Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hello, is anyone there....Hello, is anyone there?

Associated Press Gets It Wrong ... Again.

Byline/Source: Lucinda Hood
Monday, 14 April 2008


From the website of Nashville's NBC affiliate, WSMV Channel 4, we get the following paragraph:

"Bredesen also approved a measure to extend the state's commission on Indian affairs by another year. Senate Republicans had argued for phasing out the commission because of infighting among members and over concerns that the commission's may want to seek federal recognition for tribes to allow casino gaming in Tennessee."

What is it with you non-Indian AP reporters that you can't do any research beyond your other badly written articles? Did the author of this particular piece of conqueror view point happen to take time to watch video archives of the motion to terminate the commission? Did you go back and count the votes for and against the extension of the commission? Why are you apparantly purposefully leading the readers to believe every Republican in the Senate voted against the extension?

More importantly, why do we - the Native American journalists and the general public - let the big bad AP get away with this kind of nonsense? (Their blunders of this nature aren't limited to reporting about American Indians, you know.) Isn't it time we held them to a higher standard?

Dang it all, if I made these kinds of stupid mistakes in a story, the "big boy" media would eat me alive.

This dud(e) or dud(ette) or his/her editor (or both) makes a total mockery of journalistic. What happened to fact checking boys and girls? Is the AP exempt from such frivolous nonsense?

Here's some facts:

1) The motion to terminate the commission was passed in a 4-1 vote by the Joint Government Operations Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee. The motion was made by Senator Dewayne Bunch (R-Cleveland) who stated that "Recognition is clearly a federal venue" and "enhancement programs for American Indians are probably unconstitutional, anyway." There was no mention of casinos in the motion.

2) There were only six "no" votes in the entire Senate on SB2477 - Extension of the Commission on Indian Affairs. Yes, they were all Republicans, but the majority of Republican Senators (10) voted "yes" on the bill.

3) If you listen closely to the Senate floor debates, you'll hear some limited mention of not "casinos," but specifically "Indian casinos" in a way that would have any journalist worth the harddisk or print space and airtime he/she uses up busy speculating on the real issue: "Does Tennessee oppose casinos in general, or just those casinos that are owned by Indians?"

Even still-wet-under-the-collar journalists would pick up on the fact that it ain't any of the Indians in Tennessee talking about casinos. It's only the non-Indian folks, and they've been panicked about it on the Hill since at least 2001. They're so extremely worried about Indian casinos, they've had the AG working overtime. They've requested four different opinions on Indian gaming over the past 7 years. It's beginning to look a bit like institutional racism, don't you think?

Get it straight, AP, or better yet? Get yourself some Native American journalists and let them write from their perspective instead of the cookie cutter conqueror clap trap of your tired old editorial policies.