Is news coverage harshest when a man commits a crime or when a woman does?

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Trick question:

This content analysis tested the chivalry hypothesis in 6 months of crime reporting in a local U.S. newspaper. The chivalry hypothesis posits that female criminals receive more lenient treatment in the criminal justice system and in news coverage of their crimes than their male counterparts. The study found partial support for the chivalry hypothesis and prompts a more nuanced formulation of the hypothesis-here termed patriarchal chivalry. This study also produced evidence that news coverage is harsher when men and women collaborate in crime than when men and women act independently of each other in criminal pursuit. The authors called it the Bonnie-and-Clyde effect.

Source: “Gender in Crime News: A Case Study Test of the Chivalry Hypothesis” from Mass Communication and Society, Volume 9, Issue 2, 2006, Pages 137 – 163

If you’re curious about this kind of stuff you really should read my post: You just committed murder. What should you do now? and check out the book Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate.

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