Moral Panics

Moral Panics

    Stories are of different nature and they all have an effect on the recipients who are mainly composed of the public. Stories that instill public fears and those that attract government intervention following their adverse effects are likely to cause moral panic in the society. These fears, as well as government interventions, are inconsistent with the intent threat posed on to the society by the group of people who are held responsible. Stories that indicate the possibility of evil, threatens the society. These stories have a high capability of spreading fear among large parts of the society and ultimately the spread moral panic to all parts. The media and moral entrepreneurs or even moral police officers, has long been the main part of the sociological trend which is referred to as moral panic. Other stories that cause moral panic include stories that are aimed at spreading moral indignation by the media. The media mainly reports of stories that have selected facts which have a high probability of causing uneasiness, tenseness, and terror (Rodgers 2011).  A good example of moral panic is the report of the prevalent kidnapping cases of children by pedophiles. Sex lawbreakers, in this case, are the subjects of moral panic since they are the mythical giants who make children their victims. Reports that these sex lawbreakers placed on the public registry are changed in a manner that they commit immorality.  The moral panic changes these into predatory mischievous sprites. However, these stories fade away during Halloween. In some of the cities across the world, there are restrictions that have been put in place on sex lawbreakers during Halloween (Jenkins 2001).

    Reliance on news media will continue to be a problem in our society. Thus, there is the need for the legislators to establish sanctions on media outlets that will be caught involving themselves in issues that persist in alarming the public about invalid issues hence causing moral panics. The legislator should, therefore, safeguard against media pressure through isolating the drafting of legislation from the media reporting and depending on professionals to carry out individual assessments on the threats of alleged terror. The establishment of sanctions against media outlets during the time of moral panic is important in restricting the media coverage on invalid issues. Sanctioning of the media law will be important as it will bar media outlets from publishing and presenting issues that affect people or those that encourage terror and panic in the society. Media outlets should be punished for publicizing news that will only bring tension in the society and in so doing; moral panics will be greatly reduced (Rodgers 2011).

    Once a story reaches the national level, the host has a responsibility of investigating and correcting invalid information presented. This is because some of the anchors and news media personnel’s, are quite prominent and thus have an authority figure to the public. Thus, while presenting some information as though they personally believe it, it affects the entire publics’ perception. For instance, during Oprah’s interview on rainbow parties, the information reached millions and millions of people, particularly parents. His, as a result, caused moral panic amongst most parents as they kept on wondering what was happening to their teenagers. Thus most people believed that the story must have been true and thus they embraced the story even without having to investigate the case to determine whether it was true. It is therefore important for media personalities and especially anchors that are well known in the society to be thorough in carrying out investigations before they present the information to the public as they are great influencers of facts in the society.  If Oprah took the initiative to investigate the erroneous allegations, she would have realized the facts about the rainbow parties and thus the rumor would seize to be baseless as there is supporting evidence. Journalists have the responsibility to pursue truth at all times and this can only be enhanced through diligent verification. Thus in hosting a show, the host is responsible for challenging both the claims as well as the assumptions that are presented. In doing so, accurate and truthful information is presented, introducing the highest value of information that the host has gathered and verified.

    News media emphasis on the rainbow party topics not only increased the salience of the subject on the public agenda but it rather activated previously acquired information about the problem in public’s memories. This has however triggered the public perceptions, attitudes, and prejudices, in regards to the rainbow party issue (Marsh and Melville 2008). The publicity n the issue has also increased beliefs amongst public who are now strongly convinced that teenagers are out of control criminals and deviant. This extensive mass media coverage resulted in the perception that the nation is entering an epidemic of immoral activities amongst teenagers.

    The media mania surrounding the case of rainbow parties and other similar cases has not only inflicted fear factor among the parents but it has also caused nightmares among them. These media stories have corrupted the parent's mind where they no longer view their children as innocent as they seem but rather they are fed with concerning information about the double life that their children are experiencing and they tend to believe that for a long time. It is a result of this that parents attitude towards their parenting strategy changes and hence they become stricter while dealing or while parenting their teenage children. The fear of sexual immorality among teenagers has raised concerns all over nations. Parents are therefore more concerned today about the young people and sex than they were a few years back. As a result of this, most of the concerned parents have become overprotective o their children thus restricting them from doing some things. Thus, they closely monitor the teenagers as they strongly believe that the sex issue and the rainbow parties will end up leading them to trouble.

    In conclusion, it is important to note that the range of behaviors that we often consider as a moral panic, leads us to mysteries. The rainbow party’s story has proven to be a mystery to most of the people as it is baseless. However, the society has to realize that it is critical to determine the truth behind the issue covered before making any conclusion or even making any judgment. In doing so, there will be reduced moral panics amongst people and this will ultimately lead to the development of a peaceful society.





















Jenkins, P. (2001). Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a contemporary crisis. New York:            Oxford University Press.

Marsh, I and Melville, G. (2008). The Media and Moral Panics- Theories and Examples.     In:     Crime, Justice and the Media. Routledge: Taylor and Francis e-library. p51.

Rodgers, J. (2011). Competing moral panics: an analysis of media representations during prolonged social anxiety (Doctoral dissertation, Auckland University of Technology).

1147 Words  4 Pages

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