On January 6th rioter not arrested despite admitting insurrection role. Amid GOP vaccine reluctance, new focus on former President Donald Trump`s pro-vaccine statements. Under Biden, jobless rate fell to pre- pandemic level. Growing calls to give mental health help to police. California union teaming up with musicians and artists.
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now. Hi Ari, happy Friday.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Happy Friday, Nicolle. Thank you very much. Welcome to THE BEAT everyone. I am Ari Melber, and our top story right now draws on a new development involving one of the most strident Republican leaders in Congress, Ted Cruz, and it includes his odd apology interview with Tucker Carlson. This story reveals a picture of the current Republican Party and a warning about the authoritarianism rising on the American right.
To see how important this is and how deep it runs and why this isn`t just some D.C. skirmish, it`s also necessary right now for us to see how Ted Cruz and the Republican Party got here because as the right rallies around the lies of the loser of the last election, who President Biden admonished in that fiery speech last night as it defeated lying former president, it is also vital to understand that Republican leaders know Trump is lying, they know how dangerous he is, they know his combination of lies, ego and emotional temperament can pose a real danger as Cruz himself warned so heatedly in 2016.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): This man is a pathological liar. What Donald does, when he loses is he blames everybody else. It`s never Donald`s fault. Donald, you`re a sniveling coward. Get - engages in insults. I think the people are interested in substance in record. Look, we need a commander in chief, not a Twitterer in chief.
The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist. The man is utterly amoral. His reaction to everything is to throw a fit. Donald finds it very hard to lose, that he finds that very difficult for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That`s what Cruz started speaking there to largely Republican audiences and expressing things that he did not find controversial in the least. Of course Trump was a liar, of course his career in Twitter life showed narcissism rather than public service, of course Trump was a sore loser, and that can get dangerous when the sore loser oversees a nuclear power.
Everything I just said is in reference to what Cruz asserted in public repeatedly to Republicans. Cruz also knows better than most that Trump does not honor democracy and doesn`t pretend to. The 2016 primaries first began with Trump losing to Cruz in Iowa, prompting Trump to immediate impugn the results and lie about them and talk about fraud because when he loses, it`s a fraud problem.
There, he was, of course, accusing many Republicans of fraud. It didn`t matter, now he accuses different opponents in his mind, but Ted Cruz was on the other end of that. And then when Trump won the nomination, Cruz was still dubious enough about Trump as a potential president, that Ted Cruz, famously, went to the RNC, got up on the podium and refused to endorse Trump in that ultimately bizarre scene where then Trump, as a candidate, disrupted it by coming out on the floor during Cruz`s speech not endorsing Trump.
This history matters because that`s what Ted Cruz first thought. That`s what Ted Cruz apparently really thought about Donald Trump. And then as Trump solidified his grip on power, Cruz has publicly completely owned himself. He endorsed Trump, he campaigned with him, he defended every Trump action in office.
And then after Trump lost to Biden, and after Trump kept attacking the elections, something Cruz knew all about from his own experience, it was then Ted Cruz who led the futile effort to challenge the certification of the Biden victory on the Senate floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: We`ve seen in the last two months unprecedented allegations of voter fraud. We have an obligation to the constitution to ensure that this election was lawful.
What does it say to the nearly half the country that believes this election was rigged if we vote not even to consider the claims of illegality and fraud in this election. Conduct a 10-day emergency audit, consider the evidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Yes, 10 more days of all that. And what would 10 days of sham reviews achieve? It sounded strange at the same time, even to everyone covering it closely, but, well, when you gather up all the evidence from primary sources, it looks even worse because we are hearing from Trump`s own White House aides, Cruz was leading a more complex authoritarian play.
The idea was to use that time to then somehow decertify the results and steal the whole election. Here was Trump Aid Peter Navarro on Cruz`s role on THE BEAT this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER NAVARRO, FORMER ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: The plan was simply this, we had over 100 Congressmen and Senators on Capitol Hill ready to implement the sweep. At 1:00 p.m., Ted Cruz, Senator Ted Cruz and Gosar, a representative, started the Green Bay Sweep beautifully, challenging the results of Arizona.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Listen closely, they are telling on themselves and it`s the context for all of this and the threat to our future elections. Not a drill. As you heard Navarro just say, Cruz spoke at 1:00 p.m.
