Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 10, 2012

The collapse of journalism magnified in Tuba City

The collapse of journalism magnified in Tuba City

Media Watch: When the Arizona senators came to steal Navajo and Hopi water rights, could the news coverage have been more pathetic?

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The collapse of journalism in the Native American and mainstream media was never more glaring than when Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl came to Tuba City on the Navajo Nation on Thursday to steal Navajo and Hopi water rights to the Little Colorado River for non-Indians.

While the staff reporters were no shows, the armchair journalism was obvious: A couple of phone calls, a few stolen quotes and a borrowed or stolen photo are all standard for the parasite journalists who make their living from plagiarism and rewrites.

The only bright spot was the excellent coverage by the independent Indigenous youths at Outta Your Backpack Media in Flagstaff, who were live on the scene with breaking news and photos. Paper Rocket Productions also provided an excellent video. KNAU public radio in Flagstaff also got it right.

However, in the days that followed this important event, it was obvious that the Native American media, local press and the mainstream media have no interest in serious journalism, and could care less about Navajo and Hopi water rights for future generations.

As for the lack of staff writers covering this event, as usual Indian Country Today was a no show. It has been years since an ICT staff reporter was actually seen out covering a news story in Arizona. Where were the Navajo Times staff reporters and photographers? The stringer’s article posted at Navajo Times on Tuesday is too short to be considered serious journalism on this important issue. The Navajo Hopi Observer is close by, yet on Tuesday, five days later, there was no coverage.

As for the Arizona print media, all receive thumbs down for their failed, dismal and pathetic coverage. The Arizona Daily Sun, nearby in Flagstaff, as expected, continues its biased, anti-Indian coverage of Navajo and Hopi issues. The biased, pro-corporate articles in Arizona Daily Sun, and its failure to cover the protests against the Arizona Snowbowl, which made national headlines, resulted in the newspaper being selected as the most racist newspaper in 2011 by Censored News.

As for the Arizona Republic or the Arizona Daily Star, no one expected serious coverage. Arizona’s two largest newspapers deserve recognition for bolstering white supremacy in the Arizona government, the crimes of the border militia and the banning of books in Tucson public schools, by way of the two newspapers failed coverage.
The New York Times blog post on the water rights protest in Tuba City doesn’t deserve a mention. Yawn.

The bottom line is this: Arizona Sen. John McCain and their buddies in Arizona, in Congress and at Peabody Coal, found it fairly easy to dupe the public into believing in the so-called “Navajo Hopi land dispute.”

The real purpose was to clear more than 14,000 Navajos from their homeland to make way for Peabody Coal’s two coal mines on Black Mesa. The coal goes to power the Navajo Generating Station, near Page, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation.

While the electricity goes to non-Indians, most Navajos on Black Mesa live without electricity and haul their water. They also live with the air pollution, respiratory diseases, cancer and the draining of their underground aquifer.

Operated by the Salt River Project, the Navajo Generating Station is one of the nation’s dirtiest coal fired power plants and a major cause of greenhouse gases.

McCain, Kyl and their buddies thought the theft of water rights would be another slam dunk of Navajos and Hopis, especially since the Arizona senators are aided by corrupt Navajo and Arizona politicians, along with Navajos who were once on McCain’s paid staff, and an attorney hired by the Navajo Nation who is working against the Navajo peoples best interests.

McCain and his buddies want to steal Navajo and Hopi water rights to the Little Colorado River to keep the dirty power plants operating and to enable their friends to keep living their lavish lifestyles downriver in Phoenix and Tucson, with their golf courses in the desert and their pro-military corporations like Raytheon Missiles.

For all those staff reporters, photographers and broadcasters who were taking a long Easter vacation and ignoring this vital news story, below is the coverage from the unpaid Native American youths, and from public radio. It is the coverage you failed to obtain.

Arizona media, consider giving back your awards for your excellent coverage this year. The news coverage of the Tohono O’odham Nation, at the southern end of the state, has also been fraudulent. Reporters have failed to even go out and speak to Tohono O’odham traditional people, expose the rampant corruption by elected tribal officials, or the militarization and abuse by the US Border Patrol and Homeland Security.

It was a sad day for journalism when the Arizona senators came to Tuba City to steal Navajo and Hopi water rights. Call the media and ask them why they were not present, and if they were present, ask them why they failed in their ethical responsibility as journalists.

Indigenous Action Media/Outta Your Backpack Media:
From the frontlines of the water wars: Diné and Hopi water rights at risk, protesters gather on Navajo Nation

Video and article by Paper Rocket Productions:

KNAU: Senators Kyl and McCain meet angry protesters in Tuba City:

Top Stories Censored News 2012

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Where were the real journalists? We've been mothballed out of existence.