Policing the Media: Street Cops and Public Perceptions of Law Enforcement

By Olson, Kathleen K. | Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Summer 2001 | Go to article overview

Policing the Media: Street Cops and Public Perceptions of Law Enforcement


Olson, Kathleen K., Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly


Policing the Media: Street Cops and Public Perceptions of Law Enforcement. David D. Perlmutter.Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2000. 160 pp. $74.95 hbk. $22.95 pbk.

It is no surprise that Americans' views of the police are shaped by the media. While most of us have grown up watching police shows on television, relatively few have had frequent or sustained contact with real-life cops. Just as scholars have shown regarding other groups, Perlmutter in Policing the Media demonstrates that the public's media-fueled perceptions do not accurately reflect the reality of police work.

What makes Policing the Media unique, however, is Perlmutter's focus on the cops' own relationship to the interaction between "mediated reality" and the reality of their day-to-day work. In essence, he examines the cops both as subjects of the media and as the audience of their own mediated images.

The book is based on an extensive ethnography of the police department in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Perlmutter accompanied patrol officers for three years, observing, taking notes, and photographing the cops as they went about their duties. Eventually he expanded his participant observation by becoming a reserve police officer on the force. The result is a captivating look at the real-life demands on a small city police force as they struggle to negotiate the stereotypes, both good and bad, that the media create. Cops are very aware of the media messages that are sent, but as Perlmutter explains, awareness is not liberation. The police live in the same "media stream" as the rest of us and are not immune to its currents.

While cops complain that people expect them to be like their counterparts on TV, they have internalized many of those values themselves. When Perlmutter attempted to photograph them, for example, they assumed he would be interested only in "action shots" and were embarrassed to be photographed doing paperwork or other mundane tasks.

This ambivalence toward their media image reflects the double-edged sword it represents in their daily life. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Policing the Media: Street Cops and Public Perceptions of Law Enforcement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.