Media feeding frenzy

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A media feeding frenzy is intense media coverage of a story of great interest to the public.

The scandal of Monica Lewinsky in the U.S. was a well-noted example.

The metaphor, drawing an analogy with feeding frenzies of groups of animals, was popularized by Larry Sabato's book Feeding Frenzy: Attack Journalism and American Politics.

Sacco claimed that media outlets try to organize their reporting as much as possible around themes to help them amortize over several reports the work required to educate a journalist to the point where s/he can discuss a subject intelligently. These themes become "feeding frenzies".[1] Of course, a commercial media organization would lose advertising if they had a media feeding frenzy that affected an advertiser's business: Advertisers don't want to feed the mouth that bites them and have been known to modify where they spend their advertising budget. Commercial media disseminate negative information about advertisers only to the extent required to keep customers.[2]

The contributors to Potter and Kappeler (1998) insist that the runaway increase in prison population that has taken place in the United States since 1980 is uncorrelated with changes in actual crime but matches perfectly trends in media consolidation and reduction in budgets for investigative journalism.


Potter, Gary W.; Kappeler, Victor E., eds. (1998). Constructing Crime: Perspectives on Making News and Social Problems. Waveland press. ISBN 0-88133-984-9. 


  1. ^ Sacco, Vincent F. (1995). "Media constructions of crime". Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 539 (1): 141–154. doi:10.1177/0002716295539001011.  cited from Potter and Kapeller (1998, pp. 37-51; see especially the section on "The Content of Crime Problems", p. 42
  2. ^ McChesney, Robert W. (2004). The Problem of the Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the 21st Century. Monthly Review Press. ISBN 1-58367-105-6.