solving of the crime. Two journalists, James Mulroy and Alvin Goldstein, won the Pulitzer Prize for their contributions. The journalists were the bases of public knowledge for the case and therefore had lots of power in influencing the public’s opinion. However because of this, journalist often crossed the line between fact and fiction. They used total coverage of this case—something they had never done before—and created a case with social interpretation and sensationalism. Any information they could get, t...
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...concept. During the trial women were locked out of the courthouse while the sexual relationship between the boys was discussed. Today, the sexuality of a person normally does not affect the public’s perception on a case.
Leopold and Loeb were just two boys who out of boredom and curiosity tried to create the perfect crime. Never did they believe the case would be as big as it got. The case brought on questions that affected popular culture as well as in law and in crime. The focus on the crime was more about the moral controversies instead of the crime itself, which led to an exploitation of the crime and the lives of Leopold and Loeb.
Fass, Paula S. "Making and Remaking an Event: The Leopold and Loeb Case in American Culture." The Journal of American History 80.3 (1993): 919-51. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.
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