Folk Devils and Moral Panics is a phrase which was coined by Stan Cohen almost 40 years ago. A folk devil is someone or a group of people portrayed by the media as deviant. Folk devils are usually subjected to loosely organised but pervasive campaigns of hostility through gossip. I would argue on message boards and via the internet this is often "meme" mediated e.g. "Chanology". Some examples of historical folk devils would be the Jewish stereotype of the money lender or the Mcarthite persecution of Communists. In England the paedophile riots in 2000 were a mod example of a "moral panic" started and engineered by the U.K.'s mass media to create new folk devils and sell more papers. This came out of the hilarious campaigns for rights without responsibilities for children started by media personalities like Esther Rantzen in the U.K. in the 90's. People were forced to leave there homes as being identified as paedophiles on the estates where the riots occured, all had nothing to do with paedophilia, they were just not liked and the mob mentality had taken over. Perhaps the most amusing, but, sad incident of these riots. Dr Cloete returned home from work at the Royal Gwent Hospital to find "paedo" spray-painted on her front door. Local police believe the graffiti was written by someone who confused her job title with the word paedophile. The mob wrongly thought paediatrician meant paedophile. Yes. paedophiles openly advertise..... A little on these riots; http://archives.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/08/10/englandpaedophile/. The recent Scientology moral panic on the internet appears to follow classic folk devil and moral panic characteristics. A group who are not well liked have been identified, by an anonymous group. I worry about any group who do not come out and say who they are. All people have a right to face their accusers in a free and open society and a whisper campaign has started. The truth of most of these stories about Scientology is unknown and they are not coming from impartial sources, always a concern. The "whispering game" is always an issue in moral panics, and already the anonymous hackers have targeted an elderly couple as Scientologist anti hackers. The elderly couple had nothing to do with Scientology. Mobs are always an issue, be they online or in the real world. The social experiment by Anonymous, which started as obvious satire worries me, mainly because youngsters are often angry and looking for identity. This makes them willing to follow people and causes adults may be more careful about. They are being duped to attack something which may or may not be evil, probably because it has high profile members like the media unpopular Tom Cruise. Do I like Scientology, No. Do I like mobs, No. Do I like moral panics. Hell No!