Barbara Gentikow writes about media panics in an introduction to a chapter on uses and gratifications research. The book is in Norwegian: Larsen & Hausken (red) (1999): Medievitenskap 3 , and Gentikow is author and editor of this book in a series of four. What she says about media panics is however interesting enough to translate the main points for this blog. Media Panic is the fear of what the media might do to people. From page 122:
1) It has to do with new technology. Media panics have strong anti-modern traits.
2) It's concerned with popular culture. The anxiety is often generated among users of the "high culture".
3) The use of a cultural product is out of control (for authorities, particularly parents and teachers).
4) There's a general concern on behalf of the weakest: people with little education and children.
5) People make money on cultural products. There's a conflict between the idea that culture is a value to itself, and should have no price, and the fact that it's possible to make money on it.
This was about the introduction of film in Norway, around 1910. It feels kind of familiar...