There are three explanations for the occasional eruption of laughable panic-mongering stories about teenage sex and drug use:
The media are extremely gullible and believe any crap that kids tells them. Very possible, as we’ve seen in the child sex abuse hysteria of the 80’s, for example. Every reporter on Earth wants to believe he is the one that people will tell what’s really going on.
The media know (or at least suspect) the stories are bullshit but don’t care because they get ratings. Also very possible. Most of the media would mud-wrestle their own mother to get an extra point in the ratings. And certain media personalities thrive on panicky stories.
These stories represent repressed fantasies. I wouldn’t dismiss this for certain stories like the supposed “Rainbow Parties”. The accounts often read like they were written one-handed. “And then … the girls put on different colored lipstick. And then .. they .. service all the boys. And then … they have multi-colored rings on them.” Seriously. If you put some of these articles on an erotic stories website, no one would notice anything unusual about them.
I think it’s all three. Moral panic stories strike a media bullseye — appealing to their vanity, their need for viewers and their own repressed desires. I just wish the public were more skeptical.