Good Riddance to Cops and Live PD

Don’t mourn shows that exploit real-life human misery.


"You see my legs shakin', man? I'm nervous!" says a black man in handcuffs at a traffic stop in Berkley County, South Carolina. Cpl. Steve Zubkoff has detained him because he smelled marijuana in the car. The unidentified suspect is on probation, and it will turn out he has a blunt in his shoe, which he will eventually disclose to Zubkoff.

This is all captured on cameras on the most recent, and possibly last, episode of Live PD, a popular show on A&E that documents police responses to calls across the country. On Wednesday, in the midst of growing anger about police conduct in America, the show was cancelled. That announcement comes just a day after the Paramount Network cancelled Cops, the decades-old series that pioneered the police-reality-show format.

Good riddance.

These shows, and others like them, have turned human misery into entertainment while perpetuating narratives about alleged the need for the drug war and for the strong hand of the police to keep the people in line. In the Berkley County clip, the deputy seems almost amused at the young man's nervousness; the audience is primed to find his reactions comical. But his nervousness comes from a real place. Even as Americans turn more and more against the drug war, especially for marijuana, there are places in America where the young man could still be sent back to jail for a long time for that blunt in his shoe. Many encounters on these shows revolve around drug possession.

That doesn't happen here, or at least not onscreen. But Cpl. Zubkoff, amazingly, lectures the man on how to have "better interactions" with police—and the man apologizes for being nervous. There will be no introspection on camera about whether any of what just happened helped in any way to protect public safety.

These programs have been terrible for our understanding of policing and criminal justice, and we should not treat them as some sort of innocent victims of cancel culture. Shows like these turned their cameras on desperate people living on the margins of society, then made them grist for spectacles of mockery. They present themselves as windows into the world of policing, but what they really do is show snippets of people on the worst days of our lives. And despite a bland disclaimer reminding us that these people are innocent until proven guilty, they invite us to judge them for how they behave during a short television segment.

Live PD host Dan Abrams has expressed shock at his show's cancellation, tweeting that the series was an "effort at transparency in policing." In fact, Live PD itself is in the middle of a transparency scandal. In March 2019, the show filmed an incident in which police attempted to pull over Javier Ambler, 40, after he failed to dim his high beams for oncoming traffic in North Austin, Texas. He didn't stop, and police chased him for 20 minutes. He crashed. When Ambler left his vehicle, police ordered him to the ground and used Tasers repeatedly on him, even as he said he had congestive heart failure and told police he couldn't breathe. He subsequently died in police custody.

We know what happened not from Live PD but from police body camera footage—footage that was only made available after Williamson County cleared the deputies involved of any misconduct. Live PD explained later that it does not show sequences that involve a fatality. But it also never provided the footage to investigators, and it destroyed the footage after investigators concluded their investigation.

Abrams wrote after the show was cancelled that he genuinely believed that Live PD helped further the cause of transparency:

I completely agree with advocates calling for more body cams on officers and more uniform rules for their use. It seems to me that the antidote to bad policing and officers is transparency and that means more body cams and more shows like Live PD. It's important to distinguish Live PD from a show like Cops that just presented a highlight reel of crazy moments. Live PD was totally different—following the officers in real time, in their real environments showing the nerves, the adrenaline, the bad, the good, and often the mundane and boring.

What Abrams doesn't seem to grasp here is that his show's contextless "transparency" showed only one side of every encounter—the police's.

If you watch the show, you will see plenty of solid police professionalism and even kindness and compassion on display. But the same problem persists. In another scene in South Carolina, some cops pull up in a suburban neighborhood in the middle of a day because somebody called 911 claiming a fight was going on. There was no fight. It was a group of middle-aged suburban black men (all alumni from the same fraternity) having a barbecue. Everything was handled fine from the police's end. But we never find out why somebody called the police on them, how often that sort of thing happens to these barbecuers, or what the men themselves think about having cops show up.

Live PD often inadvertently illustrates something the Defund Police movement talks about a lot: that officers with guns and body armor and Tasers are being sent to deal with people who aren't committing significant crimes against people or property. One episode opens with deputies in Florida responding to a minor fight between a clearly drunk woman and her ex. Five sheriff's department vehicles rolled into a cul-de-sac to deal with this. It is extremely uncomfortable to watch, unless you find somebody else's misery and loneliness entertaining. Sadly, some people do.

These shows don't provide real transparency. They're one-sided views of policing with carefully controlled narratives that put officers on one side and cast the rest of us as "the other"—victims, villains, nuisances, whatever. The biggest flaw in these shows is that they think we're the ones who need to be educated about the state of policing, not them.

Bonus link: Andrew Heaton, a Reason regular, just interviewed me about the Defund Police movement for his podcast The Political Orphanage.

NEXT: Microsoft and Amazon Adopt Temporary Bans on Police Use of Their Facial Recognition Tech. That's Not Nearly Enough.

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  1. If we take away one sided views from television, all we have left is Snoop Dog and Martha Stewart’s cooking show.

    1. There are other shows on TV besides that? Hmmm

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    2. Is that still on?

      That in of itself is a retarded premise that falls under we need to get a life.

    3. That was a funny show. Snoop also did some brief animal planet type shows which were hilarious.

  2. Cops is a great show. Everyone featured on the show signs a release.

    1. Or else…

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    2. Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

      1. When they kick in your front door, how you gonna come?

        1. Their Junior Murvin cover of “Police and Thieves” works as well.

          1. Not to mention Police On My Back

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              1. Just watch out for Julie

                1. And their Irish cousins, Stiff Little Fingers ought not be left out.

                  1. Yes. They should be.

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                2. lol wanker drug squad.

