Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Activists confront construction activities, which they say deliberately targeted sacred sites to 'provoke violence.' (Photo: AFP/Getty)

48 Words at 4 AM Is All Network News Has to Say About Pipeline Protests

The broadcast news networks—ABC, CBS and NBC—have aired exactly one report on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests since the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe began an encampment against the project in April, according to a search of the Nexis news database. That report, read by Anne-Marie Green, aired on the CBS Morning News at 4 a.m. on September 5. Here it is in its entirety:

National Public Radio reports violence during demonstrations against a proposed oil pipeline in North Dakota. Protestors confronted workers Saturday at a construction site. Police say four private security guards and two guard dogs were hurt. Tribal officials say the construction destroyed an Indian burial ground and cultural sites.

Those 48 words are a one-sided retelling of an NPR report (“Dakota Access Pipeline Protests in North Dakota Turn Violent,” 9/4/16), which in turn gets most of its information, as well as its anti-protester spin, from an AP story, “Oil Pipeline Protest Turns Violent in North Dakota” (9/4/16).

But the report on NPR‘s website also contains video footage from Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! (9/4/16), who—apparently unlike any of her colleagues from network TV—thought the largest mobilization of indigenous activists against environmental degradation was worth reporting on. Goodman’s footage shows the construction project’s security guards wielding pepper spray and deploying attack dogs to provoke and injure demonstrators—violence on the part of the pipeline authorities that got left out of CBS‘s rip-and-read on the protests.

Also missing from what is so far the entirety of broadcast TV news’ coverage of the Dakota Access protest is any mention of the threat the pipeline poses to water resources—the pipeline crosses the Missouri River just half a mile north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation—or the climate destruction facilitated by pipelines designed to ship fracked oil out to consumers.

But I suppose that if you’re only going to give a story 48 words of coverage, at four o’clock on a single morning, there’s only so much you can say.


© 2021 Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
Jim Naureckas

Jim Naureckas

Jim Naureckas is editor of FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting). He is the co-author of "Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error." He was an investigative reporter for In These Times and managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Abortion Rights Groups Sue to Block Post-Roe Trigger Laws in Louisiana

"We will be fighting to restore access in Louisiana and other states for as long as we can," said one reproductive rights campaigner.

Jake Johnson ·


Poll Shows Majority Oppose Supreme Court's Attack on Fundamental Rights

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they're now concerned the court will attack marriage equality and the right to obtain contraception.

Julia Conley ·


Global Windfall Profit Tax of 90% Needed to Address 'Catastrophic' Food, Climate Crises: Oxfam

Taxing the excess profits of large corporations within the G7 alone could raise an estimated $430 billion to fight world hunger, deliver vaccines to the entire world, and make a giant dent in the fight to drive down fossil fuel pollution and jumpstart the necessary renewable energy transition.

Jon Queally ·


NATO to Boost Ranks of High-Readiness Forces by 650% to Over 300,000

Anti-war campaigners responded that "this is not the path to peace and will not make the world safer."

Jake Johnson ·


Ilhan Omar Says Plan to Fix Supreme Court Must Include Impeachment Probes

"We need an impeachment investigation into Clarence Thomas' role in the January 6th coup, as well as into Gorsuch, Alito, Barrett, and Kavanaugh's testimony on Roe during their confirmation hearings," said the Minnesota Democrat.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo