Thursday, August 04, 2005

Critique on the media's recent "meth madness"

On August 8, 2005, Newsweek ran a cover story, "America's Most Dangerous Drug", on methamphetamine use that was more of a hysterical expose than investigative journalism. In response to Newsweek's publication, Jack Shafer of Slate has written two excellent articles I highly recommend on the misrepresentation of "meth madness".

Meth Madness at Newsweek
This is your magazine on drugs.
By Jack Shafer
August 3, 2005

"The leading indicator that a national trend has peaked and has begun its downward trajectory is often its appearance on the cover of one of the newsweeklies. Newsweek's current scaremongering cover story, "The Meth Epidemic: Inside America's New Drug Crisis," is a textbook illustration of the phenomenon..." Read the full article:

The Meth Mouth Myth
Our lastest moral panic.
By Jack Shafer
August 9, 2005

"Moral panics rip through cultures, observed sociologist Stanley Cohen in 1972, whenever "experts" and the "right-thinking" folks in the press, government, and the clergy exaggerate the danger a group or thing poses to society. Immigrants have been the subject of moral panics, as have alcohol, jazz, comic books, sex, street gangs, rock, video games, religious cults, white slavery, dance, and homosexuals. But in the United States, moral panics are most reliably directed at illicit drug users..." Read the full article:

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