Prosecutors for the Petrocrats Try to Imprison the Media

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.

4 responses to “Prosecutors for the Petrocrats Try to Imprison the Media

  1. Frank Sharpstown

    Where is the NY Times to help ?
    When they use horizontal directional drilling to steer under Native America land to suck up the oil and minerals like in Texas, nobody does anything about.
    When the black farmers are robbed of their land and deed given to white farmers who are the county seat’s nephews, nobody does anything about it – especially Kay Bailey Hutchinson who said that reparations and payment settlements would only add to the deficit which is as wrong as you can get when you put on your MMT goggles.

  2. Where is Amy Goodman to help? Is she detailing the role of the Government, industry and finance? Or is this simple theater on the ground with an emphasis on identity issues? In reply to the previous poster, most anyone, black, white, native American, et al. will agree to sell or re-purpose “their land” for the right price. The Petrocrats themselves aren’t particularly over zealous about this pipeline, they’ll pull dirty tricks, but if the “costs” are too high, they’ll bail.

  3. Unicorn Riot journalists covering the Dakota Access Pipeline have been arrested. Indigenous journalists covering the Dakota Access standoff face the same infringement of their first amendment right to report the news. Film documentarian Deia Schlosberg, the producer of Josh Fox’s new climate change documentary, is facing up to 45 years in prison if convicted for filming the shutting of a pipeline valve in North Dakota. The difference is their names are not so well known as Amy Goodman is. Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambeau, who is the elected leader of a sovereign nation as codified in our US Constitution, was arrested and stripped searched. Can you imagine the president or prime minister of a foreign nation being strip searched by a county sheriff?

  4. It’s by no means a novel thought, but the ways in which the New Millennium is coming to resemble the so-called “Gilded Age” are many, dramatic, and pernicious. It is “the” issue of the age; most of our other problems are symptomatic. It’s the corruption, “stupid”.