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Gutfeld, Watters Torch A&E for Canceling ‘Live PD,’ Which Dared to Show ‘Cops Are Human’

NOTE: One more time, I’m going to start with a disclaimer that I’ve been a longtime Live PD fan. Read the full note in my blog from Thursday night here.

The Five took its bite of the apple Thursday following Wednesday’s news that A&E would cancel the hit show Live PD on account of the fact that, in America 2020, the only acceptable assumption of police is they’re enemies of the people (unless proven otherwise). In this case, co-host Greg Gutfeld rallied to Live PD’s side despite the fact that he competed against them on Saturday nights with his eponymous FNC show.

“The show was a hit with revealing an unspeakable truth that cops are human. Maybe that’s why it was cancelled for showing the police as hardworking folks facing unpredictable and sometimes dangerous circumstances and because that didn’t fit the current narrative, it got pulled,” Gutfeld began, stating the reality that CNN and friends don’t want you to believe about police.

He continued by noting the role of cancel culture in this decision and how he should have been happy about the cancellation as he’ll now have a better chance of being the number one show on cable for Saturday nights (click “expand”):

[T]his reveals that the real censorship doesn’t arrive via autocracy but the emasculation of network execs. Here’s an idea. Replace Live PD with No PD to show crimes committed without cops around. Oh, yes, that was the riots, but the networks made sure not to show much of that. So will Live PD come back? Not when the media sees police as somehow worse than criminals and Live PD’s crime is showing the reality of policing ignored by other networks where cops are either relentlessly heroic or defiantly bad. And so A&E cancels it, censorship out of fear. Do you know that up to 440,000 Americans die each year from preventive hospital errors? That’s the third leading cause of death in the U.S. So shall we cancel Grey’s Anatomy and all those other hospital programs that show healthcare workers in an aspirational glow? 

And believe me. I say all of this knowing full well that Live PD was my competition. They put up great numbers every Saturday night, so I should be thrilled they got knocked out of the line up. I could be number one, but that’s stupid and wrong because I may not be number one. I may be next. 

Co-host Jesse Watters spoke out as a fan of the show, putting a spotlight on another unfortunate loss from the show’s cancellation, which was the painful side of “the human condition, especially when you got to see that methamphetamine and heroin have really ravaged large parts of this country.”

And as a longtime viewer, the opioid crisis has been one of the more painful topics broached on the show, going beyond an online or print newspaper story about the crisis to see people being caught in possession of or during an overdose on opioids.

So just as the hope of helping to bringing missing children home has been taken away and catching wanted fugitives, a source of education and awareness has been cancelled as well.

While not condoning it, another basic example that Watters noted was how those that don’t run or speed away from police are more likely to end with police writing a ticket or cutting you a break. Watters also touched on the ratings and how, in the end, it will do more harm than good to “social justice” (click “expand”):

As you said, you were right. It really humanizes the police and it gave you a crash course in criminal law. Like if you get pulled over with a small amount of cannabis, you don’t have to resist or run away. It’s just a ticket. Relax and if you’re cooperative and polite and respectful, the police usually give you a pass. Live PD was the truth. It was live, unscripted, unedited programming. Isn’t that what we want? Don’t we want millions of Americans to be watching what the cops are doing on the weekends? Don’t we want transparency, body cameras, full accountability. This is what this was. It did a million in the demo. Almost as good as you, Greg, but a million in the demo, which is astounding and it shows you how many people watch the show, black Americans, white Americans, Hispanic Americans, because you know, every hour, one of the bystanders of the subjects would look at the camera and say “Live PD! What up!”

So, it was probably internal pressure that caved because there was no boycott attempts. There was no mass insurrection on social media. I think they panicked at A&E and maybe they did make cops look good or they were guilty or they were just scared. But this hurts social justice. This doesn’t help social justice.

Again, as a viewer, such a sentiment was accurate. In some cases, officers would be willing to cut someone a break if they were honest about their tiny bag of pot and give them a pep talk. But for those that decided to flee (for whatever reason, drugs or not), the result rarely ended as the persued individual had hoped.

Co-host Juan Williams expressed discomfort with Live PD’s premise because such shows “oftentimes results in very negative portrayals” of all races. Similarly, co-host Dana Perino admitted that she “had a hard time ever watching any of these shows because I hated the feelings” of nervousness “that I got from it.”

She did concede that she felt bad for “Abrams because I think he had a good product” to which Gutfeld joked that he’s a liberal lawyer and co-founder of Mediaite “being eaten alive by his own” side.

In the rotating co-host slot, Emily Compagno sided with the broader topic of transparency and more cameras in the criminal justice system because “we need more footage” from “the entire criminal justice system, not less.”

To see the relevant FNC transcript from June 11, click “expand.”

FNC’s The Five
June 11, 2020
5:28 p.m. Eastern

GREG GUTFELD: So Live PD  has been pulled by A&E. The show was a hit with revealing an unspeakable truth that cops are human. Maybe that’s why it was cancelled for showing the police as hardworking folks facing unpredictable and sometimes dangerous circumstances and because that didn’t fit the current narrative, it got pulled and this reveals that the real censorship doesn’t arrive via autocracy but the emasculation of network execs. Here’s an idea. Replace Live PD with No PD to show crimes committed without cops around. Oh, yes, that was the riots, but the networks made sure not to show much of that. So will Live PD come back? Not when the media sees police as somehow worse than criminals and Live PD’s crime is showing the reality of policing ignored by other networks where cops are either relentlessly heroic or defiantly bad. And so A&E cancels it, censorship out of fear. Do you know that up to 440,000 Americans die each year from preventive hospital errors? That’s the third leading cause of death in the U.S. So shall we cancel Grey’s Anatomy and all those other hospital programs that show healthcare workers in an aspirational glow? And believe me. I say all of this knowing full well that Live PD was my competition. They put up great numbers every Saturday night, so I should be thrilled they got knocked out of the line up. I could be number one, but that’s stupid and wrong because I may not be number one. I may be next. So Jesse, you were a big fan of this show. I was always iffy because I didn’t like live programming showing people at their worst circumstances, you know when you’re really drunk and do something stupid.

