What Does the Return of ‘Cops’ Mean and Who Is It For?

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Fox News Media’s revitalization of the show ‘Cops,’ which many feel promoted dedication and fearlessness of officers on camera while minimizing the harm of their aggressive methods and brutal police practices, raises the question of what the show is actually for, reports Charles Bramesco in an op-ed for The Guardian. Going to the online Fox hinterlands means that this latest iteration of ‘Cops’ won’t have to contend with the difficult question of what a humane, conscious version of the show might look like, he says.

Instead, the streaming platform Fox Nation will provide a safe space not just for the wayward TV property, but for the increasingly obsolete school of thought it represents, Bramesco says. It’s hard to picture, say, the participating officers going out on a 5150 call (mentally distressed suspect) with a social worker or health professional and trying to defuse the situation rather than wrestle it into submission, he points out. The show can’t function in a world where a traffic stop feels less like a spectator sport than the beginning of real horror in everyday life. That leaves only the amusement factor, the notion that there’s a viewership with a reliable desire to watch chases and tacklings, even (or perhaps especially) when they’re at the expense of the unstable, the inebriated and the helpless.

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