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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 157066 Find in a Library
Title: Cracked Coverage: Television News, The Anti-Cocaine Crusade, and the Reagan Legacy
Author(s): J L Reeves; R Campbell
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 335
Sponsoring Agency: Duke University Press
Durham, NC 27708-0660
Publication Number: ISBN 0-8223-1491-6
Sale Source: Duke University Press
Publicity Manager
Box 90660
Durham, NC 27708-0660
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In documenting deceptions and excesses associated with television news coverage of the so-called cocaine epidemic during the 1980's, this book indicts backlash politics of the Reagan era in terms of racism, the mercenary outlook of drug control efforts, and crusading journalism.
Abstract: The authors explore how television news not only interprets "reality" in ways that reflect prevailing ideologies but also constructs that reality. They examine the complexity of television and its role in social, cultural, and political conflicts in the United States by focusing specifically on ways in which television during the Reagan years helped stage and legitimize the war on drugs. The authors argue that powder cocaine in the early Reagan years was understood and treated very differently than crack cocaine a few years later. Further, they contend that Reagan's war on drugs was actually a political spectacle that advanced the reactionary agenda of the New and Religious Right, an agenda that dismissed social problems grounded in economic devastation as individual moral problems that could simply be remedied by "just saying no." The authors consider how the behavioral orientation of drug control experts and the individualist orientation of mainstream journalists were co-opted by New Right moralist crusaders during the Reagan era. They conclude that mainstream journalism's treatment of the cocaine problem during the 1980's influenced other forms of American popular culture. Supplemental information on television news coverage of cocaine during the Reagan era is appended. Notes and figures
Main Term(s): Drug regulation
Index Term(s): Cocaine; Crack; Criminology; Drug abuse; Media coverage; Police; Political influences; Television programming
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