JESSE WATTERS: That’s like this show.

GUTFELD: Yeah. Yes, yes, it is. Hey, so I always felt that the big lesson from Live PD was how substances played a role in like 90 percent of the — of these conflicts. Somebody is wasted and that unravels. It’s a lesson.

WATTERS: Yeah. It shows you the human condition, especially when you got to see that methamphetamine and heroin have really ravaged large parts of this country. As you said, you were right. It really humanizes the police and it gave you a crash course in criminal law. Like if you get pulled over with a small amount of cannabis, you don’t have to resist or run away. It’s just a ticket. Relax and if you’re cooperative and polite and respectful, the police usually give you a pass. Live PD was the truth. It was live, unscripted, unedited programming. Isn’t that what we want? Don’t we want millions of Americans to be watching what the cops are doing on the weekends? Don’t we want transparency, body cameras, full accountability. This is what this was. It did a million in the demo. Almost as good as you, Greg, but a million in the demo, which is astounding and it shows you how many people watch the show, black Americans, white Americans, Hispanic Americans, because you know, every hour, one of the bystanders of the subjects would look at the camera and say “Live PD! What up!” So, it was probably internal pressure that caved because there was no boycott attempts. There was no mass insurrection on social media. I think they panicked at A&E and maybe they did make cops look good or they were guilty or they were just scared. But this hurts social justice. This doesn’t help social justice.

GUTFELD: You know, Juan, in the monologue, I called it censorship which I realized in strictest definition, it’s not because this is you know, private companies. They can cancel a show whenever they want, but it is a — isn’t it a form of censorship when there’s — when people decide to close something down because they’re scared of, I don’t know, the media. I mean, it’s an external pressure that causes you to run away. It’s a — it’s a different — it’s a new kind of censorship.

JUAN WILLIAMS: So I was — I have a different take, Greg. I was thinking maybe it’s internal pressure. Maybe it’s an act of conscience. Maybe they, you know, are attuned to the fact that so much in the culture right now is so uncomfortable with the relationship that the police have with so many in the black community, but in the community in general in terms of use of excessive force and so they just think, you know, it’s just not right now. I — by the way, I had predicted to Jesse, that A&E would not cancel this show because the show is popular. I think it’s their number one show on A&E.

GUTFELD: It is, I think.

WILLIAMS: So, it — to me — so they took a real step, they made a real sacrifice by doing this, but I mean, from my perspective, I think it oftentimes results in very negative portrayals. Not only of black people, but Latinos, even poor white people. I mean, obviously, they’re not going into big law firms and finding, you know, some drug dealer in the bathroom. This is street crime. So it’s a heavy load of people on the streets and, you know, I can say directly to all of you. Would you want a TV camera in your face on the worst day of your life? And would you want that to be seen by all of America, the worst day of your life? I just think that’s what the show basically boiled down to is kind of, you know — you know, a peaky — a peak look at people in their most distressed, awful condition.

GUTFELD: Yeah, I mean, I always felt that I agree with that part, but I don’t think that’s the reason why it’s being canceled. Emily, I want to play you a clip from President Trump. We just heard this moments ago about what would happen if we didn’t have police.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I’m thinking, what happens late at night when you make that call to 911 and there’s nobody there? What do you — what do you do? [APPLAUSE] Whether you’re white, black or anybody else, I mean, what do you do when you’re dialing and there’s somebody breaking into a house and happens to be a violent person?

GUTFELD: Emily, you have a choice. You can discuss that topic or the topic we were doing on Live PD. It’s up to you.

EMILY COMPAGNO: Thank you. I’ll just quickly say I think we need — we need more footage, not less. I would love for the public to understand what happens in the 24 hours after voluntary surrender at jails on Mother’s Day in women’s jails, on Christmas at prisons, just everything, what’s printed on the outside of meat boxes going into the cafeterias. The public needs to see more of the entire criminal justice system, not less.

GUTFELD: You know, Dana, this is — this is a program owned by Dan Abrams, also owns something called Mediaite. I’m sure that won’t get canceled, but he’s a Dem — he’s a liberal. He’s a thoughtful liberal Democrat and he’s being eaten alive by his own.

DANA PERINO: So what’s interesting as I think that in some of the proposed legislation, federal money would not go to police departments that do not have everybody in body cams, right? So this footage is important in some ways, right? So they’re going to — they’re going to want that. I had a hard time ever watching any of these shows because I hated the feelings that I got from it. I would get so nervous for everybody. I remember getting pulled over one time for a speeding ticket and I was — I was mortified. I wanted to, like, self-punish myself. I feel bad for Abrams because I think he had a good product and they made a decision that a lot — well, it disappoint [sic] a lot of people.

GUTFELD: Yeah, you were right to be nervous, Dana, when you were pulled over speeding because you did have — you left out the fact that you had two bodies in the trunk. So that was back in the days when you were just roaming the countryside picking off drifters.

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