[ARTS OPINION] Is true crime in the media ethical?


Fair Use Image: YouTube Screen Capture

CRIMINALLY ENTERTAINING. True crime media has been on the rise in popularity, taking many forms such as videos, documentaries, and podcasts. For example, YouTuber Bailey Sarian is known for her videos discussing true crime murder cases while doing her makeup.

Stories of crime have always taken the media by storm. As long as news has been around, crime has been reported on. True crime is defined as an illegal act someone can be punished for put in a form of media. But, in recent years, crime has been reported on by more people than just the professionals, mostly focusing on murder.
Although consuming true crime media is not inherently wrong or strange, many of the places it comes from can be unreliable. True crime is presented in many different forms, including podcasts, videos and articles. So, with modern age access to make and consume all those pieces of media, virtually anyone can add their opinion.
Many YouTube channels and podcasts have been made by true crime lovers, but that does not necessarily make their reporting accurate or ethical. Because these pieces of media have been made by people with no training, many of the facts can get muddled and opinions are presented as reality.
Various producers of true crime media have been seen as making fun of the victims, glamorizing the killers, or theatricalizing the crime. Some people feel as though making money off of true crime content is like profiting off the victim’s murder.
For example, a couple of JonBenét Ramsey documentaries have been criticized by viewers for being used as a tool by her family to get more publicity and money. They think it’s an inappropriate use of media for such a tragic case.

Although consuming true crime media is not inherently wrong or strange, many of the places it comes from can be unreliable.

On the other hand, many people see having this new wave of true crime as a good, educational thing. It provides more access to lesser talked about stories in the news or more than one way to view a crime scene. Having crime content be more widely available also gets the word out about cases slipping through the cracks (like in the case of Luka Magnotta), which helps keep the people alert in finding missing killers or victims.
It would be hard to get people to stop making content on true crime, and there isn’t going to be any widespread law on this type of media anytime soon. So, in the end, it’s best for people to do true crime research on their own to double-check the validity of the facts presented through trusted news sites or court documents. It’s important to not take every bit of information as the truth, and to use fact-checking abilities before coming to assumptions about serious matters like true crime, where lives may quite literally be at stake.