Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 4, 2013

The Fight for Real Journalism: Spotting the frauds in journalism

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

A return to authentic journalism requires the halt to 'copy and paste' journalism, which is plagiarism. Before posting news articles from sources like Indian Country Today, or Huffington Post, readers should check the web to see if the article is a rewrite, and the theft of someone's genuine hard work, for the benefit of a paycheck, an ego, or both.
Many times you will see the original article on Google, on Google News or Web. If not, e-mail the reporter  and ask: 'Were you there?' 'If not, did you use a brief phone call interview to disguise the fact that it is plagiarism?' 'Did you steal or borrow the photo?'
Ask why the photographer, who probably spent their own money to be present, was not paid and given photo credit.
It doesn't take long to discover the frauds.
Ask the publishers why they are refusing to reimburse travel funds for authentic reporting, and forcing reporters into bankruptcy who spend their own funds to cover news stories.
Spotting the frauds in journalism
If the reporter or columnist claims to be Native American or First Nation, ask them who their Native grandparents were. If they don't know, ask them how you can verify they are really Native.
If the person claims to be a journalist, ask for more links to their work, and whether they are now -- or have ever been -- receiving payments for public relations to promote individuals, politicians, organizations, tribes, casinos, or the US government, etc.
You can't be both, an authentic journalist and a paid public relations agent. The favors often continue for years or even decades after a person claims to switch from PR as a paid-for-promoter, to journalist.
Hopi Dan Evehema: The grant funders 'will own you'
Ask writers and columnists if they are receiving US, corporate, or non-profit grant funding, and what the source is. Ask how much of the grant funding goes to the board members and staff, and what is their annual salary and travel expense. (Non-profits are required to make this pubic.)
Ask reporters and columnists if the amount and source of their grant funding has been made public, and if the salaries have been made public. Ask writers and columnists what is the role played by their news articles or press releases in obtaining more funding.
Many grants are for $200,000 and $300,000 and many non-profits are keeping those secret. Other organizations are being funded by corporations, like the Ford Foundation, which is  funding Indigenous work at the United Nations. Many people have become dependent on grant funding, and use press releases to keep the funding coming in, while traveling and promoting themselves, or using other peoples issues without telling them. Others have secretly taken control of grassroots organizations in order to seize their funds.
Hopi elder Dan Evehema, when he was over 100 years old and speaking through a translator on the mesa  said, "Never take grant funding, or they will own you."
Verify journalists identities
If a new name appears on an article or video, check to see if an exposed wannabe fraud is now using a new name, or a corrupt journalist has switched names.
If you are suspicious of their reporting, investigate to see if they have ever received training, or have been employed, by the CIA, NSA, or other intelligence firm. If so, determine if they are whistle blowers or still working undercover.
If they promote the oil and gas, or coal industry, or cover up the environmental destruction, investigate the reporter and find out why. Just as with tribal politicians, the energy companies offer to pay reporters and columnists with fancy meals, hotel and travel in order to co-opt their support. Sometimes, they just play 'buddies,' like politicians do, for a lifetime.
Sen. John McCain: 'I'm your buddy'
US politicians like Arizona Senator John McCain skillfully use public relations and the 'I'm your buddy,' approach in false propaganda campaigns. This includes the so-called Navajo Hopi Land Dispute, which was actually aimed at removing more than 14,000 Navajos from Black Mesa for Peabody Coal. The same coal fuels the dirty Navajo Generating Station, which supplies electricity to the Southwest, while most Navajos at Black Mesa live without running water and electricity.
While riding in Navajo parades, McCain consistently worked behind closed doors pushing policies to annihilate Navajos.
Recently McCain joined Sen. Jon Kyl, and corrupt tribal politicians and non-Indian attorneys, in an attempt to steal Navajo and Hopi water rights for thirsty and wasteful Arizona cities, and to keep the dirty electricity flowing south from coal fired Navajo Generating Station, operated by Salt River Project (SRP) while poisoning Navajos.
McCain's pork spin also enriches corporate profiteers like Boeing at the US/Mexico border, by promoting hype and anti-migrant hysteria. The hysteria also fuels funding of the for-profit corporate prisons filled with migrants and people of color, both GEO and CCA.
McCain's spin also enriches the war corporations aimed at killing people in other countries, ensuring that corporations like Raytheon Missiles in Tucson will get more US dollars to kill people. There's always a new US enemy to keep the war dollars flowing to war corporations.
