· Moral entrepreneurs may use the media to put pressure on the authorities to do something about the issue.
· If successful, their campaigning will result in the negative labelling of the behaviour and may a change in the law.
· Therefore, by labelling behaviour as criminal the media helps to cause crime.
· Moral panic = an exaggerated over-reaction by society to a perceived problem – usually driven by the media.
· In a moral panic:
Ø Media identify a group as ‘folk devil’ or threat to societal values.
Ø Media present the group in a negative, stereotypical fashion and exaggerate the problem.
Ø Respectable people condemn the group and its behaviour.
v E.g. moral entrepreneurs, politicians and bishops.
Ø This usually leads to calls for a ‘crackdown’ on the group.
· However –this may create a self-fulfilling prophecy that amplifies the very problem that caused the panic.
Cohen - mods & rockers:
· Study of the media’s response to 2 groups’ conflict in Clacton in the 1960s.
· Mods – wore smart dress and rode scooters.
· Rockers – wore leather jackets and rode motorbikes.
· 1964 – initial confrontations started between the 2 with stone throwing.
· The media over-reacted even though the disorder was minor.
· He uses the analogy of a disaster, where the media produce an inventory or stocktaking of what happened, which contained 3 elements:
Ø Exaggeration and distortion – exaggerated the numbers involved and the extent of the violence and damage, they distorted the picture through dramatic reporting and sensational headlines.
Ø Prediction – media regularly assumed and predicted further conflict and violence would result.
Ø Symbolisation – the symbols were all negatively labelled and associated with deviance, which allowed them to link unconnected events.
v E.g. their clothes, bikes and scooters.
· The media’s portrayal of events led to a deviance amplification spiral b making it seem as if the problem was getting out of hand.
· This led to increased calls for control response by the police and courts.
· This produced further marginalisation and stigmatisation of the mods and rockers as deviants.
· The media…