From the Desk of Al Roker…

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

…comes the new Spike TV series DEA, a macho, ass-kicking, reality series that glorifies the government’s 30-year-war on American citizens. Check out the hand-job promo copy:

DEA agents put their lives in the hands of a drug and weapons trafficker turned informant as they mount an operation to burrow deep into Detroit’s drug underworld. Each undercover buy and daring raid brings them one step closer to a deadly showdown with a violent drug kingpin.

Or with an unarmed mother of six. Or a 92-year-old-woman. Or a meek amateur gardener. Or a middle-aged mother of two who led prayer groups on her lunch breaks. Maybe they’ll show a bunch of DEA agents handcuffing a post-polio medical marijuana patient to her bed while they shove assault weapons in her face. Or storming the home of a paraplegic with multiple sclerosis because he had the audacity to try to treat his own pain.

But hey. It’s all about protecting the kids from drugs, right?

Seriously, what’s the fallout for a show like this? It’s clearly a recruiting video for the DEA. But if the show focuses on door-smashing, head-bashing, and ass-kicking, exactly what kind recruits are they drawing?

Tellingly, the series is doing promo on sites like.… Remember that the next time someone argues that there’s nothing paramilitary about the drug war.

And yes, the fat weatherman is behind all of this.

Oh, and a reader sends in this early review of the series, snapped on an NYC subway car:


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29 Responses to “From the Desk of Al Roker…”

  1. #1 |  David | 

    Seriously, what’s the fallout for a show like this? It’s clearly a recruiting video for the DEA. But if the show focuses on door-smashing, head-bashing, and ass-kicking, exactly what kind recruits are they drawing?

    I’d assume that it’s more of a promotional video for smug authoritarian types to reference when when arguing in favor of these kind of tactics.

  2. #2 |  Pinette | 

    It is so frustrating to stand by and allow the press to perpetuate such inherently violent philosophies as this. The problem is that the libertarian stance is so counter-intuitive, it’s just easier for the media to follow the standard dialog of ‘drugs bad, drug-war good’. That’s why Radley’s against-the-grain, fight-the-system reporting is so important. The best the rest of us can do is engage in social debate with our friends, family members and neighbors and convince them of the merits of our position.
    Speaking of which, hey Radley, you think you could work with cafe press to produce a shirt that simply says: “I am against the war on drugs, ask me why”

  3. #3 |  EdinTally |

    Talk or email them like I did.

  4. #4 |  Marty | 

    sounds like a new series idea for ReasonTV- ‘DEA- Assaulting All of Our Liberties One Arrest at a Time’

  5. #5 |  Meister | 

    I found it funny when Joe Rogan (who has stated that he was high for his entire stint on Fear Factor) interviewed two DEA agents for promotion during the UFC fight night.

    Next weeks headline: Joe Rogan’s house raided by DEA.

    Next month’s DEA episode: “guest star” Joe Rogan.

  6. #6 |  ClubMedSux | 

    As a former meteorologist, I’ve always despised Roker for cheapening the profession (and just to be clear, Radley was correct in identifying him as a weatherman rather than a meteorologist). Now I have another reason to despise him!

    I figure everybody needs an irrational enemy or two, right?

  7. #7 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Oh, and in a delicious bit of irony, there’s a banner for “DEA” on the side of this page courtesy of Google Ads.

  8. #8 |  Zeb | 

    I thought Al Roker was just there to be fat and wish old people happy birthday on TV. Now he’s not even fat anymore.

  9. #9 |  Frank | 

    Anyone have this fat turd’s home address? I feel a call to 1-800-RAT-FINK coming on…

  10. #10 |  troy | 

    LOL….. the DEA add. I look forward to the spoofs on Saturday Night Live….if that is still on television.

  11. #11 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    Is Al Roker an executive producer of the show or something? I don’t see his name listed anywhere on the spike promo webpage.

  12. #12 |  MixMasterMax | 

    The DEA came to my college two years ago and the guy they sent said that he was only looking for people who “wanted to bust down the door of a drug dealer at 3 in the morning” and was ready to get shot at. Let’s hope they have the right house!

  13. #13 |  CA Law | 

    One word I never heard uttered in the first episode: Marijuana.

    How is it that the most widely used illegal drug merits no mention?

    Is it because 40% of the young male target audience smoke bowls while they watch? Or is it because nobody is going to believe the hippy art student selling chronic is going to present any sort of threat that would make for good television? Or do they simply know how repugnant their routine marijuana enforcement activities are to the general public?

  14. #14 |  Andrew | 

    You know, I usually find graffiti disgusting and a sign of rot and decay but scribbling fascist on that subway ad was damned beautiful. Much the same as I normally find vandalism reprehensible but when it is directed at speed cameras downright meritorious.

    Perhaps the spark of Liberty is not dead after all.

  15. #15 |  Thomas Jackson | 

    Wow lookie, lookie, lookie at all the potheads! Whats a druggie to do?

  16. #16 |  CA Law | 

    Just browsed Spike TV’s DEA website…

    Check out one of the sponsor’s ads – “Random acts of Cheetohs”

    At least they can laugh at themselves

  17. #17 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Being a DEA agent is military-like in the sense that you get the ego-swelling opportunity to terrorize a civilian population, but without the inconvenience of having to actually face any enemy troops. Kind of like heaven on earth for bullies.

  18. #18 |  ftp | 

    Very well said Dave. I am also confused though as to where Al Roker comes in…..what’s the connection?