        2. I use a sock.

          1. So does Tony, Hihn, and lots of others around here.

        3. All over your stomach.

    3. “Cops” had a camera man get shot while filming the police.

      The police involved tried to blame the shooting of the camera man on a suspect until it came out that the suspect only had a BB gun.

    4. Reno 9-1-1 is more believable.

  3. Reason getting in on The Cultural Revolution? Can’t say I’m surprised.

    1. No mention of the dumbass (likely) killed by a confederate 160 years after the Civil War either

      1. I hear they’re putting a statue of him up in its place. A horizontal plane of concrete, roughly human shaped.

      2. Given that there are no living civil war veterans I tried searching for stories of someone crushed by a toppled civil war monument. I found nothing.

        1. Just happened.

          1. The South shall rise again?

  4. Fuck you, Marxists

  5. More from Reasonoids For Censorship.

    1. The moral cowardice that has been displayed is amazing.

      Only Sullum has shown any backbone.

    2. Its almost like they are whoring for sponsor dollars, or a pro-sports franchise.

  6. I’ve never watched more than a clip of either show, unless you count Spoofs like Reno 911, Run Randy Run, and XFiles.
    But I thought the Libertarian position was – “don’t like it? Don’t watch it”. Not “you must be protected from having wrong ideas put in your head”

    And to put the cherry on the devolution of this shithole webazine, we are now told by a Millenial nitwit that “See, cops show up to non-violent confrontations”. As if they know ahead of time which confrontations will become violent. You are not only advocating, apparently, for a total surveillance state, but for a pre-Crime Division of fortune telling, and for heavily armed cops to arrive guns drawn whenever deployed. Otherwise, let’s sacrifice a million poor EMTs and Social Workers who are sent unarmed to every domestic dispute that often do become violent or were violent immediately before the first responder got there

    1. >>don’t like it? Don’t watch it

      this ^

    2. But I thought the Libertarian position was – “don’t like it? Don’t watch it”.

      There is nothing in that statement which implies that libertarians have some sort of duty to remain morally neutral about the choices available on TV, or any other free choice for that matter.

      1. Fuck off you dishonest piece of shit.

        1. You fuck off, right-wing troll.

          1. You wish I was right wing. It drives you crazy that I’m a libertarian, and still dislike you doesn’t it?

            1. Well let’s see. If on virtually every issue you come down on the side of Team Red, then you just might be a Team Red lackey.

              1. Insulting your lying ass isn’t the same as coming down on Team Red.

                It’s weird that I’ve voted Libertarian for president every election after my first (Bill Clinton) and vote libertarian whenever they’re on the ballot for any other office.

                No, Lying Jeffy, you just really need me to be right wing for your own ego.

                1. Then why do you continually find common cause with the right-wing trolls around here (Jesse, Nardz) over and over again?

                  When have you ever criticized anything that they do, or what Trump does for that matter?

                  Why do you side with the right-wing trolls and insult the libertarians?

                  1. You’re no libertarian you dishonest piece of shit.

                  2. I’ve criticized Trump plenty of times. You don’t notice, because it doesn’t fit your narrative. Plus, I find a large portion of the anti-Trump coverage here, and in the media in general, complete bullshit, so I frequently end up defending him. I’m the kind of libertarian that doesn’t like unelected bureaucrats attempting a coup, regardless of who the elected person in question is.

                    As far as the other commentators, there’s lots of other libertarians I don’t go insult. How many people post here somewhat regularly? 30? 40? And I can almost count on one hand the people I troll on a regular. You, DOL, Tony, the squirrel, Pod (and his many socks), and Hihn when he was here. And I’m not sure that’s actually six different people. You can start adding sarcasmic to that, but that’s only because he’s broken, and mostly just posts the same whiney shit these days. Maybe being on this list should tell you something. It’s not necessarily about politics, it’s about the dishonest way you debate.

                    Meanwhile, this publication has become more and more progressive over time. ENB admitted there’s a narrative the other day. So if I find common cause with the right leaning commentators here it’s in my disdain for that.

                    Would you feel better if I went over to the bumpstock article and said I was against Trump on that? Or am I allowed to notice the different ways that Reason covered the riots of the last two weeks, with the peaceful, yet armed protesters in Lansing regarding the lockdowns?

                  3. I like how you call people who insult you right wing. It is more likely because you’re a fucking liberal dumbass who’s sophistry is so tiresome everyone calls it out.

                  4. And by the way fucktard jeff…

                    ” what Trump does for that matter?”

                    I’ve literally told you multiple times where I disagree with him dipshit. Same to sqrsly and sarcasmic and all you other TDS compadres who cant admit he isnt beelzebub.

                    1. I just went and stated, for Lying Jeffy’s record, that I’m against the bumpstock ban in that article’s comments. I’m sure he’ll be happy and remember that next time he wants to say I agree with everything Trump does. Oh wait, no he won’t, he’ll come back later and claim I’ve never disagreed with Trump again.

                    2. Oh shit, did we just have an impromptu “Far Right Wingers For Trump” meeting by insulting Lying Jeffy?

              2. Virtually every compared to your 100% team blue label? Lol.

                Please tell us again how the left’s authoritarianism is actually liberty.

