By William K. Black
October 18, 2016 Kansas City, MO
What happens in the petrocracy formerly known as the State of North Dakota to the tiny minority of reporters who actually expose the misconduct of the petrocrats? Fracking has perverted many organs of the government in North Dakota into petro-cronies. They act to protect their petrocrat patrons from criticism from this minority of reporters. A county North Dakota prosecutor decided to use what is becoming the petrocrats’ favorite strategy to censor Amy Goodman by imprisoning her.
In North Dakota, the petrocrats hired a force of goons with attack dogs to intimidate and attack Native American protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Amy Goodman, an award-winning journalist most famous for Democracy Now, was the only journalist to cover the attack on the protesters. The petrocrats were enraged when her video of the private goons and their dogs’ attacks on the protesters attained wide publicity.
The most wonderfully awful aspect of the entire perversion of the justice system to aid the petrocrats and destroy the First Amendment is that Goodman’s prosecutor (a particularly dim bulb) explicitly admitted that the basis for his decision to prosecute her was the content of her news report. The prosecutor was furious that Goodman’s report did not condemn the protesters as vicious criminals and did not treat the petrocrats as the victims of the protesters’ crimes.
But the prosecutor said she does not deserve special treatment, because he doesn’t consider her to be a journalist.
McLean County State’s Attorney Ladd Erickson, who is prosecuting the case for Morton County, said he sees no difference between her and other anti-pipeline demonstrators charged with trespass.
“She’s a protester, basically. Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions,” said Erickson, adding that her coverage of the Sept. 3 protest did not mention that people trespassed during the incident or the alleged assaults on guards.
The First Amendment was designed to prevent precisely such censorship by government based on the content of the speech. It takes time for crony capitalism to destroy the best aspects of a nation like America. Multiple prosecutors in North Dakota have decided to ignore the First Amendment, but the judiciary takes longer for the petrocrats to corrupt. The judge refused to approve the obviously bogus claim that Goodman had committed the crime of “riot” by reporting on the attack on the protesters. The time to take dramatic steps to prevent the further descent of states into petrocracy and to save the First Amendment is now, not after the judiciary is corrupted.