When the official reaction to a person, groups of persons or series of events is out of all proportion to the actual threat offered, when “experts,” in the form of police chiefs, the judiciary, politicians and editors, perceive the threat in all but identical terms, and appear to talk “with one voice” of rates, diagnoses, prognoses and solutions, when the media representations universally stress “sudden and dramatic” increases (in numbers involved or events) and “novelty” above and beyond that which a sober, realistic appraisal could sustain, then we believe it is appropriate to speak of the beginnings of a moral panic.

- Stuart Hall et al. Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order (1978)

2 years ago
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