And then within the hour, a violent mob stormed the Capitol, demanding assassinations, attacking police, beating people, committing what are now convicted crimes in the courts, and causing a havoc that did result in deaths, a literal insurrection, a security meltdown, an act of domestic terrorism. And this week, Cruz referred to that fact of a violent terrorist attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week, and it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol where we saw the men and women of law enforcement demonstrate incredible courage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Fact check? True. Yet that very straight forward recent historical truth that you just heard him say, in his own words on Wednesday, drew huge backlash from the right wing big lie movement, attacking Cruz for accurately referring to the truth of those crimes, the domestic terror and the violence.
And Cruz immediately folded, rushing to recant everything in a very sad interview with Tucker Carlson, who, by the way, hosts a lot of misinformation about January 6. So that`s the place you go when you have to prove to people that when you said something true about the violence, you didn`t mean it. So Cruz went to publicly apologize and say he was "dumb" to call it terrorism and "sloppy", in his words, and then he got his push back, in public, millions watching, from Carlson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: The way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb. And I -
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I don`t buy that. Woah, woah, woah, I don`t buy that. Look, I`ve known you a long time since before you went to the Senate, I do not believe that you used that accidently. I just don`t.
CRUZ: It`s - so Tucker, as a result of my sloppy phrasing, it`s caused a lot of people to misunderstand what I meant. I wasn`t saying that the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: It`s a new low, after other recent new lows. Ted Cruz went from the senator who would supposedly stand up to Trump and the threat that he said Trump posed, the lies, the amorality, as Cruz called it, the attack on democracy, you know, those were the words he used to phrase the threat Trump posed.
He went from that to a Trump supporter, then Trump enabler, then a Trump accomplice in trying to end democracy, and then, now, with crimes on the table, he`s Trump`s chief lying propaganda, is willing to lie about the very violence that Mr. Cruz claimed to condemn one day before. He knew better five years ago, just as he knew better earlier this week. And that makes it all the more craven as a personalized reflection of the wider Republican Party`s dissent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: It would be ridiculous for me to be saying that the people standing up and protesting to follow the law were somehow terrorists. If you assault a police officer, you should go to jail. That`s who I was talking about. I used that word all in 2020 for the ANTIFA and BLM terrorists that assaulted cops.
I wasn`t saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting President Trump are terrorists. I agree with you, it was a mistake to say that yesterday. They want to paint us as Nazis. I`m the one leading the fight in the Senate against this garbage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: We`re joined by Washington Post Writer Gene Robinson. Your thoughts, sir?
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST WRITER. Well, I think he used the operative word, or you used the word craven, and that was - it was a craven performance that we saw last night from Ted Cruz. At the end of this long transformation, he looks very clear, as you pointed out, at the beginning what he saw in Donald Trump, the danger he saw in Donald Trump, the fact that he was totally unsuited and unfit to ever be President of the United States.
And now, he is waving the Trump banner because of his own craven ambition. And, you know, he still wants to be president, he still thinks he can be president some day, he still thinks somehow he can inherit the Trump base. And so - I mean, it was - it couldn`t happen to a nicer guy, but it was just an embarrassing, embarrassing performance and I just can`t. It was hard to believe. It`s difficult to watch even happening to Ted Cruz.
MELBER: And the stakes are high because this is some sort of prerequisite for many Republicans in leadership now. It`s not only to accept Trump`s lies and all the other stuff, which I won`t repeat, I went through it, it`s now becoming clear that a year later, the line has moved where they`re expected to lie about the terrorist violence of that crowd, even though it`s on tape.
MELBER: And if you don`t want the tape from a year ago, you can pull the tape from Wednesday with Ted Cruz speaking sort of off the cuff, you saw him in the committee room, he`s - well, he`s a politician, but I guess the closer - that the closer version of him just saying something that is true, it was terrorist violence, obviously, we all saw that on video, and he has to recant.
And for viewers who understand, if people don`t regularly watch Tucker Carlson, we put together briefly the way that he tries to recast January 6. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: January 6th barely rates as a foot note. Really, not a lot happened that day if you think about it. Police got shoved unfortunately, punches were thrown. So looking back, you could probably call what happened on January 6 a riot. We have called it that, but really only just a riot, maybe just barely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Gene, this is where it`s broader than Ted Cruz and his hypocrisy. This is how propaganda can make -
MELBER: - softer ground for authoritarianism. There are examples throughout history. What do you see here and should people be concerned?
