Media Criticism

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The Misunderstood McDonald's Hot Coffee Lawsuit

Stella Liebeck was vilified when she was awarded millions after spilling McDonald's coffee in her lap. Her complaint sounded frivolous. But the facts told another story.
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How Fear of the Measles Vaccine Took Hold

Skepticism and fear surrounding vaccines were fed by a flawed study done in 1998 linking the MMR vaccine to autism. The study was quickly discredited, we’re still dealing with the repercussions.
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Tabletop to Tablet: Using Dungeons & Dragons to Combat Screen Addiction

The role-playing game ​D​ungeons ​&​ ​D​ragons​, once at the center of a moral panic, is now seen as a counterbalance to the problem of screen addiction.
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Columbine at 20: Media Attention and Copycat Killers

Twenty years after Columbine, we examine the impact the attack has had on today's youths -- and how the media has more recently shifted its coverage of school shootings.
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The Wildfire That Burned Yellowstone and set off a Media Firestorm

Increasingly, wildfires affect populated areas. But 30 years ago, it was a huge fire in Yellowstone National Park that stoked media attention and political controversy.
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The Outrage Machine

In the digital age, where everyday people can suddenly become public enemy number one, how do we strike the balance between keeping free speech alive online and preventing a cyber mob from taking over?
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Lessons from Columbine About School Shootings and Media Misinformation

The killing of twelve students and a teacher at Columbine High School in 1999 continues to shape how we view and understand school shootings today.
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From Crack Babies to Oxytots: Lessons Not Learned

In the 1980s, many government officials, scientists, and journalists warned that the country would be plagued by a generation of “crack babies.” They were wrong. More than 25 years later, the media is sounding a similar alarm.
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A Mother, a Dingo and an Australian Media Frenzy

In 1982, an Australian mother was convicted of murdering her baby daughter. She was later exonerated, but soon fell victim to a joke that distracted the world from the real story.
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The Preschool Sex Abuse Case that Changed How Molestation is Investigated

The nightmare began in 1983 when a 39-year-old mother called the police department in Manhattan Beach, California and accused a teacher at the McMartin Preschool, Raymond Buckey, of molesting her two and a half-year old son.
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Richard Jewell: The Wrong Man

The 1996 Olympics in Atlanta were rocked by a bomb that killed one and injured more than 100. In the rush to find the perpetrator, one man became a target. There was only one problem. He was innocent.
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The Crack Baby Scare: From Faulty Science to Media Panic

In the 1980s, images of tiny, jittery "crack babies" caused social outcry -- crack-addicted pregnant mothers were prosecuted and the media warned that a generation of “crack babies” would plague our country. Turns out… they were wrong.