Abrams: NBC ‘special’ a one-sided police put-down

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — NBC’s “Meet the Press” normally concentrates on politics in Washington and beyond, but this week, the long-running Sunday morning show devoted an entire hour to a topic that piqued my interest: policing in America.

Obviously, I was very curious, as that’s a topic I am very interested in. I was hopeful that the show would take a deep look at policing in the U.S. by examining crucial topics including the struggles with recruiting new officers, low morale, overly critical media coverage of the profession, low pay that’s not at all commensurate with their incredibly difficult responsibilities, as well as the high-profile incidents that have undermined faith in police.

And then I realized that this “special” was really just a way to bash police again. Sadly, but not surprisingly, given the way left-leaning media tends to cover policing, the show featured just one pro-police advocate defending the profession against three police critics. Law enforcement didn’t get anything close to a fair shake.

“Meet the Press” examined “policing in America” entirely through the prism of a single police brutality case. The show spent the entire hour discussing Anton Black, a 19-year-old African-American man who died in police custody in Caroline County, Maryland, in 2019.

Black had a Taser used on him and was then pinned down on a ramp by three officers who handcuffed him and held him down for six minutes. He then died of sudden cardiac arrest. Black’s family eventually settled a federal lawsuit with three local municipalities for $5 million.

One of the officers involved, Thomas Webster, was implicated in 32 use-of-force allegations during his prior tenure in a Delaware police department, including one incident in which Webster was indicted, but found not guilty, for second-degree assault for kicking a suspect in the face and knocking him unconscious.

But in 2021, Maryland passed Anton’s Law, which requires more transparency for police disciplinary records when officers switch jurisdictions. I think that’s actually a good thing. In fact, that was one of a series of police reforms the state enacted.

And that brings us to the obvious question: why did “Meet the Press” feel the need to cherry-pick a case from three years ago to hold up as some sort of symbol? They billed their show as an examination of policing in America. But what they really did was examine the problems with police. And they used a single years-old case to do it.

Let me be clear: I’m not defending the police tactics in this case. Five-million-dollar civil settlements don’t happen all the time. But it seems many of the issues raised were addressed with a sweeping series of reforms in the state of Maryland. But that doesn’t gin up outrage.

The politicized media here sought to use this single incident to attack police more broadly. This is what they see as an examination of “policing in America.” It’s like doing a special on “school lunches in America” and focusing on one story about a kid who got sick off a sloppy joe three years ago.

And that’s the big problem here, as you see with so much coverage of police in the politicized press. If they had billed it as an advocacy piece, I would have had less of an issue. But policing in America ought to include the countless examples of police heroism and the challenges officers face today.

Will we see that featured on a future episode of “Meet the Press”? I’m not holding my breath.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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