ROBINSON: Well, it`s dangerous, a horrific revisionism. You know, a few police officers maybe got punched. I mean, you know, anybody who has seen any footage of what happened that day, let alone the people who were there, the members of Congress, the staff, members - members of our staff at "The Washington Post" who were covering the January 6th events and who were accosted in the most violent and threatening and traumatic ways by this armed, angry mob of insurrectionists. It`s just a why?
But if you say the lie over and over and over again, some people believe it. And so now you`re right, the goal posts have moved. And so now you have to not only think that Donald Trump is actually a great leader, a dear leader, but you have to think that January 6 really was just not much, you know, nothing to see here, just move along.
It`s incredible. And it is more incredible that Ted Cruz, who was there that day, goes along with it - goes along with the lie knowing it`s a lie. That`s why the truth slipped out. He`s not a stupid person, you know.
ROBINSON: And so sometimes truth actually comes out. And then he has to quick, cover it up and pretend.
MELBER: And Gene, I hate to - I - Gene, I hate to do this to you, but what you just said is also what Tucker said. And I know you might rarely overlap, I`m not suggesting it in any other way -
MELBER: - but it is important that people see Cruz knew it then, he knew it this week, as you say, that`s what slipped out, that`s what Tucker thinks as well for perhaps different agenda reasons, but that`s what it is and that`s very different from the victims.
You know, the victims who everyone has responsibility to learn the truth but people who are out there who aren`t super informed and get lied to repeatedly and get bad intel and bad info, that`s different than being the knowing leader of these propagandous movements who want to end democracy.
They`ve told us, Navarro tells us, Cruz was the point person, their so called quarterback in their so called play, that was a coup in its description. So, Jean, stay with me, I want to bring in one other thing before we bring in - back Jean and a special guest, which is take a look at this, a man who admits he breached the Capitol, telling a reporter this a year after the riot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN CASH, RIOTER: I think it was how these people keep comparing it to the worst thing since whatever, blah, blah, blah. There was really no threat to their life like everybody is trying to say. And everyone is just in there walking around hooting and hollering, you know, nobody had weapons, nobody was attacking people.
UNKNOWN MAN: Do you apologize for anything you did that day?
CASH: Absolutely not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Absolutely not. That`s speaking to a local Detroit reporter. The man is Brian Cash. He says he attempted to - he went to the - a Trump rally, attended it.
He says he went back to his hotel and then returned to the Capitol when he saw the riot on TV, meaning he knew exactly where he was headed. He admits he went inside, criminal trespassing at least. He also has video that he shot that day. Now Cash for his part says he did not, he says, attack anyone violently. He also has said that the FBI interviewed him but he has not been arrested.
This is a pattern we`ve been reporting on, less than a third of the 2500 people who were storming the Capitol have been arrested, about 700, only 71 have been sentenced and the majority of those sentenced have not gotten a single day in jail.
I want to bring in former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance to this conversation.
Joyce, your thoughts on the above?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I think, Ari, that it highlights how difficult the challenge the Justice Department faces is. These are large numbers of defendants who have to be assessed and processed, you know, these cases don`t land on the desks of prosecutors sort of tied up with a ribbon with a note on top that says this defendant, you know, committed trespassing but this defendant was involved in trying to slow down the certification of the vote. The prosecutors have to compile all of the evidence, put the cases together and prosecute them.
It`s a massive challenge, history will reflect on how well they meet the moment, but I think we should all spare a little bit of thanks along with the brave police officers on Capitol Hill, for the DOJ investigators and prosecutors who are working through these cases and trying to bring some semblance of accountability for what happened on January 6th.
MELBER: Right. But I suppose the question a year in is, does this look like it`s on track or does it look lenient? And Gene, I`ll let you weigh in on the justice of it, not the narrow legal question, because I covered this and I said this last night. I`ve seen a heck of a lot of cases, Gene, that were sometimes sloppy or thin, and I`ve seen people being put in jail for a long period of time, and I`m just going to say it because it`s backed by facts. I`ve seen a lot of black and brown people in America go to jail for a lot of things. This looks different, Gene.
