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.