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Tabloid Justice: Criminal Justice in an Age of Media Frenzy, 2nd Edition

Richard L. Fox, Robert W. Van Sickel, and Thomas L. Steiger
Tabloid Justice: Criminal Justice in an Age of Media Frenzy, 2nd Edition
ISBN: 978-1-58826-532-6
2007/251 pages/LC: 2006103367

"An important contribution.... Provides some interesting insights into an important topic related to media and crime issues."—Steven Chermak, Contemporary Sociology

"Given the sad and declining state of press and television news, this is important reading.”—Chris Sterling, Communication Booknotes Quarterly

Praise for the first edition:

"A much needed exploration into media coverage and audience reaction to high-profile criminal cases.... Clearly written and accessible."—Diana Owen, Political Science Quarterly

"A timely, provocative, and data-rich study."—Scott L. Althaus, Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics

"A very useful primer on the 'tabloidization' of news.... The authors' statistical evidence is accessible and convincing." —Thomas Shevory, Law and Politics Book Review


This new edition of Tabloid Justice reveals that, although the media focus on high-profile criminal trials is thought by many to have diminished in the years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the polarized, partisan coverage of these trials has in fact continued unabated. The authors investigate the profoundly negative impact of the media's coverage of the criminal justice system—coverage that frequently highlights and aggravates the deepest divisions in US society.

Features of the new edition include results of a recent national poll, richer demographic data, and discussion of the Internet's rising significance. Thorough analysis of recent tabloid cases (featuring Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson, Terri Schiavo, Scott Peterson, and Martha Stewart) provides a contemporary window on the tactics of a media driven by profit to the detriment of political and legal principles.


Richard L. Fox is associate professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University. He is coauthor of It Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office (with Jennifer Lawless). Robert W. Van Sickel is director of the legal studies program at Indiana State University. He is author of Not a Particularly Different Voice: The Jurisprudence of Sandra Day O'Connor. Thomas L. Steiger is professor of sociology at Indiana State University. His publications include Life's Social Journey (with Diana Grimes) and Rethinking the Labor Process (coedited with Peter Meiksins).


  • Introduction: A Time of Tabloid Justice.
  • Looking for This Week's "Trial of the Century."
  • The Mainstream Media Go Tabloid.
  • Tabloid Justice and the Evolution of New Media.
  • Public Opinion, Trial Coverage, and Faith in the Criminal Justice System.
  • Race, Gender, Class, and Tabloid Justice.
  • Is There Any Escape from Tabloid Justice?