          2. What, not “Russian Troll” this time?
            I guess everyone is right-wing to you though, as you sit to the left of Pol Pot.

            Anyway, no surprise that a piece of garbage like you would be anti-speech. Now why don’t you fuck off back to Jacobin or Salon.

      2. I’ve never watched it and thought it was trash. But it was trash that had an audience. I can tell my friends who watch it that I think it’s trash, but I can’t tell my friends that they’re not allowed to watch it.

        Businesses are allowed to make bad business decisions, like NASCAR banning confederate flags and trying to insert BLM merchandise in its place. But they’re still bad decisions because people dislike being told what they’re allowed to like.

        1. I’ll be curious to see what happens with NASCAR’s ratings. I lived in NC for almost a decade. Went to one race, even had free tickets to a suite with free beer. Bored out of my skull. But I knew a lot of people that like it. I don’t think any of them care about the Confederate flag one way or the other so I don’t know if it will drive the people that do care about it away.

          1. I think there’s a lot of fans who normally don’t care and maybe even dislike the confederate flags, but will get pissed when their favorite sport is trying to get political. It’s the same thing with Kaepernick, BLM, and the NFL. Most people just want to watch a football game and don’t want people to get political during it, but they don’t mind if players are doing talkshows or posting shit on twitter.

            1. To me, the Kaepernick story coming back to the forefront shows that there are a lot of people with loud voices that don’t want to solve the actual problems with the police, but simply want to keep race as the issue. When the Floyd video first came out, pretty much everyone was outraged and for a minute I thought some positive reforms could actually be achieved. Yet here we are now, arguing about kneeling for the flag at football games and watching Drew Breese participate in his Struggle Session. Not very helpful.

              1. It’s people buried in their own narrative. They see a racial issue, and they want to score points on the race issue. Confederate flags at NASCAR games, people kneeling during national anthems, these aren’t even slightly relevant to the policing issues in New York, Baltimore, Minnesota, Chicago, and LA.

                But some people have this big narrative in their head and everything is connected, so they think by pulling this string, canceling this show, or censoring this element, they’re making progress. Almost nobody in this country has any fucking clue who Braxton Bragg is, so it’s nearly impossible to be offended that there’s a fort named after him. But on wikipedia it says he was a confederate general so we need to change that, even though it hasn’t caused any issues in the past 50 years.

          2. If NASCAR wants to chase urban woke markets, they will need to race Teslas, with solar charging in the pits. Races will take a bit longer (and no more doubts about calling races for rain).

          3. I have no love for the confederacy, but at this point the Maoist bullshit has to be resisted at every turn

      3. So, you support advertiser boycotts, and ABC affiliates pulling Sipowicz’s naked butt off the air

        1. I don’t know anything about Sipowicz.

          But I support the *concept* of advertiser boycotts, sure. Don’t you?

          1. So you support mob violence. Sounds right.

      4. “chemjeff radical individualist cocksucker for cancel culture”

        1. Ha! I might have to stop calling him Lying Jeffy.

  7. Don’t mourn shows that exploit real-life human misery.

    “Jer-RY! Jer-RY!”

    1. Don’t mourn shows that exploit real-life human misery.

      This is CNN.

      1. They said exploit, not cause.

        1. Handsupdontshootbitches.jpeg

        2. With CNN, it can be both.

    2. Don’t mourn shows that exploit real-life human misery.
      Hogan’s Heros.

    3. Someone should tell Reason not to exploit cops murdering people for clicks.

      1. No, no, no – it’s ok when they do it!

    4. Don’t mourn shows that exploit real-life human misery.

      Did they cancel the Cleveland Browns?

      1. …..Holy hell.

        My sides hurt.

      2. They did once, but the Browns were resurrected.
        Still don’t win much

      3. fuck yeah dude you win.

  8. Since you oppose shows that “have turned human misery into entertainment”, you’ll be calling for the cancellation of Law and Order SUV, right?

    Yes, SVU intentionally misspelled.

    1. And pretty much all SJW causes

    2. ER?

    3. The Hilary documentary on Hulu?

  9. >>exploit real-life human misery

    one time this shirtless dude is standing in front of the cops denying any knowledge of weed and there’s a fucking j behind his ear … not exploitation of human misery, life as comedy

    1. There was another one where they disarmed a guy with a machete. He literally had it in his hands. His response – “that’s not mine”.

      1. somebody knows his burdens of proof.

  10. I would disagree. Cameras go both ways -= they should exist for cops to be monitored, but also to show what they have to deal with on the job.

    Watching COPS really makes you amazed there isn’t more police brutality. And it de-glamorizes both the police and criminals.

    More shows like COPS and less like Law & Order/CSI where there is no moral ambiguity and everyone looks like a model (except the token comedy bits)

    1. Yeah, COPS was one of those shows where you realize, even with all the asshole cops out there, part of that just comes down to the communities they’re working with. I suspect a lot of these guys join up with an activist’s mindset, thinking they’re going to “make a difference,” but end up incredibly jaded from all the time dealing with the dregs of human society. After all, people typically don’t call cops when good things are happening or for friendly conversation on what’s going on in the neighborhood. They typically get called because someone’s shit’s getting fucked up.

      For some of these guys, they probably end up getting so fed up with it all that they snap and beat the shit out of someone on an arrest call. In some of the more dangerous areas, they really need to treat policing like a combat tour and take them off the streets for a period of time to push papers and de-compress so that frustration doesn’t continue to build. With all that said, the biggest problem is really the police unions protecting the shitheads, especially ones with long, documented track records of abuse.

