Moral Panic

The Panic Panic


You may have heard the oft-repeated story of a British mob that drove a doctor from her home because it had confused the words "pediatrician" and "pedophile." Writing at the BBC's website, occasional Reason contributor Brendan O'Neill tracks down the truth about the tale. The actual incident turns out to have been much milder: The "mob" was just one vandal, and local sentiment was sympathetic to the victim.

O'Neill concludes:

[S]ome in the media, in challenging the scaremongering over sex offenders, indulge in some scaremongering of their own. They raise fears about violent tabloid-reading protesters who will attack, hound and destroy a paediatrician—which seem to be just as unfounded as the fears about thousands of paedophiles stalking the land.