The answer to that is no; but that being said, the media does manipulate a lot in these cases. Take the Ted Bundy case for example. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was made into a hero-celebrity despite the awful things he had done. The media on the one hand described him as an evil person but on the other hand let him appear very charming. In this way serial killers for example are often made into heroes by the media. This, however, will not affect their punishment. They will often get punished anyway. However, it is quite disturbing that the media elevates violence to something very interesting and something one might do to become famous.
However, that does not mean the media dictates anything. Anyone is able to have their own opinion. Is the media highly manipulative and selective? Yes, it is. But as a viewer or reader, one is still able to have an opinion about the matter that is not the same as the media. To take the Bundy case again as an example. Bundy was convicted on the basis of the evidence not on the basis of media. It was sure he was guilty because the evidence said so. However, there might be other cases where someone is not guilty and the media thinks that person is guilty. This is of course a problem.
Clearly someone should be protected from being made guilty by the media because it is not up to the media to say whether someone is guilty or not. However, all of this does not mean that the media is able to dictate anything. It is able to manipulate, or at least try to manipulate, but to dictate it is not able to in a free society. Perhaps in a totalitarian state it would be possible but in the free world people have access to many different angles on a case and can pretty much make up one’s own opinion about a case.
Ted Bundy was definitely manipulated into seeming like a hero which is quite repulsive given what he did and similar cases have also seemed to portray serial killers as interesting people when they are in fact very sad and dark losers. However, there is a good story in portraying these people as interesting anti-heroes and usually the public will become fascinated with cases like that. But that does not mean the serial killer escapes justice. He will be punished anyway regardless of the media coverage or what public opinion is.