Moran Panics

A comprehensive list of shit that DOES NOT EXIST.

For serious, the local papers and TV stations that get sucked into covering this kind of thing are the worst.The tone of these stories:

Just this week, police say an underage teen was involved in the bracelet dares. Her black band was snapped and she had sex with two other teens. 19-year old, Joseph Valdez was arrested for the incident. He’s accused of letting the teens into the home to have sex.

“One of the males reached over and ripped off this plastic bracelet off her hand,” says Jeffries, “and then told her ‘now you have to have sex with me’ and for some reason she said okay.”

(For some reason. The obvious follow-up: For WHAT reason? Also, this kid is a budding sexual predator, and I think the bracelet sitch is the worst of this community’s problems.)

We heard this shit about jelly bracelets when *I* was in middle school, and that was about 12 million Internet years ago. NOBODY at the station, nobody at the papers that picked this stuff up, that always pick this stuff up, said, “This is likely to be bullshit?” I mean, I heard the “rainbow party” thing when Oprah made it a big deal and thought, “As sexually degenerate as teenagers are based on my own memories of high school, that’s way too complicated and color-coordinated for an actual teenage boy to carry out.”

Use the hat rack you have atop your neck for thinking with before you run something like this, God. I can give nervous parents a pass, somewhat, because after all they’re subjected to a neverending barrage of fear and anger all day long from their TVs, but I can’t look at the so-called genius media gatekeepers who are supposed to be protecting us from the kind of false information that is killing journalism and say yeah, you’re doing a job right now.

The next one of these things pops up tomorrow, we should come up with some kind of journalism prize for everybody who refuses to run it without a credible source that is not, “my sister-in-law’s kids’ friends all say…”


3 thoughts on “Moran Panics

  1. But you just can’t give people a prize for NOT running something. They have to do a STORY on it and discredit it while also getting the ratings for running the story!
    Right now I’m trying to think about how to create an action that will get people to do something about an incident that hasn’t happened yet. That is not news. It’s speculation. I have to figure out another way to draw attention to a future story. It’s like telling people, “You really should do a story about earthquake prevention.” Hard to sell now, but someone else has an earthquake? Top story.
    Conan did a video mash up of all the TV station used the exact same line for A Valentines day story. I’m pretty sure it was created by a pr firm for a phone company or something, but what got me was that everyone used the exact same words. I’m willing to bet the PR person who wrote that copy used to write Anchor copy and knows just how they would like to say something.
    Check out the video

  2. Moral panics used to be more fun – in my younger days (snort!) it was D&D playing. As far as I know, very few people got depraved playing D&D, no matter how desperately they cast 3rd level spells to make it work.
    At least when it was the Beatles, Elvis, Led Zepplin, Doors – a lot of people really did get laid. I guess some woman named Tipper got worked up about backwards-lyrics in the rock music, but by then, we were well on our second-generation of getting laid by rock music, so it was a big joke.
    Before that – comic books. I think the comics kids got shafted, and not pleasantly.

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