Where do First Amendment rights end when it comes to public safety?
That's a question many Americans have been asking while social media sites grapple with how to deal with violent or deliberately false posts.
And Blue Bloods Season 11 Episode 8 provided a fresh perspective after Jamie arrested a reporter for trespassing and interference.
I'm a strong believer in First Amendment rights, but I thought Jamie was justified.
The reporter not only ignored police orders but was actively interfering in the arrest of a suspect who had already gotten physically aggressive with police.
That could be dangerous. If a police officer is distracted by someone else during an arrest, the arrestee could escape, grab a gun, or otherwise cause trouble.
Of course, there have been many cases where people were told not to film the police, and that's a murkier area that potentially crosses the line into stopping reporters from exposing what cops are doing on the job.
But that wasn't what happened here.
In fact, if the woman had kept her mouth shut and just filmed, Jamie would likely have had no basis to arrest her.
The rest of the reporter's story also brought up questions. As the episode title suggested, there was more to the story than there may have seemed at first glance.
On the one hand, nobody has a legal obligation to share what they know with the cops, as Erin's storyline also demonstrated. So the reporter was within her rights to keep her evidence to herself and/or to blur the faces of lawbreakers to tell her story.
Robert Lewis: She was doing her job, reporting a story.
Frank: She became the story. There's a difference.
On the other, what did sitting on the information accomplish?
The shooting clearly shook the reporter yet seemed to be helping the shooters get away with it. Her claim in her story that the looters weren't really hurting anyone was ludicrous when they'd shot and seriously injured a storekeeper.
And it was only a matter of time before the reporter was the next one shot since she kept showing up at crime scenes before the cops did, and the last one had turned violent.
Besides, while the reporter couldn't be compelled to testify, she could be compelled to turn over evidence that she was sitting on, and she opened herself up to that by posting the video online.
Her claims that her First Amendment rights were being violated were ridiculous. Nobody stopped her from reporting the story.
Another point that Frank brought up was never fully addressed.
This reporter was not affiliated with mainstream media. She was a Youtuber, which meant she was either a citizen journalist or was working for some independent news outlet that is exclusively digital.
Did this give her less standing than network-affiliated reporters? It was hard to say, and this was more or less confined to a few throwaway lines on Frank's part about how she wasn't a real reporter.
In any case, I liked Frank's point about slanted media. Nowadays, most media has obvious biases, and readers/viewers often assume that those platforms that align with their political beliefs are "unbiased." They're not -- they're just biased in a way that the consumer agrees with.
This isn't about liberal vs. conservative media. It's about the way objectivity in media has gone out the window, and that allows media to shape narratives rather than reporting them.
And that can be dangerous, especially if a media source plays fast and loose with the facts to support a particular worldview.
In some ways, Erin's case was similar to the whole controversy over the reporter.
She was trying to present the case a certain way to her witness, and Kimberly's blunt, brutal honesty messed up her narrative and scared the witness off.
Kimberly seemed devoid of empathy for the victim and came off as pushy... until Frank delivered a hearty dose of empathy himself.
Frank: We all walk around with doubts about ourselves and fear they may be confirmed. I certainly do. I'm sure she [Kimberly] does too.
Erin: Well, that sounds like a funhouse mirror without any fun.
He was a better man than me because I just found this character aggravating, and I was eager to find out how Erin was going to put her in her place, or at least get her out of the way so she could do her job.
I wasn't surprised that Kimberly made up the story about witnessing a murder since she'd already orchestrated Keisha running into the victim's mother. Fake story or not, though, she finally managed to show the empathy for Keisha that she'd been missing during the rest of the hour.
I didn't like Erin distancing herself from her brothers because of Kimberly's opinion. She has to be careful because of what her boss thinks, and I get that, but it still bothered me, and it caused unnecessary conflict.
Kimberly had competition in the annoying department, though: Detective Raines. It was nice that Danny extended an olive branch, but the guy was useless!
He mainly sat around making snide remarks about how the perp had locked Danny and Baez in a basement on Blue Bloods Season 11 Episode 1. They ditched him to do the actual investigative work, and he showed up just in time to ask if Baez was okay after Danny saved her from the killer.
If other cops are going to fight for jurisdiction, they should at least be competent.
Baez getting herself into trouble was predictable, though. I was waiting for the serial killer to attack her.
Danny: Just do me a favor and don't go off on your own again.
Baez: Are you kidding? You do it all the time. Danny Reagan practically wrote the book on it.
Danny: I don't want you to be like Danny Reagan.
Danny: Because I like Maria Baez.
It led to a sweet moment between Danny and Baez, though, and I can't help wondering if they are headed for a romantic relationship.
No one can replace Linda, but Baez has chemistry with Danny, and they gel together well.
Of course, Jamie already married his partner, so it would be somewhat redundant if Danny dated his, but still.
Your turn, Blue Bloods fanatics!
Did Frank and Jamie handle that pesky reporter properly? Does Erin need to put Kimberly in her place? And do you ship Danny/Baez?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts!
Want to see the episode again first? Just watch Blue Bloods online right here on TV Fanatic.
Blue Bloods airs on CBS on Fridays at 10 PM EST/PST.