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Well, it does. It certainly does so far. I mean, in that, you know, at the end you have to look at the results, look at what`s happening, and you wonder if that had been a Black Lives Matter protest crowd that had invaded the Capitol and assaulted police officers, and, you know, in that way. Are these kinds of sentences we`d be seeing?
I doubt it. That said, I think Joyce makes an excellent point, I mean, had that been a Black Lives Matter protest, there would have been school buses already waiting to take arrestees to, you know, to be arraigned or to be processed right after it happened. There were no such preparations in place on January 6th and so, you know, they`re having to track these people down from video and from everything. This is a very, these are difficult cases to make.
MELBER: Yes, I think you both make fair points because it is complex, that`s why we hear from people who have been inside these processes but I am putting the word out here as we track this a year in what the track record is. And we`ll see where the upcoming trials go.
I got to fit in breaks. I want to thank Joyce and Eugene, and wish you both a great weekend coming up.
We have really interesting breakthroughs on the other big topic, stemming COVID with vaccines. Wait until you hear who the secret messenger might be. Just kidding, it involves Donald Trump but in an interesting way.
Later, our fact check on what the beltway might have wrong about Joe Biden. And by the end of the hour, I`m thrilled to tell you we end the week, and what a week it was, with the one and only Chuck D on THE BEAT tonight. Stay with us.
MELBER: Turning back to COVID, which is the other major story affecting so many lives here in America and around the world. Vaccination is still the number one health challenge according to experts so we have Omicron, we got variant mutations, but at the end of the day, experts say that if you got these 26 percent of the population vaccinated that are currently holding out or haven`t done it would change everything.
And it does break down in different ways but we found most self-identified Republicans say they never got the shot. Now there has been a very bipartisan push to get vaccinated. That started early on. We even had former Presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama joined forces in a dramatic public campaign together. And you look at the image and you can tell the most controversial former president around was not, well, not on set that day.
But that doesn`t mean that Donald Trump isn`t actually a potential net gain on vaccinations. As they say on the internet, hear me out. Trump has made many, many false statements about things ranging from COVID to the election but at a time when the key public health problem is people not being vaccinated, and the largest share are among American conservatives holding out, Donald Trump is the one who has repeatedly pushed the vaccine`s benefits more than many may realize.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: The vaccine is one of the greatest achievements of mankind. The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones who don`t take their vaccine.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: We know that vaccination prevents the vast majority of serious COVID-19 illness, hospitalizations and deaths.
TRUMP: Look, the results of the vaccine are very good, and if you do get it, it`s a very minor form. People aren`t dying when they take the vaccine, and if you take the vaccine you`re protected.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We all want normalcy in America, the highway to that normalcy is vaccination.
TRUMP: Everybody, go get your shot.
BILL O`REILLY, CONSERVATIVE HOST: The president and I are vaxxed, and did you get the booster?
JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-?19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: These vaccines save people`s lives.
TRUMP: I recommend take the vaccines, I did it. It`s good.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Donald Trump keeps telling people to get vaccinated, and yet there are some aspects of the way information and right-wing misinformation work right now that are actually underplaying the fact that he is saying something that doctors say his fans need to actually hear. Want to get into this because it matters with an expert when we`re back in 60 seconds.
MELBER: We`re back with a long-time Republican operative and independent thinker, a writer for the -- writer at large I should say for the "Bulwark," MSNBC analyst Tim Miller.
TIM MILLER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, Ari.
MELBER: I just played something that many different people may not like for many different reasons. But it`s just not my job to always find the stuff that people like. The fact is, Donald Trump said a bunch of things about why vaccines work and people should get vaccinated. As we showed on this topic, much of what he said matches Fauci and CDC.
Do you think there is a way here for this to play out amongst some people who might be on the right and still eventually be open to getting vaccinated?
MILLER: I do think so, Ari. Obviously this is belated. Obviously, this doesn`t excuse all of just the irresponsible actions of Donald Trump when he was the president but when it comes to vaccines he is saying the right thing right now and he`s kind of alone on the right. I mean, there are others that say it but they don`t have as big a platform or as much creditability with the MAGA audience.
