Multifaceted Offenders and Minimization of Victims: U.S. National News Media Coverage of Offenders and Victims in Coverage of Filicide

Amy Baumann Grau 1 *

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp. 185-205

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There has been more discussion by and from the media in recent years over the issue of domestic violence, this has largely overlooked instances of fatal family violence. This project examines 340 cases of parents or stepparents who killed their children between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2013 and reported in the U.S. national news media. A content analysis of the news coverage identified themes of positive, negative, and sympathetic portrayals of offenders and victims as well as the minimization of victims. News coverage of offenders depicted them as multifaceted persons with details that could humanize or other offenders while victims were minimized with more focus on the harm done to them than the lives they led. As the focus on offenders occurred in conjunction with the minimization of victims, it is concluded that news media coverage is offender-centric and such media coverage needs to be more balanced in portrayals of victims and offenders to better address and respond to the issue of fatal family violence.

Keywords: Filicide, Family Violence, Media Portrayals, Victims, Victimization.