Last week I was contacted by a representative from AlJazeera English, to give my response to a few questions about mainstream media’s minimal coverage of the largest “protest” in modern American history, and what kind of issue it was: Native only? Environmental? The resulting report was published on Dec. 10, 2016 at the Al Jazeera website and also the video on YouTube.
1. The Dakota pipeline protest has been reported as the longest-running protest in modern American history, and yet from October 26 through November 3 the US mainstream cable networks spent less than an hour covering the demonstrations and violent law enforcement response. Why hasn’t the issue received the coverage many feel it deserves?
2. The Dakota pipeline has been depicted as a Native America issue, “their” issue, rather than an issue that could affect millions of Americans on the Missouri River. What have the last few months told us about how the media cover Native Americans?
3. What about the environment? Do the mainstream media simply not care about major environmental stories?
(though it was edited to some seconds):
“Even as a baseball team with a native mascot, a stereotype, said to honor natives was cheered, mostly white militarized police were attacking real natives over oil, while local media stirred hatred and mainstream ignored it.
Anything most white Americans don’t think affects them personally, they minimize or ignore. In particular, if forced to look at the original peoples of Turtle Island, the conditions many live in because of European invasion and centuries of abuse just like we’re seeing at Standing Rock: it’s the natives own fault. Never theirs, even though everything they have is based on their proficiency as liars, thieves and killers, as Simon Ortiz recently said.
The majority of police, prosecutors, judges, the media heads are all white. In society and in news, they don’t want anything or anyone threatening that status quo or that highlights the vast inequity, injustice and racism of the USA. The indigenous led movement at Standing Rock is doing that.”