State Congressman’s Bipartisan Efforts, Police-Involved Shootings

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State Congressman Reid Ribble is set to step down from his post later this year, but he hopes his efforts at bipartisanship will have a lasting impact in Washington D.C. Congressman Ribble joins us to talk about his work with fellow Wisconsinite Mark Pocan, and shares his thoughts on Donald Trump’s candidacy. We also talk about how citizen use of technology and social media are impacting public response to fatal police shootings, particularly after two African-American men were shot and killed in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Featured in this Show

  • Social Media Proving To Have Large Impact On Police-Involved Shootings, Says Media Expert

    Cell phone cameras and social media websites like Facebook are having a major impact on public awareness and reactions to police-involved shootings, according to a media expert.

    “It’s not just this ability to document that we all are carrying with us. It’s now, this new ability for that documentation to find an audience and find it very quickly,” said Ethan Zuckerman, director at the Center for Civic Media at MIT.

    That new dynamic was put into the spotlight this week after the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling, who was shot on Tuesday morning in Louisiana, and Philando Castile, who was killed on Wednesday in Minnesota. Both incidents were captured on video and posted and circulated online in real time or shortly thereafter.

    Zuckerman said the pervasiveness of cameras, including surveillance cameras and police body cams, is changing how the mainstream media is covering police shootings.

    “I think in many ways the turning point was in Ferguson, Missouri,” he said. “After the death (of) Michael Brown in Ferguson, we saw an enormous amount of people take to Twitter and Facebook to not only talk about the horror of his death, but demand that networks like CNN provide coverage to it.”

    With putting the power of documentation in so many hands, Zuckerman said witnesses are able to generate outcry from the public and put pressure on the media to cover a story. It’s what he said communication scholars refer to as agenda setting, and it’s empowering groups like the Black Lives Matter movement.

    It’s not always easy to capture the attention of news outlets, said Zuckerman. He referred to the Trayvon Martin case when most Americans were made aware of the shooting a week later only after the Martin family hired a public relations agent.

    “Right now, social media is acting as that PR agent,” Zuckerman said.

    It might be presumptive to expect video evidence to be definitive, said Zuckerman. In fact, he said cameras only provide one perspective to an incident, and it may be a misleading one. Moreover, he said sometimes definitive video isn’t enough to indict officers who were involved with the deaths of black men, as was the case with Eric Garner on Staten Island in New York.

  • Congressman Reid Ribble On His Commitment To Bipartisanship

    Representative Reid Ribble (R) reflects on his six years in the U.S. House representing Wisconsin’s 8th District, his ongoing commitment to bipartisanship, and the prospect of Donald Trump as the GOP’s presidential nominee.

  • How Social Media And Technology Impact Public Response To Police Shootings

    From the Midwest to the deep South, communities are mourning the deaths of two black men who were shot by police this week. The fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling, who was shot on Tuesday morning in Louisiana, and Philando Castile, who was killed on Wednesday in Minnesota, were captured on video and circulated online. Our guest tells us about the impact technology and social media are having on public awareness and reaction to police-involved shootings.

Episode Credits

  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Ethan Zuckerman Guest
  • Reid Ribble Guest

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