Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Public opinions of the courts: Does mass media influence public opinion?
by Barnes, Latarcia R., Ph.D., Capella University, 2014, 89; 3614483
Abstract (Summary)

The general public knows very little about the criminal justice system overall, which can result in an assorted, often negative, opinions of the criminal justice system. The public's confidence in the criminal justice system is imperative to the operation of the criminal justice system. Our criminal justice system relies on the participation from the community in order to work. One speculation as to why the public has a less than favorable opinion of the criminal justice system is that the system is viewed a mystery. The public has no idea how each component of the criminal justice system works because the majority of the public has had no direct contact with the criminal justice system. Most information obtained about the criminal justice system, the public gathered from what they hear and see from the media or from other people. Using secondary data from a national survey, this dissertation analyzed mass media, specifically TV news, newspapers, and TV judge programs, to determine these variables have an influence on the relationship of the courts and public opinion in the United States. This dissertation can be viewed as ground zero in terms of how the media began to influence the public's opinion of the criminal justice system, especially the court component. For this study, a quantitative approach using a descriptive survey design was used. It was determined that the respondents were not as influenced by mass media as anticipated. The findings of this study were more consistent with the international literature than domestic literature on this topic. This dissertation offers a better understanding of the connection between mass media, even without the more modern aspects of the media such as the internet, and the public's views of the courts. This dissertation presents valuable information for satisfaction with the courts and attitude toward the courts that has not been seen in the current literature on this subject. In conclusion, recommendations were provided offered to further advance the research in this area.

Indexing (document details)
School: Capella University
Department: School of Public Service Leadership
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Criminology
Keywords: Criminal justice system, Mass media, Media influence, Public opinion
Publication Number: 3614483
ISBN: 978-1-303-79815-3
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