e116. Copaganda, Cartoons, and You

One of the most interesting side effects of the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests sparked off by the George Floyd murder has been the #DefundPolice movement gaining national attention. Obviously that’s a big complicated issue that goes beyond shouting hashtags online (or probably should). Some jurisdictions are beginning to take the call seriously, but in the meantime it seems to have gained more immediate support in television media. In the wake of the current situation police reality shows COPS and LivePD have both been cancelled. Popular sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine has announced that they are scrapping much of the previously written scripts for their upcoming season to refocus the show on the issues of police brutality and #BLM protests. Long running police procedural drama Law & Order: SVU says they are going to address the situation as well. Finally, interestingly enough, there have been repeated calls across the internet to address the situation by “defunding Chase”, one of that is one of the stars of the animated children’s program Paw Patrol. The last one was largely a joke, except to a bunch of hard right wing television pundits who don’t understand how humor works. But still, there’s a part of it that is worth considering. Children get most of their idea of what a police officer is from media. Frankly, most of us get most of our ideas of what a police officer is from media.

On today’s episode Katya, Hannah and Mav are joined by our go-to violence expert Meron Langsner and new guest, retired police officer turned television actor Ryan Scott Thomas to talk about the portrayal of police in media and how it affects our views of what cops actually are as well as consider how the current heightened awareness of some of the dark realities of police departments are reconciled with out media. Give it a listen and let us know your thoughts.

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