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SOC 311 Notes #3

by: Emily Wagner

SOC 311 Notes #3 Soc 311

Emily Wagner

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Drugs and society
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Emily Wagner on Thursday November 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Soc 311 at University at Buffalo taught by in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 23 views. For similar materials see Drugs and society in Sociology at University at Buffalo.


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Date Created: 11/19/15
SOC 311 -- Drugs and Society (Kristen Connolly) [Notes from 9/28/15-10/2/15] Drugs in the Media Are the News Media Biased?  Yes – tend to present particular angle/point of view  Bias because of their management, audience, etc. 4 Theories of Media Bias 1. Elitist Theory: belief that the most powerful social class in a society, they control content of the mass media a. Media distorts news in a way that favors the ruling class, helps to maintain the status quo 2. Money Machine Theory: view that the mass media are primarily motivated by profit, not the actual issues a. Only interested in what’s going to get the most viewers/watchers for the money 3. Grass Roots Theory: content of mass media are a product of the interests and beliefs of the majority of the population a. Close to money machine theory b. If the media can be said to have a bias, it is the bias of their audiences 4. Professional Subculture Theory: content of the mass media are a product of the norms and ethics of journalists Marijuana in the 1930s:  Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN)  Boy who was already mentally ill, used marijuana and went crazy  Link between marijuana and violence against women LSD in the 1960s  People believed they could do the impossible  Effects were described as “nightmarish”  Psychic terror, uncontrollable impulses, unconcerned about safety  Link between LSD, birth defects, and mental illnesses PCP in the 1970s  Link between PCP, bizarre behavior, and self-motivation  Media sensationalized PCP and exaggerated the most bizarre effects of the drug Crack in the 1980s  Link between crack, drug gangs, and murder of innocent middle- class bystanders  Drug bills and drug legislation followed in the wake of the 1980s media panic over crack abuse Sensationalism in the Media  Mass media presents stories in an exaggerated and biased fashion  Designated to stimulate interest and excitement from the public  Most of what sociologists/criminologists know about drug use is not newsworthy Types of Media Bias  Bias by Omission: leaving one side of the article out o Ignores certain facts o Can occur within a story or over long term as a particular news outlet reports one set of events, but not another  Bias by Selection of Sources: including more sources that support one view over another o Using terms such as, “experts believe…” or “observers say…”  Bias by Story Selection: pattern of highlighting news stories that coincide with the agenda of either the Left or the Right, while ignoring the opposing facts  Bias by Placement: story placement is measured by how important the editor considers the story o Most people only read the headline  Bias by Labeling: 1) tagging of conservative politicians and groups with extreme labels while leaving liberal politicians unlabeled, 2) describes person with positive labels – example: “expert” o Fails to label a liberal as a liberal  Bias by Spin: occurs when story has only one interpretation of a specific event or policy – excludes the other o Makes one side’s ideological perspective look better than another o Should be viewed only as an opinion Presentation of Drugs in News Media The “War on Drugs” – military involvement in drug control efforts  Became a more literal term  Rise and fall of drugs is not changing with diverse drug trends Public Concern – concern with shifts in level of state-initiated drug activities Reasons Why Media is Good  Public has little exposure to political process, media might be their only exposure  Cost – effective way to increase support  Important agent of social control The Elites: have preferential access to media because of their hierarchical status  Use the access to define social order and keep the status quo Katherine Beckett (1995): analyzed the influence of sources on both hard and soft drug stories  Hard drug stories: reporting of events  Soft drug stories: editorials, cartoons, opinions “Celebrated” cases: covered more by media, public pays more attention 1. Large number of people arrested in a single accident 2. Innocent victim caught in the crossfire 3. Arrest of high profile defendant  Police use trained spokespeople to present the department favorably


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