By Brenda Norrell
(Photo: Protest over Peabody Coal's use of Black Mesa aquifer water. Photo courtesy Black Mesa Trust.)
AP writer Felicia Fonseca continues her biased coverage of Indian country today, with a classic example of how news reporters promote the poisoning of Indian country by energy companies.
In her article on the EPA withdrawing the water discharge permit of Peabody Coal on Black Mesa, she places Peabody Coal's comments in the first portion of the article, before the Navajo Nation government's response, and doesn't even bother to quote the grassroots Navajo and Hopi people who live on Black Mesa.
Fonseca can't even use the excuse that she doesn't know anyone to quote because she doesn't live there. The Black Mesa Water Coalition released a press statement yesterday, and posted it online, with numerous comments by people who actually live on the land and are poisoned by Peabody's discharges in their water.
News reporters know that the placement of comments in an article is the key. The majority of readers online never read beyond the first few paragraphs. So either out of ignorance, or bias, Fonseca repeatedly is a lobbyist for Peabody Coal and other energy companies who exploit Indian country land.
Perhaps Fonseca doesn't believe that the people who live on the land are important. Perhaps, she, like so many reporters, believes that only elected officials and corporations should be quoted.
How much time has she spent living on Black Mesa, Navajoland or Hopiland?
If she is assigned by AP to cover this issue, then she should go and face the people and spend some time living there before promoting pollution and disease. She should go and haul her water in a pickup truck, read by lantern light at night and spend a few nights stuck on an icy mud road. She should go and visit the Navajo elders who are sick and out of firewood, then try and get a dying person to the hospital before it is too late.
Then, we should read what Fonseca writes.
Perhaps she doesn't know that the Navajos on Black Mesa have been abandoned by their own Navajo Nation government, because of the greed for dollars.
Don't be surprised if Fonseca, like so many Congressmen when they leave office, is hired by an energy company or other corporation that she has snuggled up with.
Fonseca's AP article: http://www.durangoherald.com/sections/News/2009/12/04/EPA_withdraws_discharge_permit_for_Arizona_mine
Black Mesa Water Coalition statement:
Brenda Norrell, publisher of Censored News, has been a news reporter for 27 years. During the 18 years she lived on the Navajo Nation, she was an AP stringer for five years covering the Navajo Nation and federal courts.