Orchestrating a Social Panic: exploiting the Cases of Missing, or Threatened Children in War Based Society.

As noted here, here, and here, our society is exploiting children, and the American media is so far beyond objectivity, that it is wholly complicit in  Miltary Psychological Operations disinformation campaign/s at all points, and NO MEDIA is objective.


“Social problems were constructed by how successfully individuals and groups with vested interests made claims about their nature and prevalence. Goode and Ben-Yehuda reviewed and supplemented theoretical and empirical studies in the constructionist tradition. They identified five defining ‘elements or criteria’ of a moral panic (1994, 33).
Any moral panic involves a ‘heightened level of concern over the behaviour of a certain group or category’ (Goode and Ben-Yehuda 1994, 33) and its consequences. Indice s of concern include opinion polls, media coverage and lobbying activity.
Moral panics exhibit ‘an increased level of hostility’ towards thedeviants, who are ‘collectively designated as the enemy, or an enemy, of respectable society’. Their behaviour is seen as ‘harmful or threatening’ to the values and interests of society, ‘or at least a sizeable segment’ of it (Goode and Ben-Yehuda 1994, 34, original emphasis). Constructing such folk devils is integral to moral panics.
In a moral panic ‘there must be at least a certain minimal measure of consensus’ across society as a whole, or at least ‘designated segments’ of it, that ‘the threat is real, serious and caused by the wrongdoing group members and their behaviour’ (Goode and Ben-Yehuda 1994, 35). Con-sensus can be challenged by organised opposition: ‘counter claims makers’.
This is fundamental since ‘the concept of moral panic rests on dis-proportionality’ (Goode and Ben-Yehuda 1994, 38, original emphasis). It is evident where ‘public concern is in excess of what is appropriate if concern were directly proportional to objective harm’ (Goode and Ben-Yehuda 1994, 36). Statistics are exaggerated or fabricated. The existence of other equally or more harmful activities is denied.
Panics are by their nature fleeting, subsiding as quickly as they erupt. The same issue may reoccur but individual panics cannot be sustained for long.
Key agents and dynamics
The focus for social constructionists is on who makes claims, how and why. Most influential are ‘social movements’, organised expressions of reaction to a real or imagined social condition. Movements protest and demonstrate, appeal to public opinion and gain access to the media. In moral panics, they exhibit their worst behaviour: exaggerating the threat, polarising opinion and vilifying opponents. Apparently more scrupulous interests also play a vital role: religious groups, professional associations and the police. The media are sometimes active in moral panics but more often are passive vehicles for others’ claims making.
Causes and consequences
Goode and Ben-Yehuda (1994) assess three competing explanations of moral panics. First, the grassroots model sees the sources of panics in widespread anxieties about real or imagined threats. In the second explanation, the elite-engineered model, an elite group manipulates a panic over an issue they know to be exaggerated, in order to divert attention away from their own inability or unwillingness to solve social problems. Third,interest group theory argues that ‘the middle rungs of power and status’ are where moral issues are most acutely felt. Goode and Ben-Yehuda suggest elites are marginal. The combined forces of grass roots feeling and middle-class agitation lie behind the most effective panics. The wider explanation lies in the nature of collective behaviour.
Goode and Ben-Yehuda divide the consequences of moral panics into two: institutional legacy and normative transformation. The problem is institutionalised by establishing new laws, agencies or professions. ‘Nor-mative transformations’ alter ideas about the acceptability of behaviour. In so doing, they redraw society’s moral boundaries. A classic example was the missing children controversy in the USA of the 1980s.
Exemplar: Threatened children
Although he does not use the precise term, Best’s (1990) analysis of the missing children issue is effectively a case study of a moral panic. A national campaign about missing children was boosted by the stranger abduction and murder in Florida in 1981 of Adam Walsh, whose parents became prominent activists. This claimed that 1.5 million children vanished, disappeared or were abducted each year in the USA.
Two federal laws set up first (1982) a national system for recording missing persons then (1984) a National Center for Missing
& Exploited Children. However, from 1985 onwards, attention to the issue declined, as the media attacked the credibility of excessive claims.
Best stresses first the activities of claims makers and their rhetorical strategies; second, the role played by public opinion; and three, why this issue was so salient. The strategic groups of claims makers were fourfold: the medical professions; social activists, from feminists to the New Right; grass-roots organisations; and official agencies, local and federal. The media – ‘secondary’ claims makers – seized upon the novelty and drama of the issue. The effects were to privilege accounts from official sources, dramatise specific cases, pathologise and individualise the problem, and suppress argument about the issue or the media’s role in it.”
Link and material above courtesy of Penelope Ironstone
© 2008 Moral Panic Analysis: Past, Present and Future
Chas Critcher*
Media and Communications Studies, Swansea University
Sociology Compass
2/4 (2008): 1127–1144,
Journal Compilation © 2008
Blackwell Publishing Ltd

In wartime, children in other countries are bombed daily, dusted with depleted uranium, born without homes, or fathers due to internationally condoned but still illegal mass-homicide, and targeted via unmanned drones that blow up entire families. This, to ‘stop them over there before they come here,” after selling their one or two tin pots, and trading their camel for a plane ticket to New York or something.

In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, beyond being murdered wholesale, young boys were raped, and otherwise violated by American troops bent on waging a psychological terror campaign: yeah, yeah–we know– ‘just following orders,” and “just doing my job.” Yup, got it. You do that to save them from this, right? Meanwhile, you turn their women into western schills and harlots for capitalist agendas–like, um…more war.

Meanwhile, as our society and others allied in the purpose do this to ‘the children,’ they also exploit the anxiety of their own citizens, and use social and moral panics to distract the attention away from these illegal activities, enlisting the citizens of those nations into willing complicity of these activities.

And, the threat to keep silent about these activities is now, as we know, what The NSA et al are doing: mass surveillance that serves as potential blackmail by western governments–to be used against dissenters, and anyone else who challenges the Military Industrial Complex, and its reach and power is given to associated law enfarcers in the local communities(even though police are feeling the pinch now that everyone knows what I knew in 2003)

Meanwhile war-porn in the form of ‘snuff films’ are willingly distributed by various media to American citizens, and other western societies 

The emphasis on “snuff” is interesting (later, of course, snuff videos — in the form of hostages being executed by terrorists, or military facilities being destroyed from the air, or Saddam Hussein being hanged — would become more or less compulsory viewing for the virtuous citizen), because it’s an emphasis, again, on the power of a particular medium to represent reality at a particular time.

To represent reality, and to kill, are the prerogatives of the state, but video technology threatened — briefly — to usurp that power and distribute it to individuals. But this power to represent could only exist while the medium was strong and central and paradigmatic. The moment video was seen as something tricksy and marginal, this power — this link between the collective unconscious and a particular medium — was lost.” http://imomus.livejournal.com/423638.html

So, while most labor under the illusion that we are creating “more freedom,” the reality is as it has always been: that freedom is enjoyed by only a few, and the middle classes that are created through these propaganda campaigns–the willing participants in wholesale murder.

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One thought on “Orchestrating a Social Panic: exploiting the Cases of Missing, or Threatened Children in War Based Society.

  1. […] But here, now, I want to post some rough notes of a story I am working on in regards to the current orchestration of moral panic, and the agents of social control who are using the EXACT same group of people to obliterate insight into other state abuses. […]

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