November 15, 2011

PROF. JOSEPH CAMPBELL: USAT evokes mythical ‘crack baby’ scare in report on drug-dependent newborns.

USA Today evoked the media-hyped crack baby scare yesterday in a front page report telling of “explosive growth” in numbers of newborns supposedly hooked on prescription drugs. The report, which appeared with the headline “Surge in babies addicted to drugs,” offered scant hard data and over-the-top word choice, not unlike news accounts of the supposed crack baby epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s.

As I note in my latest book, Getting It Wrong, the crack baby scare “was a media-driven myth based more on anecdote than solid, sustained research.” It turned out to be, as the New York Times put it in 2009, “the epidemic that wasn’t.”

Good thing for news organizations that they’re not subject to product liability laws. . . .

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