If you look at the stance from January, eight -- in the reddest 10 percent of the country, there`s an 86 percent higher death rate than the bluest 10 percent, and the reason for that is simple, it`s just because the lack of vaccinations. And so if Donald Trump`s message can reach some of these people, now some of these folks are dug in. You know, they`re media sources, you know, they`re independent research on Facebook, but there are a lot of other folks that voted for Donald Trump that are just in these communities that aren`t as dug out on the vaccine.
It`s just all their friends and the people around them are not getting the vaccine and they haven`t thought about it that deeply, and these people can be reached, and there are new people getting vaccinated every day. And so I think that using some creative thinking, you know, maybe the Biden administration does a PSA with this, I don`t know, but I think that you could reach some of these folks in a way that would help public health, and I think it would help Democrats politically frankly.
MELBER: And Donald Trump`s messages are echoed on FOX News, on right-wing media and online, on most topics except this. I alluded to this before the break, and I`m curious what you think because you`ve been around this. When he says the things I just played, those don`t get a lot of the other air time so there`s a gap where the conservative audiences may not even be hearing it.
What do you make of that, that there`s a sort of selective echoing of Trump on the right on this topic?
MILLER: Sure, they get no airtime. You know, there`s a little bit, there`s select people, right, you know, you don`t want to paint them with a completely broad brush. There are selected people that are being responsible, daytime FOX, some of them. But in the biggest MAGA outlets they basically just ignore this. You know, obviously prime time FOX as you mentioned before this, but this week, you know, for Monday I have an article coming up in the "Bulwark."
I`ve spent the entire week of the insurrection holiday listening to Steve Bannon`s podcast. Three hours a day, pray for me. He`s actually kind of a big fan of yours, Ari. He watches a lot of MSNBC and start to understand -- I mean, know thy enemy. On Bannon`s podcast, it`s full vaccine disinformation all the time. Donald Trump can say nothing wrong about the election fraud, the election conspiracies are all right, everything else Donald Trump did was perfect.
But you never hear this. There`s a complete blackout and exactly the opposite. They have vaccine misinformers coming on. You know, this is a top 10 podcast in the country, millions of listeners and so, you know, this is a completely irresponsible behavior by, you know, these conservative media outlets and yet another example just like in the conspiracies about the election where they claim to care about their listeners, the reality is that they don`t. They`re listeners are dying because they are getting the bad information, and if they just played them what Donald Trump said, you know, they could actually do them good for once.
MELBER: All really important points, and this is a topic we wanted to get into because if you pay attention particularly to Trump recently, particularly touting his own booster, it`s a little different than some of the narrative at a distance, and the question is, will people find out one more source, every living former president, all the science, backs this, and then will that inform their public health decisions?
Tim Miller, good to see you, sir.
MILLER: You too.
MELBER: We have a lot more in the program. New economic numbers, David Jones is here, and by the end of the hour I promise, Chuck D from Public Enemy. Stay with us.
MELBER: President Biden has a lot on his plate. We knew that and this week really underscored it. And I want to bring in a special guest who keeps an eye on Washington for us.
David Jones, who is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones." Hello, sir.
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER CORN: Good to be with you, Happy New Year, Ari.
MELBER: Happy New Year. You know, it`s a test of all of us especially in the press to try to fairly cover more than one thing. I just hit the Jan 6th problems, COVID, the economy is also something that affects everyone`s life with these new economic numbers out this week. Writ large, a year into this presidency, Biden has got a good record. Some say he`s not getting credit for it. What`s your thoughts on all of it?
CORN: Well, you know, Biden did announce and had a speech today pointing to that fact you have up there that 6.4 million jobs created this year, doesn`t make up for the nine million that were lost but it is, in terms of the last -- I`m just looking at a chart here, basically the last forever, the biggest number of jobs created in the given year.
Look at the last three years of the Obama administration and all together it was 7.7 million jobs that were created. You look at the first six years of Trump before COVID hit and there were six million jobs created so you have Trump out there saying the best economy ever? His numbers weren`t even as good as the previous Obama numbers, and then of course we had COVID and he had a net loss of jobs.
So this is really I think, you know, we`re not all the way there but it is a tremendous accomplishment for the economy, for everybody else, not just Joe Biden, that we`ve gotten a long way back, the labor market has gotten tight, which is good news. People who are working because some wages are going up and some people have been able to quit jobs in order to find better jobs.
