Unchecked Power

I knew a woman when we were both in college. She is Hispanic. Her parents were both very successful and they lived in a beautiful home. She and her siblings all went to good schools and got excellent college educations. She always dressed conservatively and was never an excessive partier.

Due to life happening we hadn’t spoken in several decades. When we did finally meet again, we sat and talked for several hours catching up on life. I wasn’t surprised by her liberal viewpoint on politics and life. After all, we’re entitled to our own opinions. What surprised me was her attitude towards the police. She was terrified of police officers.

I asked if she had any traumatic run-ins with officers and she said no. She further stated that she didn’t have any friends who had been mistreated by officers either. She hadn’t seen any police brutality in her life. Her only personal experience with police officers was one traffic violation several years ago. She said the officer had been polite and professional, but she’d felt extremely intimidated.

Further conversation revealed her only information about the police came from the media. She kept going back to how she heard on the news about a police officer shooting or beating someone. She had never experienced it or witnessed it, but she believed it so strongly she feared any police officer. It seemed to skip her mind that I was a 30-year veteran, recently retired from the Chicago Police Department because she showed no fear of me.

Any logic or rationale behind her irrational feelings is beyond me. Other than she may have some issues with authority figures for whatever psychological reasons there are, I could see only one reason for her almost phobic fear of law enforcement officers.

Her only source of negative input about officers was from the news media. Her own personal experiences took second place to what the little electronic box in her living room told her. My friend had come to believe the media slander and had become anti-police because of the news media’s biased reporting and liberal agenda.

unchecked power

Here is a successful educated businesswoman who was so easily swayed and brainwashed by the stories she heard on TV and radio. You would think there should be some sort of law that would require the media to be fair and present both sides of the issue. There isn’t. There was an FCC policy enacted in 1949 that required the holders of broadcast licenses both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was—in the FCC’s view—honest, equitable, and balanced. The FCC eliminated the policy in 1987 and removed the rule that implemented the policy from the Federal Register in August 2011.

They are still required to give equal time to political candidates. The FCC rules only applied to broadcast networks. Cable services like CNN don’t broadcast over the airwaves and are exempt.

Think about it; a company that has such a dramatic influence over the wellbeing of the public that they can sway opinions simply with a few fast-talking soundbites and toothy smiles. This power is so great that with the last presidential election the affliction known as Trump Derangement Syndrome developed. This industry is completely unchecked and allowed to run amok.

I am a strong believer in the First Amendment along with the other thirty-two. However, you can’t shout FIRE in a crowded theater without a fire. There need to be checks and balances in all things in life. The damage that can be done with that much power outrageous.

These media networks worry this might lose them ad revenue. That’s not necessarily the case. CNN is losing its footing in the cable news market because viewers are starting to be put off by their aggressive and biased agenda. Fewer viewers mean lower ad revenues. A counter-point view might bring them back lost viewers and present a more balanced message.

Tell me what you think. I always enjoy and welcome your feedback. You are always welcome to share my articles.

Stay safe. Run Low and zigzag.

– Robert Weisskopf (ret. Lt. CPD)




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