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.
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Colomb, W., Damphousse, K. Examination of newspaper coverage of Hate Crimes: A moral panic perspective. Am J Crim Just 28, 147–163 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02885869
- Hate Crime
- Moral Panic
- Federal Bureau
- Uniform Crime Report
- Newspaper Coverage