So all in all, I think the economic picture is not fantastic, but it`s much better than it was a year ago and I can tell you the same thing about COVID. We still have a problem with COVID but far fewer deaths and the deaths are basically deaths almost of choice, people who are unvaccinated.
CORN: If you`re vaccinated, you know, you`re much less of a risk today. Schools are largely open in most places. Businesses are largely open, there are some more restrictions that we don`t know what`s going to happen in the next few months, but by and large, we`re in a much better place than a year ago. And, you know, I have some sympathy for Joe Biden in the White House because I don`t think they`re getting a lot of credit.
I don`t think that`s part of a larger narrative, and of course up against, you know, the Trump bizarre cult, and FOX and others who are saying that we`re basically going off the cliff right now.
MELBER: Yes. Well, you lay it all out there, and at the end of the week, it`s an antidote to some of the spin so we appreciate it, David, and I wish you a pleasant weekend as well, sir.
CORN: Sure, and say hello Chuck D for me.
MELBER: Well, there you go, David said it, I`ll bring it up. Coming up, we`ve got two more big stories I want to get into with everyone. One is about labor rights and the power of labor unions in America. That`s part of why Chuck D is here. We`re going to get into that. And first, we look at policing and some issues that are important that we need to get into coming up.
MELBER: Turning now to our annual special report, COVID is the leading cause of police deaths in the line of duty. But it`s not the only epidemic that impacts officers, and as part of our annual report, I want to share with you what we`re learning. Death by suicide, what the "Washington Post" calls a quiet epidemic, continues to be the cause of death for so many men and women in uniform.
Now these deaths are not always counted under the traditional metric as, quote-unquote, "deaths in the line of duty," but they really do show and reveal a wider way to understand the strain facing officers because more officers die by suicide than by gunfire. In this past year, 2021, there were 130 officer deaths by suicide and 62 by gunfire. It is quite a striking fact when you look at it that way that it`s more than double.
Now I mentioned the counting because this isn`t just our way of looking at it. There are these organizations and the FBI that looks at the threats and challenges of police and no official organization tracks these numbers aside from one nonprofit, Blue Health, that looks at it like this. Now this issue came to the forefront this year when four police officers died by suicide specifically after the January 6th riot.
Those deaths not counted as I mentioned as line of duty deaths. Now there are mental health experts who have a different view. In the "Washington Post," they write that officers have greater exposure to trauma, and in the culture of policing they`re often not inclined to ever even seek the help that they need initially."
After officer suicides spiked to around 200 in 2019, a police executive research forum put out a report noting that PTSD is five times more likely among officers, indeed one out of 15 experience depression. The overall risk of death by suicide 54 percent higher for officers than the general population. So the numbers bear out what you might anecdotally think that these things are linked, that these are very tough jobs.
Officers often are found using their service weapons to take their own life. So we have a system where you have officers exposed to disturbing and traumatic experiences and sometimes for reasons that relate to resources, culture or our general society not getting the tools that may help them.
As a writer who suggested that if we reimagine police by hiring more social workers to help on these mental illness calls, for example, and put more money towards affordable housing you might ease some of this burden on both the officers and the community at large.
Now, this isn`t just a report of what happened, it`s also what can happen. A city for example has a pilot program of mental health assistance for officers after three were lost to suicide this year. Two Chicago officers, 47-year-old James Daly and 38-year-old Jeffrey Troglia, died by suicide in the span of one week. In March, Daly fatally shot himself in a police station. The third officer, 24-year-old Christian Furczon died in July.
Unfortunately, it`s not unusual in Chicago. 12 officers have died by suicide there over the past three years. Department leaders have brought in the national lines on mental illness and there we heard from Chicago`s CEO there, Alexa James, about these issues and exploring whether there are things that can be done better in the future like assigning clinicians to districts for regular support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXA JAMES, CEO, NAMI CHICAGO: We have to individualize grief. We have to individualize what the supports look like and we cannot just treat, have a group mentality around this department and make sure that people know that you may feel alone, people have your back 100 percent and if you don`t feel that way, let`s have a dialogue.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Well, we`re hearing from experts and what the numbers show is we`re not talking about this enough. As a society, perhaps here in news and media, in law enforcement communities, in all of our communities, Late Officer Christian Furczon died after James` arrival, an indication of how serious the matter is for so many in his line of work.
