American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 147–163 | Cite as

Examination of newspaper coverage of Hate Crimes: A moral panic perspective

  • Wendy ColombEmail author
  • Kelly Damphousse


The role of the media in the construction of social problems is well documented in the social science literature. In some cases, the process of constructing social problems creates a moral panic. In this paper, we contend that a moral panic occurred in the late 1990s regarding hate crimes because of the disproportionate amount of media attention given to the issue. From this panic grew a movement to enact the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1999. We quantify Goode and Ben-Yehuda’s (1999) indicators of a moral panic by triangulating sample data, official statistics, and editorials/opinion polls. Results suggest that a moral panic over hate crimes occurred in America during 1998 and 1999.


Hate Crime Moral Panic Federal Bureau Uniform Crime Report Newspaper Coverage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marketing Research, The OklahomanOklahoma City
  2. 2.University of OklahomaUSA

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