Chris Bedford addresses Hillsdale College stu­dents during his visit. Col­legian | Kalli Dal­rymple

Chris Bedford is a senior editor at The Fed­er­alist and vice chairman of the Young Amer­icans for Freedom Board of Gov­ernors and a board member at the National Jour­nalism Center. From 2015 to 2019, Bedford served as editor-in-chief of the Daily Caller News Foun­dation, and he is the author of “The Art of the Donald: Lessons from Amer­ica’s Philosopher-in-Chief.”

This is your first time on campus. What do you think about the look of Hillsdale and its location in small town Michigan? How do you think that helps?

I love it. Hillsdale is idyllic in a way that I wasn’t sure still existed at U.S. colleges…My goal is to have a smoking room that looks like your Her­itage Room. When I walked in I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is where I want to light a cigar.”

For your talk yes­terday, you recently fact checked and dis­proved the story in the Atlantic in which Derecka Purnell claimed she wit­nessed a child shot by a police officer in her youth. If that story is any indi­cation, how prevalent are unjus­tified police shootings? 

You can almost play a sad and cynical game in news jour­nalism. When you hear a story about a crime, you can basi­cally set your clocks to when it’s exposed as being false. Not all of them — but there’s this weird thing that’s been going on for the last 10 years. And it’s these fan­tas­tical ideas of hate crimes. So if a crime that you hear about sounds like some­thing out of a 1960s movie about the Ku Klux Klan 100 years ago, then it probably didn’t happen. If it’s some­thing like a guy attacked outside of a bar by a bunch of white people for hitting on the wrong girl, that sounds believable…They almost always, by the way, never find a culprit. 

Police shootings are mas­sively over-reported. Sta­tis­ti­cally, Black people are not tar­geted for fatal shootings more than white people are. There is a higher chance of you being pulled over if you’re a Black person, but in inci­dents that escalate to physical force, white people are more likely to be killed. The idea that there’s a sys­temic hunting of Black men and women by Amer­ica’s police officers is not brought out by any facts. The idea, however, that some people push back, that there is not real abuse by people who are in any position of power, espe­cially those armed with monopoly enforcement? That’s also false. There is police over­reach, there is police abuse. The idea that it’s a plague on America, when in reality many places have been declining for years, is obscene and it’s a left-wing lie.

Who actually wants to defund the police and why?

That’s the funny thing about the defund-the-policers. One, it’s the Marxists and the leftists and the anar­chists. They say “defund the police.” But what they really mean is that they want to be the police. There will be force. There will be street justice. There will be people who are tar­geted for vio­lence. But they want to take it into their own hands. And you can see that in the way that they act, the way they treat their political oppo­nents. They’re not inter­ested in being nice. They’re not inter­ested in treating people gently. They’re not inter­ested in loving their neighbor. They’re inter­ested in phys­i­cally attacking their political oppo­nents and ide­o­logical oppo­nents, des­e­crating churches, burning down busi­nesses. They want a Reign of Terror. 

I was upset at the White House rallies. I did not go down there, my friends did. During the last night of the Repub­lican National Con­vention, they brought a guil­lotine to this rally. I see more and more of these hardcore left-wing rallies.

How do you think that the last few months of rioting, looting, and burning cities have influ­enced voters?

In January and Feb­ruary, it was very dif­ficult to foresee a demo­c­ratic victory over Donald Trump. People don’t lose re-election when the country feels like it’s going in the correct direction and when the economy is booming. Mainly though, it’s a great sta­tistic when people feel like their country is going in the right direction. If they don’t, you lose the election, no matter how good the economy was. This is not a Donald Trump problem. Joe Biden had no dif­ference in his plan. Basi­cally everyone except for Taiwan and Sweden had this problem of mis­han­dling coro­n­avirus, mass deaths, and mass chaos…that’s a very dif­ficult thing for a pres­ident to survive. The two groups that he struggled most with to win — and he had lost over with his rhetoric and his uncom­pro­mising cad style — were elderly voters and sub­urban white women. People who do not want to turn on their tele­vision and see their pres­ident cursing in a report. The only thing that is really going to bug them a whole lot more than somebody cursing on tele­vision is somebody burning down their city. And it’s easy if that’s in Portland, in Los Angeles — that’s far away. I don’t live near there. They’re crazy. When you start doing that in Wis­consin, that’s when you see the New York Times, CNN, all these people writing: “Well, maybe this is not a good cam­paign tactic.” 

And if you turn on your tele­vision, and you see a pros­perous city in Wis­consin, other cities that are not, you know, the usual places you’re sus­pecting either left-wing schools or very poor urban neigh­bor­hoods, then people start to think it could happen.

What role has the media played in showing Amer­icans what’s taking place in cities across the nation in recent months?

They haven’t. They’ve so viciously lied about it. If you watch certain sta­tions, you would think that protests are peaceful. Repub­licans are a threat to the safety of people, right-wing ter­rorists are a bigger problem. And Donald Trump didn’t get nom­i­nated for two Nobel Peace prizes. 

But what the media has revealed is how absolutely scornful most of our media elites are. They no longer hide their absolute con­tempt. Which is good — it’s good to be honest if you hate somebody like that.