Thirty-eight-year-old Jeff Troglia was a 15-year veteran of the department. He was celebrated as a dedicated and decorated cop. He was a husband, a father of three young girls, his family has started a GoFundMe after his death that already raised over $200,000 to help support the family and his daughter`s education.
Now we do this report every year and we think about the people in the line of duty, who take these risks and we honor just some of them, that`s the nature of this, we don`t list off every single name but these families they don`t get their loved ones back and we think about not only what we owe them in the past, but as a society what might be done better in the future to improve mental health services, to face mental health and the risk of suicide, which is the leading cause of death in the United States, as something that we all need to make sure we`re dealing with as thoughtfully, empathetically and objectively as possible.
Mental health is important. And then you go to the wider conditions we`re all aware of. We`re in the third year of this pandemic. So I will mention if you or someone you know is experiencing any kind of emotional distress, you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1800-273- 8255. You can also text HELLO to 74174 anytime.
We`ll be right back.
MELBER: America has many different labor challenges. The music industry is a place where capitalism, racism and antiquated laws are all combining to make the field very unfair for labor, the people working and the artists creating. Indeed, it`s something that artists across genres have protested for a long time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE, MUSICIAN: If they`re going to be indeed a delivery service, then that`s fine. But even FedEx doesn`t say that they own the thing that they ship. Ultimately, keeps us apart and it keeps the people in power in charge of us.
KANYE WEST, RAPPER: We need to have contracts that makes sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven`t made anything off of samples. Do you ever get a dime with that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the most part, no. Lots of people do. But you have to figure a way because you don`t have enough money to fight the big companies.
PRINCE: What do we really need record companies for? I mean, really?
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Now a major U.S. union is teaming up with top artists to address some of these issues. The Screen Actors Guild working with legends like Kurtis Blow and Public Enemy founder Chuck D, the Grammy winning rock `n` roll hall of famer. Now their new group is advocating several reforms including fair artist compensation, benefits and a federal law that would get artists better paid for their work.
Chuck D has been fighting the power his whole career from his art to his advocacy, including years as a political analyst and advocate with the show "Unfiltered" that aired on Air America with back in the day Rachel Maddow before MSNBC.
My special guest back on THE BEAT is Chuck D. Thanks for being here, sir.
CHUCK D, PUBLIC ENEMY FOUNDER: Thank you, Ari, for taking the time. And here we are, right?
MELBER: Here we are. You have been walking the walk, talking the talk, making the art. I met you before you know. I grew up on your work and so looking at something here that you`re trying to do in the real world that also relates to the art is interesting. Tell us about the hip-hop alliance, what you`re advocating for.
CHUCK D: Great power comes responsibility. And this is an industry that everybody seems to think and also speak about as being all over the world and probably the most effectious, you know, genre that`s out there right now for the last couple of last three or four generations. And this is about understanding that in show business, as James Brown used to say, there is the show and there`s the business, there`s the industry so looking forward to 2022.
You know, engaging the hip-hop and R and B community to organize and promote wages and fair royalties and strong health and retirement benefit for artists, yes, I`m reading from the script, you know, because it`s important that people hear the details and these facts to be part of this alliance. First Union is really my responsibility to be able to push it forward.
MELBER: What does it mean for the art and its impact to fix some of these things so artists and specifically often black artists have more support and ownership of the work they`ve created, which as we just showed in the intro is often the exception, not the rule?
CHUCK D: Every situation needs some kind of guidelines, mentorship, coaching. Yes, you can go get a lawyer. You can get a business manager. But what makes them accountable, what makes them understand there`s a rule book to go by, how do you keep up with that? So I just think this is the -- yes, it`s the ugly work but this music just like jazz and blues is no longer adolescent and when it was adolescent music it probably was in the 1980s which is like what, 40 years ago.
MELBER: You mentioned the adolescents, I mean, when we think back to how some Americans first learned about you through "Do the Right Thing," through the art, when Radio Raheem was walking around with the cassette tapes and boom box, and now anyone with a phone can get access to literally hundreds of millions of tracks and yet we see the streaming numbers aren`t working much better for most of the artists.
Do you feel like on the flipside Public Enemy`s work is out there and accessible in a way that it might not have been globally before?
CHUCK D: Well, you know, technology goes hand and hand, teeth to jaw with the music. I mean, if it wasn`t for the technology, you don`t hear the music. Thomas Edison said "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in his device that he makes, is a recording device in 1870s.
