After the taping of the Rodney King beating by Los Angeles law enforcement and the death of Princess Diana by paparazzi, the line between tabloid news and journalism became indistinguishable. Local resident, George Holliday, video taped the 81 second beating of Rodney King. After being dismissed by the local authorities, Holliday sold the tape to the local media, which circulated throughout news stations around the nation. The rising racial tensions among various ethnic groups led to the death of “23 people dead, 2,300 injured” and caused about one billion dollars in property damage, during the riots thereby invoking fear in society by offering a real time account of the events occurring thousands of miles away or in one’s backyard.
David Altheide argues that “the mass media in general, and especially the e...
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...tudents indiscriminately.” He states that it was the fist news story to produce accurate details, “and one of the last.”
The nineties brought forth reality television as a central entertainment medium, with news coverage creating societal fear and intrigue. Celebrities were broadcast as criminals and criminals became celebrities. The media, partially responsible for the notoriety of heinous events, placed the blame on the entertainment industry, which countered with media as the cause of the fear and intrigue of American society with the devastation caused by highly publicized events. The tear and blood stained images of Columbine, the mass destruction of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and the infamous white Bronco will forever reside in the minds Americans, placed deeply in the subconscious of all which witnessed the events through news coverage.
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