Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been spending months obsessing over how cop shows on TV (and superhero shows) reflected a little bit of reality by admitting that cops aren't always good and black people aren't always evil and/or criminals. It took both Gabriel Hays and Tierin-Rose Mandelburg to summarize this obsession in a May 24 post:
A lot can change in a year. And it seems like no year has brought as much cultural change to America’s TV landscape as the year since African American man George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. In that timeframe, America endured a summer of rioting, the acceleration of cancel culture and attempts to force critical race theory into every aspect of public and even private life.
Unwilling to leave bad enough alone, Hollywood joined in the hate; 127 TV episodes promoted the self-described Marxist Black Lives Matter movement, “Defund The Police” initiatives, and peddled the myth of America as a systemically racist country.
MRC Culture’s TV blog covered the entire year of Black Lives Matter narratives and propaganda forced into TV programming following Floyd’s death and found that there were 127 episodes promoting BLM talking points. Some of the worst moments included characters referring to police as “pigs,” lies that America has been the same racist place for the last “500 years,” and racist smears against white people, arguing that each should feel “personal shame” over the death of George Floyd.
These 127 BLM TV episodes featured propaganda-ridden storylines written to depict racist cops gunning down innocent black people, for example. NBC’s Chicago PD, CW’s Black Lightningand CBS’ FBI: Most Wanted smeared cops in this way.
No mention, of course, of how TV cop shows have spent decades pushing negative portrayals of Blacks and normalized and justified violence by the police -- which could also be described as "propaganda-ridden storylines" -- so it could be argued that the past year was a corrective for the past.n But no, Hays and Mandelburg have to portray it as a conspiracy:
Again, it was no accident nor mere organic trend that TV exploded with this racist, anti-American propaganda in the last year. It had been done for an expressly political purpose. Kristen Marston, Culture and Entertainment Advocacy Director of the Pro-BLM civil rights non-profit, Color Of Change, stated in an interview with Hollywood Reporter, “What we see on TV, it impacts the way we vote, the way that we react to people and even the way that we either believe Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization or not.”
Take it from Marston. She was actually asked to advise ”over 100 TV shows” on how to help them move away from “unhelpful narratives” regarding police or Black Lives Matter. Her progressive non-profit also compiled a “damning 153-page report” on how entertainment TV depicts crime in such a way that “undermines racial equality,” called Normalizing Injustice.
Um, don't most TV cop shows use actual current or former law enforcement officers as consultants? We don't remember Hays or Mandelburg ever complaining about that.
(By the way, this is all somewhat lazy blogging, since it essentially just updates a February post by Matt Philbin offering similar complaints and citing some of the same examples.)
The MRC has also continued to complain about individual shows since the last time we checked in, even throwing some non-cop shows in the mix apparently to pump up the numbers:
- Before the May 4 episode of super producer Dick Wolf's FBI: Most Wanted, “Criminal Justice,” even began, we knew it was going to be yet another Black Lives Matter themed show. -- Alexa Moutevelis, May 5
- At this point, which shows haven’t catered to Black Lives Matters in some way? The CW’s Kung Fu re-imagining following a Chinese-American woman returning to her hometown of San Francisco after a journey to China is only the latest to fall prey to the BLM message, even after almost criticizing it. -- Lindsay Kornick, May 5
- We’ve already seen Hollywood use fictional stories to paint the police as violent racists, but Wednesday’s episode of the CW’s Nancy Drew might take first place for the most over-the-top and racially divisive anti-police storyline. Not only were police vilified, but a few white suspects who aren’t officers were thrown in as evil participants who harassed an innocent black woman for good measure. -- Dawn Slusher, May 6
- On Wednesday, it was ABC’s A Million Little Things’ turn to create fear and division with lines like, “As a Black woman, I don't feel safe in my own body anywhere,” and, “There are police out there looking for a reason to take your life.” -- Dawn Slusher, May 13
- NBC's Law and Order: Organized Crime opened this week's episode with an over-the-top scene of a New York City police officer crushing the bones in an innocent, unarmed black man's hand. ... I cannot imagine how hard it must be for police officers throughout the country to turn on the television and regularly see the boys in blue portrayed as the enemy by a pampered Hollywood elite that can afford private security. -- Elise Ehrhard, May 13
- The CW’s high school football drama All American picked up where it left off last week, dealing with the aftermath following the shooting death of an innocent, young, black woman, Tamika Pratt, by police. And if you thought the show couldn’t possibly have any more disdain for the police than they did before, you’d be very wrong, as they claimed the police system is “predicated on [black people’s] oppression since the beginning” and that people of color are “being hunted” by the police. ... The left is creating hate, division and fear and their “plan” has no good outcome for anyone. Not for black businesses that have been burned and looted by BLM protesters, not for the innocent black and white lives that have been taken during BLM protests and in the subsequent rise in crime, not for the innocent officers who continue risking their lives to protect us, not for race relations in this country, and not for black people themselves. Nothing and no one wins in their narrative except chaos, anarchy and hate. -- Dawn Slusher, May 18
- Law and Order: Organized Crime pushed the Black Lives Matter narrative again this week, claiming that police officers randomly kill innocent young black men without consequence. ... Black Lives Matter's paranoid lies about police officers have led to real police officers being murdered by BLM fanatics. In the fictionalized Law and Order: Organized Crime universe, it lead to the murder of a cop's wife. I doubt the show's writers have the self-awareness to realize the episode did not quite make the point they thought it was making. -- Elise Ehrhard, May 21
- Season three of Showtime's The Chi was purposefully devoid of the police, even while a major storyline revolved around the disappearance of a black woman, and one episode featured a disturbing scene showing what sex trafficked and drug addicted young women endure. The season four premiere changes all of that when a 15-year-old is the victim of police brutality during the May 23 episode, “Soul Food.” ... After a unique season with no police, The Chi just jumped the shark and became like every other show on television with an anti-police Black Lives Matter storyline. -- Alexa Moutevelis, May 24
- ABC’s A Million Little Things has added to the count of 127 episodes on television that have pushed Black Lives Matter since George Floyd’s death with their third straight week of BLM-themed episodes. In Wednesday's episode, “Not Alone,” one character claims that black Americans must wear an “armor” that gets heavier “every time another innocent black person is killed.” -- Dawn Slusher, May 27
- Three episodes into season four of Showtime’s The Chi and it looks like the war with the police is here to stay. Last week’s episode saw Mayor Otis ‘Douda’ Perry (Curtiss Cook) looking to defund the police after 15-year-old Jake Taylor (Michael Epps) was assaulted by the police in the season opener. In the June 6 episode, “Native Son,” Douda enlists the help of Tracy (Tai Davis) and Trig (Luke James), providing them with the money that normally goes to the police budget so that they can run their own version of 911. Seriously. -- Alexa Moutevelis, June 7
- The Showtime "comedy" Black Monday claimed this week that all cops except police dogs are white supremacists. The show, set in the 1980s, regularly attacks Christians, conservatives and Republicans. This week, the writers could not resist also tossing in contemporary BLM anti-police rhetoric despite the 1980s setting. -- Elise Ehrhard, June 13
Hays and Mandelburg concluded their summary by declaring: "It’s clear that this is all being done to change your perceptions about your country and its history. And it's all being broadcast into the safety of your suburban home. It’s way past time to just turn the television off." As if the MRC is not paying them to change perceptions about BLM and black people in general.