Most of what Americans know about history, government, politics, and current events they learn from watching television. And most of that is not from watching news or public affairs program but from watching television dramas or even comedies. That television dramas have enormous power in influencing opinion very nearly goes without saying. That’s not just true in the United States. An astonishing number of Britons learned all they know about criminal law by watching Law and Order. The police in the UK frequently have arrestees demand that they be “read their rights”, something not nearly as significant in the UK but a staple of U. S. police procedurals.
One of the freshman network television dramas this season is Conviction. It’s about a task force of young, attractive lawyers with the job of determining whether convictions were just or unjust. It’s also sort of a re-imagining of Chelsea Clinton in the same way that The American President or The West Wing was a re-imagining of the Clinton Administration or Madam Secretary is a re-imagining of Hillary Clinton. But that’s irrelevant to my point in this post.
Last night’s episode centered around the bombing of a mosque and, frankly, it bugged me. To the best of my knowledge no mosque in the U. S. has ever been bombed. Promoting the idea that American Muslims have a legitimate fear of having their places of worship attacked by anti-Muslim bigots is IMO irresponsible and may spill over into propaganda. It’s particularly irresponsible in the light of the “defending Islam” excuse that radical Muslim extremist terrorists provide as a justification for their crimes.