Last night’s GOP debate focused on foreign policy, immigration and Donald Trump’s career, of course. But of the 34,818 words uttered over three hours of policy and personal attacks, none of them were about police violence and systemic racism.
Social media advocates were not pleased and tweeted their frustrations with CNN and right-wingers bypassing issues related to policing, race, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Police killed four people the same day as the #GOPDebate. Not. One. Word.— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) September 17, 2015
People #onhere tend to overestimate the number of police killed by civilians and underestimate number of civilians killed by police. (1/3)— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) September 17, 2015
I can't help but think that this is not coincidental. It reflects a narrative that has been pushed recently by the right wing and police.— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) September 17, 2015
A discussion of police violence is particularly relevant given the recent narrative from the right that there is a so-called “war on cops.” Breitbart.com, a popular conservative news site, published the big and bold headline two weeks ago after an Illinois police officer, Charles Gliniewicz, was shot and killed after chasing three suspects, two white and one black.
The site has been publishing content related to the “war on cops” narrative since December, though 2015 is shaping up to actually be a historically safe one for police officers.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) back in early September, 26 police officers have been killed by gunfire compared to 30 around this time in 2014. The number of police officers shot and killed this year has dropped by 13 percent, the Daily Dot previously reported.
There has been a range of 846 people killed by the police this year including some in police custody deaths, according to Mapping Police Violence data scientist Samuel Sinyangwe, compared to the 26 police officers who have been killed.
The facts:— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) September 17, 2015
-846 people killed by police in 2015, up 7% from last yr.
-26 officers shot dead in 2015, down 26%.
By contrast 719 of the 846 people killed by police this year were shot to death.— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) September 17, 2015
But that’s not reflected in conservative media. In August, Fox News host Elizabeth Hasselback blasted Black Lives Matter, which protests police violence against Black citizens, as a hate group in response.
“Why has the Black Lives Matter movement not been classified yet as a hate group?” Hasselbeck asked. “I mean, how much more has to go in this direction before someone actually labels it as such?”
Hasselback later tried to clarify her comments on Twitter.
My question was NOT my opinion it was for my guest & was @ the St Paul group (NOT entire BLM) calling for cops to be "fried like bacon".— elisabeth hasselbeck (@ehasselbeck) September 1, 2015
Jake Tapper hosted Wednesday’s long debate, and Twitter called him out for not mentioning any of these issues. According to Tapper, he didn’t have time for any questions on the topic.
Only one candidate, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, referenced racism Wednesday night. Responding to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on the topic of who gets arrested for using marijuana, he said “Kids who have privilege like you do don’t go to jail. But the poor kids in the inner city still go to jail.”
Correction: Breitbart’s “war on cops” story published two weeks ago.
Illustration by Max Fleishman