Live PD is sort of like long-running hit show Cops, except that everything on the show is aired live (with an undisclosed delay) and unedited. In one instance, a South Carolina mother was watching the A&E show when she found out—along with everyone else watching the show—that her son had been shot dead. The twice-weekly show is a huge hit, its viewership having grown 92% since it premiered in October, but at the Outline, Ann-Derrick Gaillot calls it "the most disturbing show on TV." The show's creator has said the series is "a natural extension of dashboard cameras and body cameras, and trying to present a more complete story, to answer the public’s call for transparency." But, writes Gaillot, that claim is "absurd."
Police officers explain the action on the show, meaning it's set up for viewers to sympathize with police while viewers are not given any meaningful background or context on the communities being policed. Viewers are sometimes subjected to violence and death. They also see arrests that may or may not lead to a conviction. And all of this is often happening in places where more people than average live below the poverty line, "reinforcing the impression that poor people are inclined to crime." And then, of course, there's the fact that all of this is presented as entertainment. What A&E is "actually broadcasting is a monetized spectacle of the problems that plague the criminal justice today, namely a broken police system that targets low-income communities and people of color." Click for Gaillot's full piece. (Read more police stories.)