Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

Subject Area

Sociology

Description

I analyzed how media’s discussion of a legal case altered the public’s perceptions of the U.S. legal system. The purpose of this study was to see if the media’s coverage of legal cases influences how the public views the legal system. It was hypothesized that the format media presents a legal case in alters how people view the legal system and that it most often leads to a negative perception. In this research, a documentary about a case, 30 online news articles discussing the case, and 197 public reactions to the case and the legal system were analyzed. I use the Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey cases from the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer to examine the legal implications of the media. It was found that the public’s perception followed the same patterns as online news media, and the biggest category discussed was a generalization of the legal system. It was also found that the public applied their negative opinion of the case to the legal system. Through referencing the validity of the legal system, the public’s perception shows a statement that the legal system is not a fully legitimate order.

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Making a Murderer: How Media Influences the Legitimacy of the Legal System

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

I analyzed how media’s discussion of a legal case altered the public’s perceptions of the U.S. legal system. The purpose of this study was to see if the media’s coverage of legal cases influences how the public views the legal system. It was hypothesized that the format media presents a legal case in alters how people view the legal system and that it most often leads to a negative perception. In this research, a documentary about a case, 30 online news articles discussing the case, and 197 public reactions to the case and the legal system were analyzed. I use the Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey cases from the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer to examine the legal implications of the media. It was found that the public’s perception followed the same patterns as online news media, and the biggest category discussed was a generalization of the legal system. It was also found that the public applied their negative opinion of the case to the legal system. Through referencing the validity of the legal system, the public’s perception shows a statement that the legal system is not a fully legitimate order.

 

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