  19. #19 |  Blue | 

    I don’t understand Spike’s involvement with this propaganda series. For that matter, why would any channel want a show that glamorized terrorism? I expect as much from Al Jeezera, but not Spike. While 80% of the DEA audience is of the age range from which they recruit, however, 80% of their audience also partake in substances contrary to the mission of the DEA.

    Maybe us stoners should take a lesson from those family values special intrest groups and stage a boycott, petition drive, education campaign on Spike TV and the sponsors of the show.

  20. #20 |  Andrew Williams | 

    All TV is PoliceTV these days, people! You’ve got the all-L&O channel, the all-CSI channel, and those lovely reality shows. It’s the deification of cops–smug, cynical know-it-all, never wrong cops. I keep hearing the words of Colin Wilson: “I wish I was as sure of *anything* as these people are about *everything.*” Next season: The IRS show! And STORMTROOPER.
    Sieg Heil, Amerika!

  21. #21 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #20 Andrew Williams:
    All TV is PoliceTV these days, people! You’ve got the all-L&O channel, the all-CSI channel, and those lovely reality shows. It’s the deification of cops–smug, cynical know-it-all, never wrong cops. I keep hearing the words of Colin Wilson: “I wish I was as sure of *anything* as these people are about *everything.*” Next season: The IRS show! And STORMTROOPER.
    Sieg Heil, Amerika!

    My, don’t we sound cynical. Sometimes I wonder how many of us troublemakers will eventually be shipped off to secret government-run re-education asylums in the gulag. I would post anonymously, but I figure my ID already pops up automatically on everything I post, courtesy of NSA mandated enhancements to the internet infrastructure considered essential to fight the war on terror, drugs, or child predators.

    I’m just kidding. I know that we have nothing to fear from government as long as no one listens to us.

  22. #22 |  billhilly | 

    Is it possible, maybe even a little bit, that this might backfire to some degree? I’ve watched COPS before and been outraged at the attitudes of some, while thinking others seemed reasonable.

    Am I just kidding myself in the hope that people will watch this and think “Damn! Those guys are like Nazis”?

  23. #23 |  Andrew | 

    I remember seeing a episode of COPS where a young officer was describing his job as finding a reason to stop and question as many people as possible and find out what they’re doing. Something else disturbing on COPS is how readily people allow searches of their vehicles after the typical “guilt trip” laid on them by cops. The old “You wouldn’t mind me looking just for my safety would you?”. If you don’t allow the implication is that you’re wanting to endanger the officer. Most people simply roll over and allow the thug to paw through their shit.

    I’m from a family of sheriff’s deputies, state troopers and local cops. Most of them are retired or soon will be. Even they comment on how the new generation of cops are militaristic, aggressive, confrontational and seem to have no regard for the people or the rights of the people they serve. It is an attitude and mindset that is being instilled at the academy level and reinforced by those in charge of hiring and running departments.

    I know a few months ago I was threatened with jail and sexual assault in said jail for the following offense during a traffic stop for a burnt out headlight. I didn’t wish to tell the officer where I was going and where I had been. Because I wouldn’t tell him the information he wanted he got enraged, threatened to take me to jail and have me raped.

    I got a ticket but I didn’t crack. I have to admit though during that traffic stop I seriously wondered if I was going to be killed. He kept massaging his sidearm more vigorously the more enraged he got.

  24. #24 |  kaptinemo | 

    So…the African-American Mr. Roker is producing a show about the DEA. I wonder if he is aware of what many of the posters at DEAWatch, the unofficial mouthpiece of DEA Agents, think of African-Americans. (Hint: not very much.)

    You have to be either an Agent presently serving, retired, or a family member to post there, so the sentiments often expressed there are that of those in the trenches…and they’re very muddy trenches indeed, and not just because of the work being done in them. The racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic opinions expressed there regularly explain why…

  25. #25 |  FWB | 

    Why is it that the Constitution required an amendment in order to grant Congress the authority to ban alcohol but no amendment has been deemed necessary for Congress to ban drugs or anything else?

  26. #26 |  Real ID: Menace 2 Free Society at Punditry by the Pint | 

    […] been to the DMV or been screwed by the Post Office or folks who’ve seen the destruction that wrong-door SWAT raids can wreak supporting creating a massive database full of sensitive personal data to be run by the same type […]

  27. #27 |  Billy | 

    I love how Al has no problem perpetuating the image that poor minorities are the main contributers of violence and drugs in America. He obviously has no shame in what he does because he is making money. Instead of the DEA putting all their resources in kicking doors down, why don’t they try to clean up the depressed streets of detroit literally. We all know what the true causes of crime are; poverty, lack of education, lack of informal social controls. Formal social controls like law enforcement and government are weak in comparison to strong family and social ties. We need to educate. Al Roker you should be ashamed of yourself. You make me sick.

  28. #28 |  Laura | 

    about Al Rooker on celebrity family feud on tuesday nights. How degrading for Al, it is the worst show I have ever seen. Does he need money? I would pay him to get OFF that stupid show and shut it down. Al get back to your smiling weather reports, and for heaven sakes don’t be any part of that awful show. Take a look at your self, you will see what I mean. You are great Al, the show stinks.

  29. #29 |  Sandy | 

    I like the show but i think it’s rigged. Last night i was watching (July 29th) i noticed that when one of the contestants were at the “pole” and he was asking the first question of that round, that Al put his hand on this kids hand and wouldn’t let him hit the buzzer, so that the other guy would get to it first…. what’s up with that??????