      1. And I’ll add on, for those of you who haven’t lived in a barrio or ghetto, you have no fucking clue how degenerate a lot of the people these places are. I’ve grown up around mestizo chollos and black gangbangers, and those fuckheads are all, to a man, liars, thieves, and murderers to varying degrees, and almost all with drug and/or alcohol addictions that make them doubly dangerous. I found myself at times wishing the police were as bad as these shitheels said they were, because at least then they’d be dead or rotting in jail for most of their lives instead of terrorizing and extorting their communities.

        Most of the reforms with police need to center around training and nerfing the union so the bad apples can be dealt with like any other citizen. But there isn’t much police can do about shitty neighborhoods inhabited by shitty people.

        1. But there isn’t much police can do about shitty neighborhoods inhabited by shitty people.

          That’s right, but the police are called nonetheless. Maybe the solution here isn’t to call the police for every problem, but to offer a proper solution to each problem.

          1. Yes, maybe a lily white effete overprivileged teenager living in his mother’s basement in the upper middle class area of Toronto should lock arms with Kendall Jenner and just go offer them a Pepsi, right cytotoxic?

            1. Well, you’re certainly not part of the solution, are you now?

              1. Depends on your definition of the problem. I’d be happy to offer my final solution if you’d like.

                1. I bet you would.

          2. Maybe the solution here isn’t to call the police for every problem, but to offer a proper solution to each problem.

            The solution is to offer a solution?

            1. Okay, I phrased that poorly. Here is another shot.

              The police cannot simultaneously be social workers, conflict resolution negotiators, bodyguards, meter maids, investigators, marksmen, athletes, and stenographers taking reports, and do all of those jobs really well. So, don’t try to send the police to do all of those jobs.

              There is no need to send a heavily armed licensed-to-kill officer of the law to document after the fact what happened at a crime scene. Send a clerk.

              There is not much need to send a heavily armed licensed-to-kill officer of the law to tell the proprietors of a house party to turn the volume down on the boombox.

              Whatever the particular problem is, send the right type of professional to deal with that problem. Don’t expect the police to be every solution to every problem.

              1. There is no need to send a heavily armed licensed-to-kill officer of the law to document after the fact what happened at a crime scene. Send a clerk.

                Don’t they already have detectives do that? Most of those guys aren’t “heavily armed,” they’re typically just carrying a sidearm.

                There is not much need to send a heavily armed licensed-to-kill officer of the law to tell the proprietors of a house party to turn the volume down on the boombox.

                Again, “heavily armed”? They aren’t sending SWAT teams to tell people to turn down the stereo, they’re sending fucking Al Powell to ask them nicely or he’ll have to ticket them.

                Whatever the particular problem is, send the right type of professional to deal with that problem. Don’t expect the police to be every solution to every problem.

                So what exactly do you think the job duties of a police officer should be?

                1. Don’t they already have detectives do that?

                  Well it depends. It’s usually the police who write reports for things like traffic accidents right?

                  So what exactly do you think the job duties of a police officer should be?

                  I don’t know, but I am at least glad we are having this discussion. The police cannot do *everything*.

                  1. I don’t know, ……
                    My shocked face!

                    1. You unveiled the limits of his sophistry. Will he notice?

                  2. Well it depends. It’s usually the police who write reports for things like traffic accidents right?

                    Sure, but unless someone got clobbered by a car while crossing the intersection, there’s a bit of a difference between that and an actual crime scene.

                    The police cannot do *everything*.

                    I agree with that, but defunding them, or outright closing them down altogether like some of these balloonheads are advocating, is the exact opposite of what needs to be done to take some of that burden off their shoulders. You actually need to give these departments more resources to hire paper pushers to handle the chickenshit shit stuff like traffic reports.

                    1. ;”You actually need to give these departments more resources to hire paper pushers to handle the chickenshit shit stuff like traffic reports.”

                      No you don’t. Unarmed paper pushers (with no power to arrest anyone) are cheaper than armed enforcers. Once you start using unarmed paper pushers for all the chicken shit stuff, they won’t need so many armed enforcers. Reduce the number of armed enforcers to fund the paper pushers.

        2. I used to work the night shift in a machine shop in a bad area. I saw a dude take a 300 lb. hooker (don’t believe it? You’d be surprised what people will pay to have sex with) behind a dumpster in the alley to do the “nasty”. The same dumpster that many, many street people stopped at to relieve themselves. Sex with a giant pig behind a urine soaked dumpster. Yuck.

          So I kinda get how the cops can dehumanize some of the dregs they have to deal with. Should they be killing them? Of course not. But most of the cop haters have no idea what they see every day. Bunch of privileged whiny pussies like Jeff who like virtue signaling, but wouldn’t last 10 minutes in the hood. Too funny.

          1. ” But most of the cop haters have no idea what they see every day.”

            Don’t care. If they can’t deal with it without turning into trigger happy psychopaths, they need to find new careers.

            If that means we can’t find enough suitable candidates to maintain such large police forces, so be it.

            1. Yup. I said they shouldn’t be killing them. Kinda covered that.

  11. With ENB waxing rhapsodic about chilling effects and banning speech and Shackford banning badthink television, it’s getting harder to tell Reason apart from Vox and Salon.

