Opinion

Brandon Ecoffey: Media gets it wrong on Dakota Access frontlines






Militarized law enforcement on the #NoDAPL frontline in North Dakota. Photo by Rob Wilson [GoFundMe]

Inaccurate News in Mainstream Media
A note from the editor's desk
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times Editor
www.lakotacountrytimes.com

Although I have largely been skeptical of the mainstream media for most of my life, I never fathomed that it could be as inaccurate as it has been when it comes to reporting on topics surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline.

On Sunday night, November 21, millions around the world watched live online as police from all over the country attempted to freeze water protectors in Cannon Ball. Live feeds from independent journalists and private citizens documented law enforcement spraying individuals with water, tear gas, percussion grenades and rubber bullets in below freezing weather.

The use of water as a weapon on unarmed people in freezing weather can only be described as a form of torture. When did it become acceptable for members of law enforcement to engage citizens in such a violent manner? It is likely that one water protector will forced to have a limb amputated after police threw the percussion grenades into the crowd.

On Tuesday, the mainstream media bought the nonsense it was fed by Morton County officials who claimed that the water was only used to put out fires that they say were started by water protectors and that the crowd was only "misted" by the hoses. Sadly, the documented evidence from the night in question shows the opposite. Individuals were drenched with water in what can only be described as an attempt by law enforcement to inflict harm on private citizens.

After the law enforcement finally ran out of ammunition the people would go and use the newly created ice slopes to sled on. Our people have always been resilient in the face of oppression.

As someone who has worked in the media for a number of years it is disturbing that certain North Dakota based news agencies have become little more than the P.R. branch of the Morton County Sheriff's office. Despite the presence of overwhelming evidence that police are initiating and escalating conflicts with water protectors, the North Dakota media still prints the quotes of dishonest state officials without question.


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In South Dakota the same thing occurs regularly. The efforts by the non-Native media to push forth the state's bogus GearUp narrative is a perfect example. Some people in this business would prefer to be in the good graces of those in power instead of actually working to put forth objective facts.

In fifty years the world will look back in what has taken place in Cannon Ball and it will understand why our people fought the corporations over water. In fifty years those who have not understood just how sacred and necessary this element is will begin to feel the pinch of a limited water supply. We only wish that they would reach this understanding before it is too late.

*Brandon Ecoffey is the editor of LCT and is an enrolled citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation who was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He can be reached at editor@lakotacountrytimes.com)

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