Media Portrayal of the Media
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Media Portrayal of the Media
How the media portrays the mafia
Curated by Neena Zona
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My interviewee was a capo for the mob in the Westmoreland and part of Allegheny area.



1. Outside from what I can find in a source, what can you tell me about the mafia?

      Other than whats all ready known I dont feel comfortable talking about it.

2. How have laws changed as a result of mafia related crime?

      The RICO law (The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) was developed to stop organized racketeerring activity. The lottery which we used to run is now legal because the government taxes it.

3. How did the mafia come into power?

      The mafia in Italy all fled to America and lived together in their own community in order to not be taken advantage of and they set up their own laws for the people to live by.

4. Why do you think they mafia had so much power?

     We had so much power because their used to be loyalty and no one questioned the boss, everyone had a position. The power came into affect when the five families split up terriority and stopped fighting with each other. The bosses were low key and no one knew who was in the mob.

5. Many sources stated that the mafia does the same things that the government does. Do agree or disagree with this statement and why?

     I agree, the only difference between what we did and they do is that the governments is taxed, so they are making money. And if the government is making money its okay. We used to write numbers and now we have the lottery. We gambled and now there are casinos.

6. The media portryas the mafia to be all bad, what, if any, is the "good" in the mafia?      We looked out for the advancement of Italian immigrants, so we could get them out of the slums and enough money to raise a family.

7. In your opinion do you think the mafia will ever go completely go away? Explain.

      No, there will always be illegal activity. The hunger for power and money will keep the mafia going on one level or another.

8. How does the media distort the reality of the mafia?

     I think that they media protrays us as thugs when in reality  all the men that i have come in contact with  have been very intelligent men just working for the wrong side.

9. Did you know growing up you were in a mob family? How/When did you find out?

     No, I didnt know I was in a mob family, my dad died when I was 15 and at age 17 I started with some small mafia business. I didnt find out my dad had been involed untill I was 25 at a funeral from an distant family memeber.

10. How do you think historical events shaped the evolution of the mafia?

     Prohibition gave us an opportunity to make large amounts of money. That money was used to buy legitimate businesses, and we used it in Las Vegas where we made money with gambling. Gambling developments of Alantic city provided the opportunity to get involved with labor unions. A big one was the truckers union, if the truckers went on strike that meant that no one would be able to get anything, this held power. It gave us money and the power to paralyze America. This led to be able to control votes for politician which is where you get the real power from, when you can influence a political race.

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Italian American Stereotypes in the Media

Italian American Stereotypes in the Media | Media Portrayal of the Media |
Neena Zona's comment, March 17, 2013 10:40 PM
Even though there are endless negitive stereotypes about the mafia, we can find a couple positive ones. The movie "A Bronx Tale" shows some postive stereotypes. In this movie it shows that not very Italian American is in the mafia, and it shows how good theur family values are. The popular stereotypes that are positive about Italian Americans normally are that they are good cooks, romantics, good singers, and all about family.
Neena Zona's comment, March 18, 2013 10:54 PM
Now many new Tv shows have been made about the mafia that make a mockery out of what used to be one of the most feared group of men. Shows such as "Mob Wives" shows women whos fathers and husbands were in the mob. This is something that back when the mob was at its peak would never happen. You dont talk about your family ties with the mob unless you want someone coming after you. It shows them living big rich lifestyles from what tey got from mob money and truely misrepresents the mafia.
Tami Yaklich's comment, March 21, 2013 8:05 PM
Interesting info! I like this media portrayal angle in comparison to "real" mobs. 30/30
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"The Godfather" and the Mafia in Popular Culture

"The Godfather" and the Mafia in Popular Culture | Media Portrayal of the Media |
From Al Capone and Vito Corleone to John Gotti and Tony
Soprano, real-life and fictional mafiosos have captured the public imagination since the 1920s.
Neena Zona's comment, March 18, 2013 9:48 PM
The Godfather and The Sopranos were very impressive to the media because it described the mafia in such detail that the public had never seen. These two examples showed many Italian American families that both were in the mob, this upset some people. The Italian American Cival Rights League in 1970 put together a group to protest the Godfather to stop production. The National Italian American Foundation has tried many times to stop The Sopranos from continuing producing episodes.
Neena Zona's comment, March 18, 2013 10:12 PM
Prohibition started a new era of flim, This was the first time mafia films were started to show in the media.They were so popular at first because they were similar to the growing "anger and frustration" that many Americans had toward their economic situation during the Great Depression. The characters in this movies were based off of real life mobsters which made them even more appealing to the general public
Neena Zona's comment, March 18, 2013 10:47 PM
The mafia slipped a little out of the public eye and were replaced untill the senate held public hearings for mobsters that they televised. With new technology people could sit in their homes and watch real life mobsters instead of ficitional ones. Joseph Valachi, who was apart of the Luciano family, was very popular to watch. Valachi's testimony revealed the much new information about Italian American organized crime.