    1. I heard Ezra Klein sent the Kochs an offer. $50. They’re still considering.

    2. Vox doesn’t have comments, and Salon moderates theirs.

    3. She quoted fucking Yglesias again this morning. She wants to Voxplain so badly.

  12. First they came for the General Lee, and I did not speak out—because I did not a Dodge.

    Ladies and gentlemen, Reason has left the building.

    1. because I did not DRIVE a Dodge.

      1. Why do you hate Al Bundy?

  13. there’s nothing wrong with Apu

    also did Body Cam fall prey to this nonsense? it was supposed to start last Tuesday and ID aired something else

  14. Should Javier Ambler’s family sue A&E?

  15. IMO the big problem with these kinds of shows is less about the human misery aspect (although that is important), but more about how they undermine the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”. Sure those shows all have an announcer that SAY the phrase, but all the camera footage speaks otherwise. Sure it might be hilarious to see some guy on TV clearly stoned and saying “no officer, I haven’t been smoking pot”, but as a matter of law, that guy is innocent of a crime at that very moment and should be regarded as such. Plus shows like that just perpetuate bad stereotypes. It’s the (generally minority) person who gets hassled by the cops. Is there a COPS show that depicts arrests of investment bankers who defraud their clients? You’ll see the guy arrested for stealing a car. Will you see the guy arrested for identity theft? How about the guy arrested for wage theft? The show presents a very distorted picture of crime.

    1. Meh, being a cop is a job, people are interested in the day-to-day of that job. Otherwise there would be no such thing as the Cop Drama genre.

    2. Hint: If you’re watching Law & Order, the rich white guy did it.

      1. And that show presents another distorted view of crime, just distorted in another direction. However, at least L&O has going for it that it is explicitly a fictional show, unlike COPS which is “reality TV” and the people in the show are not paid actors.

        1. What is distorted about showing the actual police on their actual calls? This like how any hidden camera footage that is inconvenient for you proggy fvcksticks is “selectively edited”

          1. As I said, it only shows the alleged crimes committed by the hoodlums in the ghettos. It does not show any of the other crimes committed elsewhere. You won’t see Bernie Madoff getting arrested on an episode of Cops.

            1. You are full of fucking shit. It shows white people, asians. Hispanics, everyone. It also shows calls for lost children and such.

              You are such a fucking ignorant person.

              You’re bitching it doesnt show white collar arrests?!? They fucking turn themselves in through the lawyers or go to the stations. How fucking dumb are you?

      2. I remember an early episode of CSI that was based on a real life incident. In the episode, a rich white male asshole lawyer hit a homeless person, who got embedded in the car’s windshield, and the lawyer just left him there to die, like the heartless scumbag he was. In the real life incident, the perpetrator was a black female nurse.

        1. Who would have gotten away with it, had she not run her mouth off about it at a party a few months later. Despite the deceased being still covered in glass and paint from her car, and being dumped in a nearby park.

          If you don’t know your victim, and no one witnesses you kill your victim, the cops have an awfully tough time solving most homicides.

    3. Oh look, cytotoxic is back to whinge about COPS unfairly portraying black crime. Too bad COPS actually started eliminating black and hispanic perpetrators from the show after the Old Dominion “study” in 2004, and couldn’t film enough content with exclusively white perpetrators to fill their episode orders. Kinda borne out by the FBI statistics showing that black people commit over half of the nation’s crime. Whoopsie!

      1. Innocent until proven guilty and equality before the law dictates that there should be at least one guilty investment banker for every drunk driver and car thief, why are the racist cops only arresting the drunk drivers? Why are the racist TV producers only interested in televising the car thieves?

        Poor, stupid, chemjeff.

        1. No, dumbass, I meant exactly what I said, not your warped view of it: that that show gives a distorted view of what crime is. You only see the hoodlums in the ghettos. You don’t see the white collar criminals.

          1. So you’re telling me a show called COPS that follows the exploits of beat officers patrolling streets somehow or other ended up portraying street crimes rather than white collar crimes that are investigated by the SEC and IRS? What a fucking insight bro. Have you ever considered becoming a professional media analyst?

            1. You don’t see the white collar criminals.

              You know the other thing you don’t see? Lawyers. Smart people refuse to get interrogated on the street without one.

              1. Or to talk with the cops at all. Go read David Simon’s book, the guy who wrote “The Wire”, about the year or two he spent embedded with Baltimore P.D.’s Robbery/Homicide Squad. It is an amazing insight in 80s big city policing.

                Anyway, in his book, he writes about a Mobbed-up guy who was suspected of committing the odd killing from time to time. The cops would pick him up. He’d be polite, they’d politely ask him if he knew anything or wanted to tell them anything, he’d tell them no, ask for his attorney. They’d leave him alone in the interrogation room, he’d say nothing, and eventually bond out if they actually had PC to arrest, but usually just let him go.

                Contrast with most people, who’d try to lie their way out of trouble. Naturally, they’d hang themselves. Good idea, trying to lie their way past a guy who listens to criminals lying to him 8 hours a day.

                Great book.

                1. Mob guy understand that, if they are asking him questions, they probably don’t have anything. Meanwhile, in your typical minor street crime case, if the cops are talking to you they probably already have enough but are just hoping you’ll make their job even easier.

          2. Then make your own show.
            I’m sure they’ll all sign the release

          3. You only see the hoodlums in the ghettos. You don’t see the white collar criminals.

            So point a camera at a white collar criminal in the act of committing a crime. And I don’t want any excuses about the exclusivity of opportunity for committing white collar crime and the visible or superficial inaccessibility of the crimes themselves. After all, you know that there are just as many white collar criminals out there and their crimes are just as accurately captured in a visible medium.