Drones make it as easy to kill civilians as the suspected enemies, and none will ever have their day in court. It just takes a few computer keyboard taps to kill lots of people who appear on Obama's kill list.
Indigenous spokesmen at the United Nations
When examining news articles, look closely at the people taking over as spokesmen for Indigenous issues at the United Nations. Are they wannabe frauds, heavily-funded academia, or on the 'personal glory train?'
Lakota Alex White Plume, from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, recently demanded at the United Nations that the Indigenous representatives at the UN are people who can speak their own Native languages so they can truly represent their own grassroots people.
Buying that voice
All corporate news is heavily controlled by the private agendas of the owners, and profiteering advertisers. When listening to Native American radio news, or looking at Native newspapers or magazines like Native Peoples, first listen to, and look at, the advertisements, to see who is controlling their voice.
If the first thing you hear, or see, is Chevron, Exxon, Shell, Peabody Coal, a casino, or the CIA Clandestine Services (CIA spies) that should tell you why the media source is not adequately exposing the truth.
If the advertiser is a Native American casino, investigate and see if the people are actually receiving more than a trickle of those millions or billions.
For example, at the Tohono O'odham Desert Diamond Casino bordering Tucson, you can see that it is packed with gamblers, and has been for a decade.
Drive across the Tohono O'odham Nation and you will see that most of the people are living in desperation. Talk to O'odham and see how many are desperate for food, firewood in winter, and a ride to the grocery store, as well as homes and jobs.
To discover why the truth is not being told, ask whether the tribal government allows freedom of the press. This includes authentic reporters present in its council sessions, which the Navajo Nation allows under its freedom of the press guidelines. Freedom of the press also includes the freedom to interview O'odham without tribal government interference, control or intimidation. Ask whether the Tohono O'odham tribal radio station staff is under the control, and located in the department, of the tribal chairman.
It is easy to see that most of the Desert Diamond millions, or billions, has gone to non-Indians: Casino management firms, attorneys, lobbyists, public relations firms, non-Indian outside charities, and a large percentage to the state of Arizona. There is no way to know how much just disappears from casinos, and who are the favored few receiving their cut.
Recently the Desert Diamond casino even bought out the voice of Tucson television news with advertising.
Investigate how non-Indians and wannabe frauds cashed in on the concept of Indian sovereignty nationwide to enrich themselves by way of creating 'Indian' casinos and secret cash flows to non-Indians.
The public approval strategy included changing the word 'gambling' to 'gaming,' and restricting the facts in regards to how much money is going to non-Indians and the states. Native American performers and talent are minimized in the entertainment venues.
Non-Indian consultants were put in place to control the money and decisions at many 'Indian' casinos.
Ask reporters at Indian newspapers, including Indian Country Today,  if they were forbidden to report this story. Ask real reporters in the field, not plagiarizers sitting in their chairs.
Today, one of the most censored issues is how gambling addictions are destroying Native families and lives.
Spinning for profiteers
The news has become a deceptive tool to sway public opinion, promote bogus wars, and enrich warmonger corporations who consider people of color and poor whites as expendables in bogus wars. The US military romanticizes enlisting in the military and going to war in its TV commercials, and relies on the failed economy to force young people into the military.
The US military refuses to tell the real facts of the high rate of soldier suicides, high rate of rapes by fellow US soldiers, and the inhumane treatment of sick and disabled US soldiers in veterans hospitals. The media follows by promoting bogus wars and encouraging young people to give their lives without even questioning whether the war is legitimate.
Don't be fooled by spin
Print journalism has been degraded to an all time low, with armchair journalists who never leave their chairs plagiarizing for a paycheck.
Radio news is held hostage by desperation for dollars, with broadcasters offering degrading performances, while performing their news tricks for corporate masters.
Don't be fooled by the private agendas, or get caught up in the hype and spin.

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 31 years, beginning as a staff writer for Navajo Times during the 18 years she lived on the Navajo Nation. After serving as a stringer for AP and USA Today on Navajoland, she was a longtime staff writer at Indian Country Today covering the Southwest. She was censored repeatedly, then terminated with no cause given, at Indian Country Today in 2006. She created Censored News as a platform for Censored Native voices. Censored News is now in its 7th year with more than 2 million views and has no advertising or sponsors.

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