CBS tried to reform the cop show. Police reform advocates are not impressed by a show about cops that was so awful.
A new study released by The Pew Research Center looks at the state of police reform nationwide, comparing two decades of coverage of the discipline with the corresponding time periods before and after the 1995 New York Times series on the subject.
The first of those comparisons — a 17-year period from 1975 to 1995 — covers the period when the Times revealed that New York City’s police department had been involved in widespread abuse of prisoners, and when the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times took on the police department in a series that was seen by many as a watershed moment in the history of the discipline.
The second comparison — covering the seven years after the series ended — covers a period when the Times was widely believed to be a more critical voice on police matters.
The study looked at 24 different reform-oriented topics, including the use of force, the department’s use of stop-and-frisk, stop-and-arrest policies and the relationship between law enforcement and urban crime. The Pew study is the first to compare the years between the Times series and its aftermath, and among those studies it found a general decline in the coverage of police reform, particularly when it comes to the Times’ coverage of a series of investigations that appeared in the first half of the study period.
It also found that the coverage of police reform was worse in the years after the Times series ended. The study was paid for as a collaboration by the Pew Research Center and the American Enterprise Institute, and the study’s conclusions were also reported last month by the Washington Post.
“The coverage of police reform was weaker after the Times’ expose, but remains at a much lower level than before,” the study found. “Even in the final months of the series, the Times ran about 15 stories, compared with two stories in the final months of the 1975-1995 period.”
The study found the coverage of police reform was worse in the years after the Times series ended. The study was paid for as a collaboration by the Pew Research Center and the American Enterprise Institute.
A Pew analysis of a few other years’ worth of coverage also found a smaller decrease