            1. White collar cases, if they did get filmed would mostly consist of very dull film of arrest and/or search warrants being served. Little if any dialogue and certainly nothing more dramatic than cops carrying out shoe boxes full of receipts.

              1. They have cop shows about white collar criminals. They’re called documentaries.

        2. Well, when many of those “crimes” involve doing what Al Sharpton wanted 20 years ago, it Really doesn’t make for compelling TV

    4. Nah I agree with the human misery argument. People say the show gets consent, but a lot of suspect interviewed say they didn’t give consent or felt coerced. Even if it were just buyers remorse, its pretty awful not to be sensitive to it. There are also cases where someone arrested turns out to be innocent, but the show never reports it.

      However, the idea that white people are going think all black people are criminals because the black people on COPS are criminals is idiotic, and a condescending, racist view of whites. Its part of the problem with the “cancel culture” mentality we have now. Unless HBO puts up a condescending intro before Gone with the Wind, we’re going to be too stupid to understand issues around slavery. Unless all Confederate statues are taken down, we’re going to be too stupid to realize that slavery is a bad thing.

      1. the idea that white people are going think all black people are criminals because the black people on COPS are criminals

        That is not what I said, please don’t put words in my mouth.

        I said it presents a distorted view of crime, that it is perpetrated by hoodlums in the ghettos. We never see any other crime that’s committed elsewhere.

        1. Yea, sure I agree they focused on lower class crimes because its better TV for them. They did include white suspects, though. Not sure viewers don’t understand there’s crime that occurs out of poor neighborhoods.

        2. What I’ve seen of Cops, it’s mostly white trash in the trailer park.
          Have you ever seen the show?

    5. There are at least two shows on cable that consistently lock up white guys: “Wardens” on one of the Sportsman channels, and “North Woods Law” on Animal Planet. It follows game wardens around arresting good ol boys. Exclusively armed white dudes.

  16. Libertarians for V-Chip? Everything old is new again.

  17. Don’t mourn shows that exploit real-life human misery.

    But enough about Rachel Maddow.

    1. That’s Mister Maddow to you.

  18. Now imagine an entire social media platform founded on hot takes about human misery.

  19. These shows don’t provide real transparency.


  20. I have several friends that are in law enforcement and they all love these tv shows. I can’t understand why!

  21. the man apologizes for being nervous

    Well, he doesn’t want to be choked/tazed/shot to death.

  22. Yeah, no. Live PD is fantastic. The last thing we need is destroying a genuine avenue into police transparency. Exploiting human misery? These people weren’t forced to commit crimes against their will.

    A&E just pulled a BBC. Top Gear returned, so will Live PD.

    1. Since this is all happening to public employees doing their jobs then it should be made public.

      Not that I personally want to watch it. Stupid people annoy the shit out of me IRL, I don’t need more when I’m trying to relax.

  23. Can anyone suggest a site for libertarian views on current news topics?

    You know, one that would discuss the impact on individual choice of mob cancellation of shows popular enough to be making money instead of personal preference whining?

    1. We’re on our own man.

      We just have to hope some Reason writers hold the line.

      There’s not enough bite. They really need to find their ‘fuck you’ edge.

      1. And Glibs is an echo chamber.

        1. Then go and make it less so!

    2. Didn’t there used to be a magazine or something like that?…

    3. Don’t make me do your work for you, slaver. If this isn’t you’re cup of tea, try learning to use Google sometime.

  24. Live PD showed cops in a real light and it was probably good for the police but thats why it had to be canceled since it was counter to the message that all cops are bad.

  25. I don’t know man Jacob. I think you’re reaching. It’s just entertainment and entertainment with an audience. Jesus fucken Christ. We really are a weak bunch of pussies now.

    At the very least it showed cops weren’t always bad, no?

    But above all, I don’t think the murder of a career criminal is justification for all this retarded faux-righteousness going on. It’s bloody suffocating the hypocrisy.

    My brother in law had one of those outdoors bushmen shows pre-empted because fucking Oprah had to have some racial show on. Pissed him off. And rightfully so.

    Everyone’s a disingenuous fucking asshole.

  26. The popular culture in general and these show in particular deify cops and it’s been that way for decades. It wasn’t always that way. Watch a Humphrey Bogart movie from the 30s or even Chinatown and you get a much different portrayal. The only thing I’ve seen in the last 30 years that might be close to reality is The Wire and even there the cops goal is to put people in prison for making their own choices about what to put in their own bodies. COPS has been cheerleading the WOD from it’s inception and every one of the very few episodes I’ve seen featured people who do not know their legal rights being entrapped by costumed thugs. The reason cops get iron clad union contracts, immunities and are virtually never convicted of their crimes under color of law is that a majority of the population is convinced they’re all heroes like the cops on TV. I get all the arguments about woke censorship and we’d be better off if nobody watched this shit in the first place. But if the culture is finally outgrowing it’s infatuation with the police state I could not be happier.
    Actually here’s an even better idea.

    1. Miss that guy. But I’m discovering some of his stuff I never heard before.

    2. It doesn’t stop at cops though. We hero worship the fuck out of too many professions and people. The latest being health care workers and public health officials like Fauci – though his 15 minutes seem up.

      It was a good teaching moment for my daughter. Told her don’t make heroes out of people. That’s not to say there aren’t legit heroes but my point was when it makes it to commercials and is widespread, you have to be skeptical about it.

      The thing I find interesting that after watching one too many of those ads applauding health care workers I looked into who really is at risk or dying from it. Turns out, surprise. social workers (ie those in nursing homes) were most at risk and most likely to die from DA WOOHAN.

      But I don’t see kids holding up ‘thank you’ cards for them.

    3. I wonder if in the early 20th century more cops and departments were openly corrupt, and more people just expected that.

    4. The Wire featured a precinct commander who defied the law and set up a drug amnesty zone, dumbass

    5. The culture probably started changing in the late 70s and early 80s. You had cop shows like Chips, TJ Hooker, The Rockford Files, and Hill Street Blues. That stuff really went into overdrive after Law and Order came out. Sure, there were exceptions such as films like Cop Land, and An Innocent Man that showed corrupt cops in action, but they were quite rare.

      Cop shows have filled the “face/heel” dynamic that’s critical to most dramatic storylines because, let’s face it, in real life most criminals are shitbags. Making an antagonist for a detective or federal police agency to catch is one of the easiest plotlines to recreate.

      1. And in real life, most people just don’t deal with cops that often.
        I know it seems like the cops are running around abusing half the population each and every day because Reason runs 5 articles daily about them doing that, but most people might see cops driving around and thats about it.
        They don’t see them as an oppressive, ever present force because… they’re mostly not

        1. Yeah, if you live in a decent neighborhood, you’ll rarely see a cop. The only time I ever see them is if they’re driving along the highway, getting coffee at the gas station, or hanging out by a corner looking to nab a speeder or two. Bad neighborhoods are going to have a lot more police interaction.

          There’s exceptions, but they’re ones that prove the rule.

    6. Those films and a lot of the earlier shows were mostly detective mysteries. My favorite is Colombo and I still watch the reruns.

      One thing about that show is there is never any police brutality. Colombo always is respectful even when he is being intrusive. Well that was his shtick and just fiction.

      Never got into the reality cop shows. There is enough of that on the news.

  27. “These shows, and others like them, have turned human misery into entertainment”

    So ban making light or drama of misery, and what’s left? Educational TV and the weather channel (and only the boring original version before they got into weather porn).

    1. Orrrrr… personalities engaging in porn as they give there wrong forecast.

      You have to THINK.

    2. The Weather Channel is the epitome of turning human misery into entertainment. Plus occasional hilarity when they are caught faking the severity of the event.

  28. “says a black man in handcuffs at a traffic stop in Berkley County, South Carolina. Cpl. Steve Zubkoff has detained him because he smelled marijuana in the car.”
    How fast was he going when Officer Zubkoff smelled the wacky backy? So does Reason think it’s Reasonable for people to drive impaired? Or just people of color?

    1. the smell of marijuana, like the smell of alcohol, is no proof the driver was impaired. libertarians would require an actual crime before depriving someone of his freedom.

      1. A smoking gun is no proof either.

  29. The shows were bad, but they were a public service, to show everyone what a bunch of yahoos were cops.

  30. Shows that glorify police are just authoritarian porn that will not be missed except by low intelligence cop suckers.

    1. So, no more Law and Order: SVU for you, then?

      1. Exactly. I stopped watching cop shows years ago.

    2. You should watch Alaskan State Troopers. The whole premise of the show is basically:

      What if COPS was filmed in a place where the police lived under the assumption that everyone was armed, but instead of freaking out all the time, officers were courteous and professional?

      Also, throw in some large wild animals from time to time.

      I don’t think that I’ve ever seen any of the police on that show fire their weapon at a person.

  31. The only thing I hated about Cops is the 95% of all the stops were pretext traffic stops to lock someone up for possession.

    Which was sad because its instructive to watch PD’s on DV or burglary, etc stops.

    But all Cops ever gets footage of – or at least all they thought was worth showing – is the boot to the neck.

  32. I prefer “The first 48” anyways. The show that demonstrates that of all murderers stupid enough to get caught in 48 hours, 97% are black.

    In one episode the criminal is heard saying,


    To which the detective replied,

    “The judge said you’re going to the can-coon.”

  33. Where’s Dunphy when you need him?

    1. Surf must be up. Or Morgan wanted to go grab breakfast.

  34. These shows were blatant propaganda that people were free to not watch. But in the like vein A&E and Fox are free to cancel the shows if they felt the shows were losing popularity with key demographic targets.

    Personally, I never cared for Cops and never knew the other existed. Cops was too often like watching prancing, self-important tax collectors pretending to wage righteous war on people simply living their lives.

    1. Losing popularity, LivePD was the biggest show in its time slot. I wouldn’t care either if the case were otherwise but what many don’t like is canceling for virtue signaling purposes

  35. On the other hand, these also showed a lot of the human trash that is really out there — living far away from unaffordable hipster and progressive neighborhoods. Progressives need to see it, but they don’t watch it.

  36. I don’t mourn those shows at all. I watched one episode once years and years ago, and found it appalling. I realized it was aimed at a particular demographic, the same demographic that was into “Ow My Balls!” style home videos. Let’s watch some cops bust the heads of Blacks. Latinos, and Po’Whites over victimless crimes. And declare them guilty before world without even a trial.

    Okay sure, the wife beaters had it coming to them. That’s not a victimless crime. But why the fuck is anyone watching a show about wife beaters? Good riddance.

