It is helpful to examine how the American media subtly influences audiences toward tolerating oppression when they should be resisting it. Illustrating this point, two major cable news hosts devoted airtime toward denigrating citizen activists’ efforts to hold the government accountable.
The topic of discussion earlier this week on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor was the subject of filming police officers during on-the job duties. Or, as host Bill O’Reilly describes it, “spying on the police.”
Mr. O’Reilly and guest commentator Megyn Kelly proceeded to attempt to marginalize a group known as Cop Block (www.copblock.org), which has dedicated a great deal of effort toward seeking accountability among police officers through the use of cameras.
The two hosts showed nothing but contempt toward the concept of filming police and the individuals who spend effort to do it.
“There’s enough stress on police, without these clowns chasing them around,” Mr. O’Reilly sneered.
“You’re riding down the road, trying to do your job, suddenly, its like, Paul Bunyan is after me!!” Ms. Kelly mocked, in reference to a clip of an activist who had a beard.
The loud-mouthed host shared the objection to the Texas activist’s appearance, saying, “the guy with a beard, he looks like a biker.”
Mr. O’Reilly said lamented that cops “have to deal with idiots — all day” and that they shouldn’t “have a camera in their face.”
One of the most compelling reasons to film police is to capture (and sometimes prevent) instances of corruption and brutality. These are the same reasons that many towns elect to outfit their local enforcers with personal cameras and dashboard cameras. The job inherently carries a large responsibility and liability, as one might expect as armed men go about wielding the power to initiate violence in the name of the government.
However, two government apologists craftily avoided mentioning this context entirely. To trivialize the activist effort, Ms. Kelly describes the purpose of filming as “to catch a cop speeding, or whatever.”
“The problem is that no one has hired them, or wants them to provide that service,” Ms. Kelly scoffed.
Curiously, these two hosts commonly characterize themselves as supporters of the constitution and limited government (at least for the purpose of audience pandering). Yet somehow the existence of activists attempting to hold the government accountable during official duties has become fodder for their ridicule and scorn. Mr. O’Reilly — despite making his living in front of a camera — even suggested that filming was illegal in some areas.
This sort of authoritarian mentality is the kind of thing we have grown to expect from Bill O’Reilly, who has spent a career advocating stopping & frisking random citizens, federalization of crime, warrantless spying, federal weapons bans, and more. Megyn Kelly, on the other hand, has been slightly more ambiguous with her statist leanings.
When she read Cop Block founder Ademo Freeman’s statement that he was a “victim of the War on Drugs,” she let out a cackle. “I’ve never heard it phrase quite that way!” she said, as if it had never occurred to her that Prohibition itself could create victims. One would presume that in a career spent often discussing government policy, she might have encountered some of the endless tyranny caused by the Drug War; the brutality, the lives ruined, the families destroyed. Either she has managed to miss these things, or perhaps there is a concerted effort to keep the American public in the dark about certain topics.
Corruption is enabled by the absence of a populace that is informed or willing to fight for justice. The developing American police state depends on these media gatekeepers keeping viewers ignorant about things that matter. Well-meaning audiences walk away from this sort of programming with the impression that they are “keeping up with current events” or are “getting informed.” In reality they are being filled with poisonous talking points, being distracted by trivial nonsense, or are being groomed to be sympathetic with the police state.