Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Television Depictions Worry Others

Ha! In USA TODAY today (February 13, 2007), there was a small article on the op-ed page about how the hit TV show 24 has showed a lot of torture scenes and, oh my, the military is upset.

Now you can hear me talking?! Yes, if you’ve been watching Jack Bauer this year you’ll note that the writers have ramped up the scenes in this new season with some good things and some very stupid things. Okay, the stupid thing first: bad government. Yeah, there is always some political figure who is either in cahoots with someone, has no ethics or brain, or is planning their own plot intrigue. I’d say, if you were from a visiting country and watched 24, you’d probably get the idea our government is badly run. (Need we say more about our political image around the world?)

But the problem the military officials are moaning about is the frequency with which the pretend CTU unit uses torture to get key information; (so far this year, Jack Bauer’s not doing real well in the "getting good information" scenario). Anyway, the editorial committee at USA TODAY wants us to know that in real life: [Quote] “. . .ticking bomb scenarios like this almost never occur, and torture rarely works. Suspects will make up anything to stop the pain or humiliation.” [That’s an end-quote, not my words]

Of course, I don’t know anything about the military and their sneaky tactics. I also don’t know anything about torture of any kind (thank heaven), but I do know that the military doesn’t like pop culture making claims in the name of fiction that damage their policy or image, especially when it comes to the terrorism fight that is on-going. (I just wrote about the Patriot Act for the 2nd edition of my book Legal Ease: A Guide to Criminal Law, Evidence and Procedure, and, if you have not read the Patriot Act, you will be mightily surprised at the liberties that are taken away from us—but I digress.)

So the military is upset about television depictions! Hel-oo-o. That’s what I’ve been saying on behalf of forensic science! How do you think the criminal justice system feels about all the stupid things that are “created” on television that one can only call bad infotainment? It’s hard enough to make real life work, when people believe that forensic science and law enforcement can do all these made-up things that are almost all but impossible in a lot of criminal cases. Reality folks, can be the pits. And here I am having a hard time selling a book that will teach people who love the TV crime drama shows what is real and what is totally absurd—and I can’t get a publisher to take it on. What? the American public doesn’t want their bubble burst? They want to believe that things operate like they do on Bones, or CSI—Las Vegas? They want to get on a real life jury and make decisions about someone's future or very life when they don't know what's real? Pu-leese. Think on that.



sunshine said...

Hi Mrs. Campbell,

I got "updated" with your site and caught up with some of the reading and I absolutely think you're doing a really good job! You talked about the show 24 [I don't watch TV, but I'm guessing it's a 'govt' show] and realized that even shows that aren't involving CSI or forensic science are inaccurate, too!

Please keep up with your blogs!!

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