If you are someone who likes to watch a lot of cop shows, I want you to ask yourself a few questions.
Why do all TV cops, even the good ones, hate Internal Affairs? Isn’t the job of Internal Affairs to root out the “bad cops”? Isn’t their job to make sure police follow the rules? Why is that presented as inherently evil or antagonistic?
Why do all TV cops, even the good ones, hate defense attorneys? Isn’t the defense attorney’s job to protect the rights of all citizens? Isn’t it their job to make sure police follow the law? Isn’t it their job to make sure everyone is treated fairly under the system? Why is that presented as inherently evil or antagonistic?
Why do all TV cops, even the good ones, get upset when citizens invoke their constitutional rights? Don’t those rights exist to ensure all citizens are treated fairly? Don’t they exist to ensure innocent people are not wrongfully incriminated? Why are citizens who invoke their rights presented as dishonest, untrustworthy, or antagonistic?
To be clear, I’ve watched Brooklyn 99 and enjoyed it. I was watching Elementary the other day. But even when I watch shows I like, I make a mental note every time a cop lies, breaks the law, subverts someone’s basic rights, or just generally acts like an asshole to the people the are meant to serve and protect.
How often are they called out on their behavior? How often are they punished for it? How often is it reinforced as correct by the narrative?
When I tell people to be critical of the media they consume that is what I mean. Not simply calling it terrible and moving on, but actually engaging thoughtfully, asking questions, and forming conclusions about what that media is trying to say to you. Then decide whether you want to keep listening, or if it will be better for you in the long run to move on.