Advancing a Story

Advancing the Story: Fact-Checking Bitch Media

On Wednesday, Nov. 23, the independent feminist website Bitch Media published an article called “We Are Still Here, We Persevere: A Dispatch From Standing Rock.”

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The article is a great perspective on the Standing Rock protests by Rebecca Nagle, a queer Cherokee Nation citizen and co-director and co-founder of the Monument Quilt and FORCE Upsetting Rape Culture. The story talked about state violence, and human rights abuses and criticized the media’s coverage of the protests, ending with concrete ways for readers to help support Standing Rock.

Halfway through, however, I encountered a sentence that seemed inaccurate to me:

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“North Dakota produces more oil than any other state, and most of this extraction happens on tribal lands.”

While I know that a ton of oil extraction takes place on tribal lands and that land rights are a huge issue for American Indians, I was doubtful that North Dakota was the highest oil producer. A quick Google search confirmed: while North Dakota is the second-highest producer of crude oil in the country, Texas holds the top spot. According to U.S. Energy Administration Information data, North Dakota consistently produces only about one-third of the crude oil as Texas. In August 2016 (the last available data), Texas produced over 3,000 thousand barrels per day of crude oil, while North Dakota produced less than 1,000.

To try to fix this error, or to see if I had missed something, I first commented on the page:

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As of 9:30 on Nov. 29, the comment hasn’t been approved or posted by moderators.

I also emailed the author. Although her email wasn’t available on Bitch Media, she contributes regularly to other media outlets and has her email listed on the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. I sent her an email praising her article and asking about the error:

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-7-30-28-pmI’ll update this blog post as I get a response, if my comment is posted, or if the article is changed!

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