HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Color of Change launches ...

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 05:33 PM

Color of Change launches petition to cancel the show "Cops"

I just got this petition via an email from Rashad Robinson's organization Color of Change: (footnotes in link)

Dear ColorOfChange.org member,

Twenty-five years ago, George H.W. Bush’s infamous Willie Horton ad1 and the media frenzy surrounding the crack epidemic2 combined to put a definitively Black face on the "War on Crime." When brand-new TV network FOX was faced with a writers’ strike, owner Rupert Murdoch bet on an unscripted, super low-budget pilot3 that tapped into white audiences’ fears and preconceptions of Black criminality. The "reality" show COPS was born — and over the ensuing decades, the trendsetting series has radically altered what we see on TV.4

Today, the COPS formula — which relies heavily on degradation and mockery of suspects, presumption of guilt, and audience identification with unfailingly “good guy” police protagonists — hasn’t changed a bit, despite a marked, bipartisan shift away from broken “tough on crime” policies in recent years.5 The show’s creator himself admits that COPS’ singular focus on making arrests, particularly for nonviolent drug offenses, wastes scarce public resources and contributes to massive overincarceration.6

While we can only imagine what might have been had COPS never made it to air in the ’80s, we can take action today to ensure that this relic is finally dropped from FOX’s lineup, by letting its advertisers know we demand an end to these distorted, dehumanizing portrayals that exploit and endanger our communities. FOX programming executives will be meeting shortly to determine whether to renew the show for another season, and they need to hear from you.

Can you call on FOX and its corporate advertisers to tell them that 25 years of COPS is enough? It only takes a moment.

For years, media corporations like FOX and the producers of COPS have built a profit model around the fiction of so-called “reality” television. Although marketed as unbiased, COPS actually offers a highly filtered version of crime and the criminal justice system — a “reality” where the police are always competent, crime-solving heroes and where the bad boys always get caught.7

When COPS launched in 1989, it quickly came under criticism for its intentional focus on Black and Latino neighborhoods and its highly selective portrayal of race. Content analysis performed in the mid-nineties revealed that "reality" crime programs like COPS tend to over-represent whites as police officers and under-represent Blacks and Latinos as authority figures, while also under-representing whites and over-representing people of color as criminals. In addition, with producers dependent upon the voluntary cooperation and approval of police departments, footage that casts officers in a negative light — including recorded portrayals of overtly racist behavior — never air.8

Instead, viewers tune in weekly to "ride along" with police and root against a rotating cast of nameless — sometimes faceless — street crime suspects.9 With such a narrow range of Black characters and personalities in primetime, the negative perceptions and distorted images presented by shows like COPS create an atmosphere of suspicion that desensitizes and conditions audiences to view harsher punishments and police misconduct — including police brutality and unconstitutional searches — as acceptable.10 Research shows that these images linger in the subconscious of viewers, creating "unconscious attitudes" and "implicit biases" about both race and class.11

Please join us in urging FOX and its advertisers to put 25 years of harmful programming behind us and drop COPS from its lineup.

According to researchers, repeated, distorted media representations "create attitudinal effects ranging from general antagonism towards (B)lack men and boys, to higher tolerance for race-based socioeconomic disparities...and public support for punitive approaches to problems."12 Against the real-world backdrop of an American culture that views young men like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Russell Davis with suspicion — and "places like New York, where there were 700,000 incidents of 'stop and frisk' by police officers in 2011 alone, most of them targeting Black and Hispanic males" — the stakes couldn't be higher.13

Down from 45 episodes in prior years, FOX ordered just 16 episodes of COPS this season, regularly preempting the "reality" series with sports programming that is more attractive to advertisers. Adding your voice to this campaign will help us push these companies to do the right thing and drop COPS for good. Together we can put industry decisionmakers on notice that continuing to invest in programming that exploits our communities will hurt their reputation with consumers, and send a broader message to Hollywood and producers of reality programming that we expect better.

Join us in calling on FOX and COPS' advertisers to put an end to this dangerous and dehumanizing television show. And when you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.


Do you agree? I admit I used to watch "Cops" as guilty pleasure from '08 to '11 or so. Now that I've read the CoC petition and considering the grim reality of American police departments...remember when the LAPD shot the newspaper deliverers' truck falsely thinking Chris Dorner was the driver?...I think I will sign, aside from the new cultural reality that Saturday nights are best for college football, reruns, or movies.

16 replies, 1079 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 05:35 PM

1. Actually, I didn't know new episodes were being made.

If it's still popular enough to sustain itself, let it stay on the air.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NaturalHigh (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:34 PM

10. If bum fights or child porn were popular

Oh never mind radical libertarins never get it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 05:39 PM

2. You notice there are never "Cops" shows that depict a banker or crooked investment person...

...being arrested. Noooo...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 05:41 PM

3. I always thought COPS was one of the basest forms of entertainment.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Brickbat (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 05:44 PM

5. It was "reality TV" before there was a name for it...

It did have the most badass of theme songs, though...Back in the day I'd watch the opening titles just to hear it

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Brickbat (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:36 PM

11. Lame? Its disgusting

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 05:41 PM

4. You think the standards of decency in programing would prevent what they have shown

on this show.

When it first came out I was interested...until they showed a man just shot to death laying on the pavement...I almost threw up..and stopped watching the show.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 05:53 PM

6. A sad thing about this type of "entertainment "

When you tell your friends about these racist shows they say don't watch them---that's the point here this garbage was created because it's cheap and ultra profitable for a few parasites .There is nothing redeemable here and naturally the response is " we have a right to produce these fine shows ." The repukes love the libertarian talking points so its our right to exercise our rights and say too much ! If you turn it off it doesn't go away .

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 05:59 PM

7. I had no idea it was still on.

It has to be at least a decade since I saw it last.

Bill Hicks' Cops Confession(NSFW)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bluedigger (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:42 PM

14. Can you imagine what Bill would be saying these days...

I really miss him sometimes..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:01 PM

8. I think it's hateful and degrading for the way it portrays male fashion choices.

 

Not all of us who walk around shirtless, or wearing a tank top and boxer shorts is a criminal or skeeve.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SayWut (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:38 PM

13. Are you sure about the skeeve part?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:33 PM

9. I have always hated that POS show

The poor are here to be a source of amusement for everyone else.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:37 PM

12. Disgusting show.

Can often tell a good deal about a person, too, when they admit it is one of their favorites. (Notice I said often, not always.)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:44 PM

15. i'm ashamed to admit that i used to watch this show almost every week..

this was 20 years ago. my roomies and a bunch of other friends, sitting around, drinking beer, and yucking it up over people's miserable experiences. after a while, I really began to feel great sadness and empathy for the "perps." sure, there were some bad people highlighted on the program, but mostly it was poor folk, down on their luck and just trying to get by.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:58 PM

16. I had cop once tell me that his chief would never want COPS to shoot his department

"Why would we allow our screw ups to broadcast on national TV?" this officer pointed out.

The Department in question was actually one the I respected because its officers were trained in community policing techniques that encouraged less militarism and non-confrontation. Something that you'd rarely see in other departments.

The funny thing about COPS, when I first got back from my four years in Europe, I watched the show with new eyes. I wondered why these cops were fucking with people for absolutely no reason at alll.

That cop whom I talked to about the show also told me that it routinely features poor police procedure.

I came to the conclusion that any department on the show was more than likely poorly run and are trying to use it as a propagandandistic publicity ploy in order to gloss over their problems. These departments on the show, one would be well advised to not come into any contact whatsoever.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread