In just eight days, my Facebook video post (beware deplorable language) revealing shocking protester behavior towards police has drawn nearly 1.5 million views. Over 26,000 people I do not know, from all walks of life, have shared the brief video with others.
The video strikes a nerve and reaction to it sends a message worth noting.
Many media outlets, some political leaders and a few race-baiting profiteers have painted a picture of America with contempt for police. New York State’s Attorney General said “everyone is at risk” because the trust between police and the communities they serve has broken down.
Yet, thousands of comments from those who watched the shared video tell a different story. These citizens present overwhelming support and empathy for law enforcement and a rising tide of anger on how all police are being portrayed.
Rusty Devine commented: “If they (the protesters) truly thought cops were that bad would they be in their faces like that? NO WAY!!!” Victoria Van Soest Hare wrote, “So sad…The next generation…We’re screwed!!!!!”
Some responses have come from African-Americans, including this one from Nyetta Abernathy: “We need to teach our children how to take their anger and use it in a productive way. This is terrible and makes the situation worse.”
No police misconduct is acceptable. Those who misuse their authority should be held accountable. But targeting the police avoids the more difficult challenges.
A Justice Department report reveals black youth commit violent crime at a rate five times higher than whites. And other blacks are the most frequent victims of their crimes. This gap is a result of many complex social, economic and cultural problems. Change will only occur when those issues are addressed, working together. Sticking a middle finger into a cop’s face won’t fix anything.
Graphic TV ads attempting to persuade people to quit smoking get strong reactions from the people who view them. Just ask TV stations about healthcare’s version of negative ads: “We know they are having an impact when we get many hateful calls about them asking us to remove them from the air,” said one TV assignment desk editor.
One of the most striking ads features Terrie Hall of North Carolina who reaches for her wig and fake teeth and speaks through a voice box. Sadly, the ad has outlived her. She died of cancer in 2013.
The ads do get noticed, which is the first challenge any ad faces. The Centers for Disease Control claims their ads work, leading to hundreds of thousands of calls to their stop smoking hotline. And it says, a fair chunk of those callers wind up quitting.
But should the millions of viewers who don’t smoke be subjected to them, while in the comfort of their own living rooms? And could other ads, not so graphic, also work well to get people to quit?
Taxpayers finance the ads. So a greater sensitivity to their reactions, from millions of people, should be expected from our government. The shotgun approach — distribution to a such a mass audience — could be refined to a more targeted audience, especially given the capabilities of social media today.
Local TV stations are responsible for everything they air. But it’s not practical to expect them to cover every one of the cancer ads given their high frequency.
If you have a complaint, you may be better off calling your Congressional representative, not the station. The ads are a public policy initiative.