• The "Crack Baby" Myth

      In the late '80s, the term "crack baby" was a media favorite, fueled by the shared interest of liberal and conservative activists. Liberals wanted more social welfare programs and conservatives wanted to demonize drug use. A few small studies of babies born of cocaine-addicted mothers led media-savvy researchers to claim that these babies were “handicapped for life.”

      I wrote in 2006 that these babies weren't "handicapped"; it turns out there was no proof that crack babies do worse than anyone else. In fact, they did better, on average, than children born of alcoholic mothers.

      The Washington Post followed up on some "crack babies," now young adults, and found:

      (I)n the two decades that have passed since crack dominated drug markets in the District and around the nation, these babies have grown into young adults who can tell their stories -- and for the most part, they are tales of success.

      And what about the "super-predators" we were warned these kids would become?

      Instead, the national violent crime rate in 2008, the last year for which data are available, hit its lowest level since 1972, when the Bureau of Justice Statistics began its annual survey. According to FBI data for the District, from 1990 to 2008, murders dropped from 472 to 186, rapes from 303 to 186, and robberies from 7,365 to 4,154.

      Another media scare is shown to be a myth.

      I wonder what the media will say about global warming in twenty years.

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