A+E Networks Cancels "Live PD" on A&E after Protests but Leaves Racist History Channel Shows on the Air
I outlined the many reasons History programs are insensitive and offensive last week.
A&E issued a statement after canceling Live PD:
This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD. […] Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them. And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments.
According to Deadline, the decision came less from altruistic reasons than from the vehemence of protestors demanding police reform. In other words, the problem was the optics of policing, not actual concern for minorities. Indeed, the show’s host, Dan Abrams, and producers disagreed with the network’s decision and claimed they would “fight for you,” the audience, to continue to broadcast law enforcement as a form of entertainment. Of course, we already have that—it’s called CBS.
This, however, explains why Ancient Aliens and its ilk haven’t fallen victim to the slow purge of racially insensitive programming. The racism isn’t the problem, only the optics of it. The aesthetics of antiquity coat History’s pseudo-documentaries a glossy mirage of truth that insulate them from the consequences of their own irresponsible speculation.
Plus, History has a predominantly older white audience, while A&E has a broader and more diverse audience, who are more likely to tune out insensitive programs as public opinion shifts.
If you would like to put pressure on the History Channel to do the right thing, you can contact their nine biggest advertisers (listed below in alphabetical order) and ask them to join responsible companies in pulling their ads from insensitive and damaging programs:
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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