Essay about Media Reporting And Its Effects On Society

1455 Words 6 Pages
Moral panic is "a feeling of fear spread among a large number of people that some evil threatens the well-being of society" (Dictionary.com). The process of heightening and blowing out of proportion is a common conceptualization in media reporting used to incite fear and portray crime in a lurid light. This ideology of sensationalistic crime reporting began in the 18th century with fictional horror stories. The avid interests of readers and deepened emotional language provoked the language of myth and stereotypes. The use of sensationalistic media reporting is ever more evident in 2016. The disproportionality in crime reporting has led to numerous moral panics. Each incident suggests we are living in a dangerous world, one where the criminal justice system is inadequate, one where conventional police forces simply do not work, and one where the judicial system is incapable of providing justice. This symbol of societal decay suggests that the government has lost control and has failed to solve the deeper societal issues of economic and social tensions.

The presence of a moral panic requires two key players: "moral guardians" and "folk devils". The "moral guardians" of society i.e. politicians, experts, and powerful figures swoop in at times of desperation, tension, and turmoil; they then offer advice, legislative solutions, and influence societal changes that at the time seem to be a "logical consensus". The "folk devils" are the stereotypical boogie men created in the…

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