So if you don`t have -- I mean, you always have the music but the music and the technology is always going hand to hand to make, quote-unquote, "the industry." So it`s just newest adjustment, streaming as opposed to when I was coming up, it was, you know, vinyl and 45s and then later on cassettes and then later on CDs and then later on downloads. You got to have somebody that keeps score. New technology, you know, it`s how you actually ebb and flow with that.
MELBER: Yes, well, you know, some people know that you are among other things old school, Chuck. I don`t know that anyone knew you would take it all the way back to "Mary Had a Little Lamb" which is a deep cut. You know what I`m saying?
CHUCK D: That`s a deep, deep, deep cut. 1897 I think, Thomas Edison, right there in the state of Jersey, I think.
CHUCK D: If not Jersey, probably Brooklyn. Yes.
MELBER: Before I lose you, I want to do a little bit of the politics where you`re having a voice. We dug something up, I don`t even know if you will remember this but a public service announcement, Chuck D telling people to vote, and that voting helps get the suckers out of office. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK D: Now check this out. This is Chuck D, Republican, telling you about something that`s serious right about now. Look, as we go into tear of dawn in 1990s, it might be important to vote to get some suckers on out of office, you know what I`m saying?
So understand, if you`re 18 or older, understand that you have a right to vote.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: You have a right to vote. Talk to us about what you see in this generation because I know you pay attention and I think that people might, some people might not realize how long your work has been before it was a trend or whatever, really telling people get involved, get educated, it wasn`t about one party or the other. You`ve criticized both parties but you`ve definitely said you want to fix these problems of poverty or structural racism. You have to get involved.
And I just want to say, you don`t need to hear it from me, but I`m going to say it because it`s my program. There are people who think that`s not super cool in artistry or they only do it later, you know, after their time. You were doing it when it mattered in so many ways. I think that means something to people. What do you see in this next generation right now that`s active in certain ways, that`s online, that`s talking about police brutality, but also, you know, may not be as politically directly active in the music or at least some of today`s hip-hop as before?
All your thoughts on that, sir.
CHUCK D: Number one, artistically I don`t care what naysayers think. I care less. Number two, you should always know where you live. And when it comes down to this country with all the hypocrisies going on, it`s impossible to go on just your emotion without keeping score. Sometimes I might watch all news channels and watch online and be able to come up with a consensus but you cannot free style the reality of what`s surrounding you at all time and you cannot get, you know, afford yourself to get lost in the metaverse right now.
And with the metaverse being the alternative to drift away, you know, you have to have something in somebody and your cipher that is able to be rooted in reality. And this is what the music before provided but now it`s a little bit more than that. You`ve got to have real people doing real things because in real life, you might be online all day but human beings are furnaces.
They`ve got to have to eat, you know what I`m saying? You`re going to have to live in a spot that ain`t under 32 degrees. And maybe not over 110 degrees. And right now they`re talking metaverse or the other alternative saying that you drift away from planet earth and that`s called death. So we don`t want those actually without it happening before our time.
MELBER: All facts. I mean, especially when you get into that digital side, which is part of the technology change that we`ve been talking about. Of course, this interview --
CHUCK D: For all our culture runs through that now. So if all our culture is running into screens, you`ve got to have somebody to decipher and be literate to the screens coming at you for everything. They come to get you to go get your money. It`s a dance. It all just turn the phone off and put the screen down but in today`s society, that`s not proven to be realistic.
MELBER: I`m fighting the power on THE BEAT tonight. You get the last word.
Chuck D, thank you as always, sir.
CHUCK D: Thank you.
MELBER: It`s all screens, and that brings us to this piece of information you can find. But that`s the interview with Chuck D on YouTube. Search Chuck D Melber, because there were some we didn`t even have time to air. We take that just airing for the first time and you will see the rest of that conversation including about technology.
If you do want to connect with me on a screen, you can always find me at arimelber on social media including, as we`ve been telling you recently, TikTok where I just posted some new stuff about January 6th, the legal breakdown, and where you may see some highlights as well of our friend Chuck D. Shoutout to Thomas Edison and "Mary Had a Little Lamb," which is a song that slaps.
I wish everyone a great weekend and hope you keep it locked right here because "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid is up next. Hi, Joy.