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Culture and TV Programming

The media’s war on drugs includes a host of reality-based law enforcement programming that is designed to allow the spectator a bird’s-eye view of fighting drug dealers and criminal in American society. However, these shows are often biased, empathize with white users at the expense of demonizing minority users, and allow for law enforcement officials to present the “whole” story as if they were judge, jury, and hangman. Anderson discusses how when the war on drugs began the rhetoric associated with it focused mainly on white-collar cocaine users. These users were portrayed as hard-working, otherwise decent citizens who through some combination of self-discipline, treatment and religion could once again be restored to society as a respectable member. Yet, once the rhetoric and perspective in the war on drugs shifted to minorities, the presentation by the media of minority drug users and sellers was quite different than the ones formerly used to present white users “As the cocaine crisis became defined as an urban, black problem the cocaine/crack narrative shifted from the therapeutic to the pathologic…from treatment stories about middle and upper class users to gangster and race narratives. When the drug narrative turned to pathology, abusers became sinister ‘Others’ with virtually no prospects for becoming ‘one of us.’ These rituals of exclusion have criminalized black drug users and, indeed, remain the dom


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Culture and TV Programming. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:13, October 25, 2014, from
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