chapter  2
12 Pages

Cosmology of Fear

WithSteven Gorelick

Cosmologies of fear are not entirely a private matter. The author talks about the most likely dangers to one's children are. He is particularly interested in the life history that these images have in the press. The author discusses the relative incidence of crimes against children: abductions by strangers, custodial abductions, sexual abuse, physical abuse and maltreatment. One outstanding book on this topic, Joel Best's Threatened Children, looks at the whole period of the 1980s as one in which the press constructed an atmosphere of ubiquitous childhood perils. Not just the print press, but television, films, books. Doris Graber argues that media coverage of crime distorts the nature and frequency of crime. The author believes that the unusual and the sensational are valid news, but they become much more valuable when supplemented by news analysis that provides some context to the unusual and the sensational.