Moral panics are defined in a dictionary as a “mass emotional reaction to something (…) that is believed to endanger society.” In this article, we explore the concept of moral panics and examine how they’re used by mass media. We also discuss the pros and cons of this tactic, as well as how it can sometimes backfire on those who use it.
What is a Moral Panic?
A moral panic is defined as an exaggerated fear, often based on irrational or exaggerated perceptions, of a threat to the moral order. Moral panics can be stoked by the media, politicians, or other special interest groups in order to maintain power or control over a population. In recent years, moral panics have been used to keep media audiences in check and to silence dissent.
Moral panics often target minority groups or vulnerable populations. They are used to justify discrimination and violence against these groups, and to maintain the status quo. For example, Muslims have been target of moral panics in the Western world since 9/11. These panics have been used to justify the War on Terror, mass surveillance, and other policies that discriminate against Muslims.
Moral panics can also be used to silence dissenting voices and to stifle debate. For example, the #MeToo movement has been met with backlash from those who claim it is a moral panic that is out of control. This backlash has been used to silence victims of sexual harassment and assault, and to protect perpetrators.
Moral panics are often based on misinformation or fear-mongering. They can have serious consequences for those targeted by them. It
The Origins of Moral Panics
A moral panic is defined as an intense feeling of fear or anxiety that is triggered by the perception of a threat to the moral order. The term was first coined by sociologist Stanley Cohen in his 1971 book Folk Devils and Moral Panics, in which he studied the media’s role in creating and perpetuating moral panics.
Moral panics typically involve the exaggerated or sensationalized portrayal of a minority group as a danger to society. This depiction often leads to public outcry and calls for action, such as increased surveillance or stricter laws. In many cases, the target of a moral panic is already marginalized and vulnerable, and the panic only serves to further marginalize and demonize them.
There is no single cause of moral panics, but they often arise in response to real or perceived threats to social cohesion. Economic insecurity, demographic change, and technological innovation are all common triggers. In our increasingly interconnected and globalized world, moral panics can spread quickly and easily across borders.
What makes a moral panic so powerful is its ability to tap into our deepest fears and anxieties. We all have a need for belonging and a desire to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm. When we feel that our safety
Why Media Outlets use Moral Panics
Some media outlets use what is called a “moral panic” in order to keep their audiences in check. This is done by creating an atmosphere of fear and anxiety around a certain issue or person. By doing this, the media outlet can control what their audience thinks and how they behave.
There are many reasons why a media outlet would do this. They may want to sell more newspapers or get more viewers for their television show. Or, they may want to influence the public’s opinion on a certain issue. Whatever the reason, it is important to understand how media outlets use moral panics to control their audiences.
Examples of Moral Panics in the News
The media is full of examples of so-called “moral panics”. These are situations where the public is whipped up into a frenzy over an issue that is often exaggerated or even fabricated. The result is often a climate of fear and hysteria, which can lead to bad decision making.
One recent example is the so-called “porn panic” which hit Britain in the early 2000s. This was sparked by a series of stories in the media about the supposed dangers of Internet pornography. The government responded by introducing a series of measures which restricted people’s access to online porn.
However, there is little evidence that pornography is actually harmful. In fact, some studies have shown that it can actually have positive effects, such as increasing sexual satisfaction and improving body image. The moral panic surrounding pornography was thus largely unfounded and led to unnecessary restrictions on people’s freedom.
Another example is the ” Satanic panic” of the 1980s, when there was a wave of hysteria over supposed Satanic ritual abuse taking place in daycare centers across America. This led to a number of innocent people being wrongly accused and even jailed.
Once again, there was little evidence to support the claims of widespread Satanic abuse. The moral panic
How can we avoid media induced panic?
In our increasingly connected world, it’s important to be thoughtful about the media we consume. Too often, we allow ourselves to get caught up in so-called “moral panics” – moments of mass hysteria whipped up by sensationalist media coverage.
These moral panics can have harmful real-world consequences, as we’ve seen with the recent case of the Covington Catholic high school students. We must learn to critically consume media, and not let ourselves be driven into a frenzy by clickbait headlines and inflammatory rhetoric.
So how can we avoid media-induced panic? By being thoughtful and critical consumers of the media we take in. We need to remember that not everything we read or see is true, and that even if it is true, it may not be the whole story. We should seek out multiple perspectives on any given issue, and question anything that feels overly sensationalized.
It’s also important to remember that we are powerless against the forces of the media – all we can do is try to be mindful of what we’re consuming, and hope that others will do the same.