Are we becoming like a 3rd world country where the oligarchs, the powerful, the corporations can keep real news reporters from showing what is happening? We have lost most of our real investigative reporting as the industry has moved to the highly profitable “Fox News model” of newstainment (the merging of news and entertainment). Sadly we seem to be approaching a new standard, where actual reporting is no longer legal. Recently, Democracy Now’s Ami Goodman “was in North Dakota covering what she calls ‘the standoff at Standing Rock’: the months-long protests by thousands of Native Americans against the Dakota Access Pipeline.” After releasing a short video of part of what took place Goodman now finds herself headed to the Morton County–Mandan Combined Law Enforcement and Corrections Center, where she will “turn herself in to the local authorities. Her crime: good, unflinching journalism.”
The article below from The Nation Magazine by Lizzy Ratner gives a factual account of Goodman’s attempt to report on what was happening at this protest. Goodman was “in North Dakota covering what she calls “the standoff at Standing Rock”: the months-long protests by thousands of Native Americans against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The $3.8 billion oil pipeline is slated to carry barrel after barrel of Bakken crude through sacred sites and burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and tribe members fear it could pollute the Missouri River, the source not only of their water but of millions of others’, should the pipe ever rupture.” We must remember Goodman did not organize this event. No, this event “represent the largest mobilization of Native American activists in more than 40 years—and one of the most vital campaigns for environmental justice in perhaps as long.” The constant encroachment by Big Fossil into native lands, water sources and mother nature itself is what caused this.
What made this protest catch our attention was the scale and tactics used by corporate security to overpower the will of the protesters. The use of military like security personnel, pepper spray, vehicles, horses and attack dogs were not needed and well beyond reasonable. As you might expect things very quickly got out of hand as the protesters refused to be intimidated, demanding their constitutional right to protest. They were following the words of Rep. John Lewis who recently, simply said “Sometimes you have to get in the way. You have to make some noise by speaking up and speaking out against injustice & inaction … you have to get in the way”. They were doing just that, getting in the way. Some of them will be arrested and that is OK, but Ami Goodman was reporting on the protest. Her arrest and the charges against her are absurd and merely another tool used to further intimidate. She has been charged with “riot, a misdemeanor punishable by jail time and a fine.” Interestingly, the original charge was “criminal trespassing, also a misdemeanor”, but evidently it was important for the prosecutor to make a point or maybe shut up one reporter’s mouth.
What is the USA becoming? Does no-one matter except power and wealth?