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Sturken and Cartwright's Account of Ideological Considerations - Essay Example

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Your Name Prof’s Name Date Skin Tone, Guilt, and American Meida Time made headlines for all the wrong reasons during the era of the OJ Simpson trial through their questionable decision to darken the athlete/accused murderer’s skin tone. It has been argued by many, including Sturken and Cartwright (2001, pp…
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Sturken and Cartwrights Account of Ideological Considerations
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Download file to see previous pages Though films and television programs still use similar techniques as those from the OJ Simpson era, News Media at least must have gotten better, right? The question is both yes and no. In the recent Trayvon Martin scandal, than man that admitted to killing him, George Zimmerman, had many of his own pictures portrayed throughout the media. While media did not make the explicitly editorial decisions they made in the OJ Simpson case. This essay will not discuss the particulars of the horrible tragedy that occurred on the night that Trayvon Martin was killed, but rather the editorial choices that occurred in the portrayal of George Zimmerman. The choice of photographs used on television or news portrayals of the man, however, were chosen specifically to underline his supposed guilt or innocence. The most commonly used image of George Zimmerman, especially immediately after the tragedy, was a mug shot for an unrelated incident some days before, presented below. The choice to use this image immediately was somewhat understandable: mug shots are quite accessible to news media, and this would have been one of the only pictures available in the opening hours of the tragedy. Quickly, however, some other images began becoming available, including the one presented left. Both pictures represent George Zimmerman`s likeness fairly well, and they even have somewhat similar framing. Upon the second, and many other photo`s wide use in news media, however, the mug shot image continued to be used quite frequently. The choice of which photos to used represented an ideological slant on the case in fairly clear ways. The initial photograph of George Zimmerman is clearly identifiable as a mug shot taken by police during an investigation. There are very few other cases in which a subject would be framed so narrowly (as for an identification) on a white background with a flat, unsmiling face. Furthermore, and unofortunately for Zimmerman, he was wearing a particularly brightly colored orange shirt on the day that the photograph was taken. Orange is constantly used throughout American prisons as a way to identify prisoners should they escape, make them readily viewable from a distance if the correctional officer needs to see the, and so forth. An unsmiling face, as is used in a mug-shot, also frequently makes people look cold or mean, because there is a social more that people in photographs smile. Finally, the last aspect is the color of Zimmerman`s skin. Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, had parts of his skin look much darker because of the contrast from the glare on his cheeks, which also highlighted his black hair. As ironic as it is to racially profile a person accused of killing through racial profiling, many viewers probably connected Zimmerman`s ethnic heritage, especially in the context of a mug shot, with criminality, deviancy, violence or other social ills. Zimmerman`s second and other subsequent photos differ greatly. He is smiling, for one, and the frame of the photo is slightly wider, making it look more like a year book photo or something else. He is also much more nicely dressed, in a suit, and has a much more uniform skin tone, making it look less dark than in the mug shot. Gone is the probably villainous person who certainly got arrested and generally looks ``no good,`` ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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