First Advisor

Leo Beletsky

Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Public Health Studies: Community Health Promotion and University Honors

Department

OHSU-PSU School of Public Health

Language

English

DOI

10.15760/honors.1155

Abstract

Background

The realms of drug policy and immigration policy have long been fueled by misinformation, where sensationalism and panics help shore up political support. Most recently, the “border crisis” has been invoked to explain the “overdose crisis” in mass media narratives. Although the increase in migration is being blamed for illicit drug flows, drug importation occurs primarily through legal points-of-entry. The extent and excess visibility of false narratives linking overdose to migration in mainstream media is unknown.

Methods

We used the Media Cloud ecosystem to compile and characterize mainstream media content published between June 2021 and July 2021 regarding the migration on the southwest border and how it relates to illicit drug flows.

Key Results

We identified 102 relevant articles. In this sample, 80% of articles articulated misinformation. Only two articles were corrective by accurately asserting that illicit drugs flow primarily through legal points-of-entry.

Conclusion

Misinformation regarding drugs and the border have proliferated in mass media, where corrective narratives are sparse. Excess visibility of misinformation on causes of key societal challenges drives misguided public policy and inhibits successful responses to public health crises.

Rights

In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/ This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/36175

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