Sociologist Stanley Cohen used the term “”moral panic” to characterize the amplification of deviance by the media, the public, and agents of social control.1 Labeled as being outside the central core values of consensual society, the deviants in the designated group are perceived as posing a threat to both the values of society and society itself. Belief in the seriousness of the situation justifies intolerance and unfair treatment of the accused. The evidentiary standard is lowered.
Howard Becker describes the role of “moral entrepreneurs,” who crusade for making and enforcing rules that benefit their own interests by bringing them to the attention of the public and those in positions of power and authority under the guise of righting a society evil. 2
And according to cultural theorist Stuart Hall, the media obtain their information from the primary definers of social…
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