This week on CounterSpin: Just hours after Washington state’s Democratic governor, Jay Inslee, issued a statewide mandate for people to wear masks in public to discourage the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, a Republican county sheriff told a crowd gathered in a church parking lot, “Don’t be a sheep.” Sheriffs are particularly powerful, but generally overlooked in coverage about substantive changes to law enforcement, and even romanticized in a public conversation that imagines them on horseback, somewhat renegade, maybe taking law “into their own hands,” for, you know, the good of the people. There’s not a lot of data on who sheriffs are or what they do. A new study suggests that a conversation that excludes them from talk of police abolition and/or reform would be missing a critical element. We’ll talk about that void-filling data with Brenda Choresi Carter, director of the Reflective Democracy Campaign, the group behind a new study called Confronting the Demographics of Power: America’s Sheriffs.
Also on the show: When you picture a country responding to a pandemic, do you think about states fighting one another for life-saving equipment, or a drug researched on the public dime being put on the market for more than $3,000 per treatment? No. But when the topic is recipes for change, media show their lack of interest in actual people’s actual lives and deaths, in favor of political shadows on the cave wall—as when the New York Times runs an op-ed by a political analyst opining that Joe Biden “projects moderation and decency, an image burnished by his rejection of proposals regularly debated in the Democratic primary like Medicare for All and decriminalizing the border.” So it’s not just decent, but a hallmark of decency, to deny life-altering care to people who can’t afford it, to cut off people’s healthcare if they lose their jobs (through no fault of their own) and to price drugs out of the reach of regular people. That sort of drive-by dismissal is one of our problems with media. We got a second opinion from MD Gordon Mosser, senior fellow in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, who’s written recently on Medicare for All in the time of Covid.Print