Monday, October 29, 2007

What Caused Media Tampering?

The heart of the problem with media tampering is the endless amount of rights the media is given and the conflicting ideas presented in each. Much of the debate surrounding media access to cases originates from various interpretations of the first Amendment to the United States Constitution. What truly constitutes freedom of press? Is the press permitted unlimited access to a case and allowed to report it however they choose? Halquist v. Department of Corrections, Holden v. Minnesota, Garrett v. Estelle, and KQED, Inc. v. Vasquez are all case that have debated the extent to which the media should be able to view executions or court cases. Without a clear set of guidelines and regulations, the media will continue to raid court rooms across the country and interpret the case how they choose.Part of the problem also resides in the public itself. Modern society has become so accustomed to drama and suspense filled stories that they refuse to acknowledge anything that is mundane. This places pressure on the media to spin stories and place a hook to everything that they report. It is not wrong for the media to report stories about the case, but slander of court cases is a crime in itself. The constant exposure by media establishes a fear for crime and through its reports creates a false image that capital punishment is the sole solution.
Many believe that limiting media’s access to cases prevents their influence on public opinion, but I feel that it encourages ignorance and assumption which is far more dangerous. The media often informs the public of cases and sparks public demonstrations for or against the case. If the media were not present, public opinion of the issue would diminish from society.
The solution to media tampering involves change in many aspects of how the case is presented to the public. We cannot prevent the public from being influenced by the media because it has become a critical aspect of life. The only way to help this problem is to ensure that credible information is being released to the public. In an ideal world it may be possible to balance the amount of information the media is given and ensure that it was received from sources such as a court transcript that are not meant to be biased toward the case. However, in reality eliminating bias from society is a task that is not plausible. Everyone has different opinions about issues, and no matter how hard one tries it is not possible of eliminating their bias from their thoughts or opinion completely.
The only viable solution to this problem is to ban pre-trial media. Pre-trial media reporting is a huge problem that affects how jurors view members of the case even before they come to stand. This should not be the case. In order to truly administer a speedy and fair trial under the judicial system, information given to jurors should only come from the case itself, not an outside source such as the media. Though eliminating pre-trial media reports may prevent the public from knowing about a case immediately, it protects those involved in the case. In the long run this solution will help create a more professional role for the media in court cases.


hanghang said...

I don’t believe that you can take bias out of the media. Even the news, meant to be credible and unbiased, misleads the public into false preconceptions whether by the personal tone of the broadcaster or in just the way a person perceives the information given. The majority of the time, there is a balance of information available; the public just chooses to believe the more salacious news. The media’s access to case information has been influential in exposing judicial malpractice such as the Jena Six or West Memphis; however, it has also contributed to courtroom circuses such as O.J. Simpson or Kobe Bryant. Even by releasing credible information for the media to publish, there is no way to secure that they will do so without bias.

katiegane said...

Media tampering is a debatable issue due to the fundamental principle in the First Amendment of Freedom of the Press. I do not think it is right for the media to have access to personal matters such as execution. Despite the fact that the media may be trying to inform the public, society should not want to watch such a gruesome procedure take place. This issue seems like it should be entailed in one’s right to privacy. While regulations on media accessibility may encourage ignorance due to the lack of information available, does it not also encourage one to be able to form their own opinions on issues without a media bias presentation of data? Does the public’s increased interested in the dramatic aspects of society not force the media to distort information to make it more attractive and appealing to viewers? How do you control media access without infringing on basic First Amendment rights?

Imran said...

It would be very difficult to remove all bias from today's media; however, it is noble idea that I do agree with. The problem is definitely the current deterioration of true, balanced news reporting. Channels have resorted to sensationalism to outdo one another. This ratings battle has tarnished the idea of proper news. It is almost impossible to watch or read a balanced report. There are plenty of recent events the media has blown rumors and situations way out of proportion only to find out that they were mistaken. We need to hold reporters and news channels responsible for the information the put out.

C. Ronaldo said...

I agree that society's desire for suspense sotories is what helps fuel media stories. But it isn't also true that the media will always be biased and that it each individuals decision to decide if they will beleive the media? Many times I feel the media is putting their pwn spin on cases and that they put the facts in their point of view. This seems to tell me that it is only their point of view and not really the true story. I beleive that the media should have continued access to courtroom since I think it is important to know the actual facts that go on in csaes. I think it is also important that we approach reading media stories as ubiased and with an objective point of view.

Madison said...

I think it would be impossible to take the bias out of the media, and we should not strive to do so. The First Amendment basically guarantees this bias as one of the fundamental ideals of our country. I also agree with the fact that the public is causing some of the problem. They believe what they want to believe, even if there is a balance of information given. Furthermore, what they want to believe is ususally the more sensationalized and done-up version of the story.