    1. A lot of America lives in an environment where they don’t really believe spouse beaters of the types shown on Cops really exist. Shows like Cops open them up to that reality.

  37. Also, all those Confederate Statues were erected in the 20s. Erected during the KKK friendly Wilson administration. The same administration that segregated the armed forces. Same era when Birth of a Nation was released. They were erected during the height of Jim Crow and an era of overt racial animosity towards Blacks.

    1. Nelson Mandela was considered a terrorist for his actions leading the ANC.

      Take down every statue in his honour, strip him of the Pulitzer and make speaking his name an act of hatred.


      1. Monuments are supposed to in honor of? If we no longer honor that person or the cause shouldn’t we be free to take the down?

        1. If you had a clue what honour means you’d know that it’s not something to discard on a whim.

        2. LauraZ – Rob is known on these forums to be a racist Anti-semite looney. Also not too fond of women with opinions. Pay him no mind.

          1. Who the fuck are you but some whack-a-mole bigot troll?

            It obviously doesn’t need coaching from you on how not to consider, much less address an argument.

      2. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. The terrorists won, the media made them the heroes and in 25 years South Africa was reformed from a first world economy to a struggling banana republic riddled with corruption and nepotism, begging for handouts.. BLM and the like will do the same to America.

  38. The velvet chains of ignorance as comforting as they may seem become thorny when recognized for what they are.

    If you are the slightest bit uncomfortable discussing ANY subject you are wearing those chains.

    You are both slave and slaver.

  39. It’s amazing to be what garbage people will watch …

  40. These shows are not expected to explore all aspects of the justice system or what causes people to fall into it and no rational viewer expect them to.

    No one expects these shows to delve into the background of each person that the police interact with to determine why they have outstanding warrants. Is it because their great-great-great grandfather was a slave for a couple years? Is it because they are the third generation of fatherless homes? Is it because they chose to eschew education and steal stuff instead of getting a job? That would take a ten minute segment and turn it into a 20 hour series of people arguing about the cause. This is little different than This Old House failing to delve deeply into why their homeowners usually seem to be quite well heeled – and no one expects that show to do so. These police shows are about the “on the streets” day-to-day enforcement of the law interacting with the citizenry.

    Anyone watching these shows, esp. Cops, also knows interactions are cherry picked for their entertainment value and therefore are not representative of the tedium of the hour-to-hour work of most police officers (for example, they never show police filling out “paperwork” after an arrest). It is in this context people watch the shows.

    These shows do educate the public into some of behaviors of street thugs and of police approach to conflict situations. Arguably these shows “exploit” the misfortune of people who don’t respect the rule of law — but there’s really no way to cover this without doing so. Should we also not cover wars because that is exploiting the misfortune of people who are injured or killed — just keep all that secret because “government knows best”.

    I’m sad to see Live PD cancelled although I only watched it occasionally. It included third party expert commentary explaining what/why police were doing what they were doing. True, they didn’t include a Social Justice “Defund Police” Warrior for balance, but again anyone with an IQ slightly above room temperature knew that and would look elsewhere for alternative points of view.

  41. I never thought Cops glorified the police, although it was certainly not an even-handed expose. It was by watching Cops that I realized the drug sniffing dogs are complete fraud, that most of the people that police encounter are remarkably stupid, that most of the encounters are escalated needlessly by the police, and that in poor neighborhoods, white or black, even the adults are children.

  42. Well it sure gave me the idea that Tampa FLA is full of shirtless white guys w/o teeth running from a meth lab in an old RV.

  43. Shackford is what is wromg with America. Get rid of the Shackfords, extremist leftists and BLM, The police are your friend, doing a dirty, extremely dangerous job and being taunted and undermined by the Shackford mentality.

  44. “exploit real-life human misery” You have GOT to be kidding!!!! But it is OK to show nit-wits wasting $$$ on trash OR naked couples in jungle survival, WHICH I AM CERTAIN ALMOST NOBODY REALLY NEEDS!! “exploit real-life human misery” How about, “Show how desperately FOOLish & EVIL people are and our desperate need for the Thin Blue Line standing between the good and the jungle!!!” This writer is perfect proof that this nation has become a nation of bed-wetters!!!

  45. really reason? this turd of heavily edited pablum for the lumps is hardly a cause for your attention…what’s next? TV shows are pretend from start to finish…this one included. they PAY the bohunks to be their trained chimps.

  46. Until third paragraph from bottom of article, I had been wondering whether Mr. Shackford had ever witnessed an episode of Live PD.

    These youth today couldn’t make a careful decision but to save their own life. Well, there were some truth to this canvassing statement, anyways.

    If the show’s production crew were to OMIT the more severe police interactions, then viewers would begin to think they’d be safe during a police encounter, that every officer were a Officer Friendly, and that their liberty has nothing to fear from being completely obedient to every request of their own personal state-issued dominatrix. Then much more brutal encounters could be lurking in the system’s customers’ future.

    Since Reason appears to have promoted compassionate use law policies in past days, let’s take a moment to consider that a fair & balanced form of news reporting may just have to err on the side of realism just often enough to represent just how bad encounters can get — all the while, I remind our reader, that Live PD is not known to be staging nor causing any of these brutal encounters out of some motive, political and/or profit.

    Thanks for reading.

  47. “The First 48” has to go. 90% of the victims and the killers are black people.

  48. A libertarian wanting less freedom of what should be on television?

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