Back during the violent #NoDAPL protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline there was a news report from NBC’s Cal Perry about protesters who were worried a pipeline leak would ruin buffalo hunts since locals float the animals they harvest down the river.
Only, the story was totally bogus. In fact, Perry was apparently told it was bogus right after he recorded the segment per video recorded by a protester who was watching, but NBC News aired the story anyway and never, as far as I’m aware, issued a retraction.
Here’s the video of the segment:
“The tribes here go hunting for buffalo and they go hunting north of the river,” Perry said in one take. “Because the buffalo is so heavy, they kill it and flow it down here and that’s of course, what they feed their families with. What happens when we float that buffalo down the river and the river is full of oil?”
“Our tribe highly regulates our buffalo herd and hunts,” North Dakota Commissioner of Indian Affairs Scott Davis, who is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, told me when I asked him about Perry’s report earlier this year. “As a tribal member you’d be lucky if you got a tag or opportunity to harvest a buffalo. They only time we harvest buffalo is during our pow wows or ceremonies. Special occasions only.”
“I’ve never heard of that,” when I asked him about floating the buffalo down the river.
Anyway, according to a report from Politico, Perry just got a big promotion:
NBC News has named Cal Perry global editor of digital content, a newly-minted position based in London, where the MSNBC vet will help lead the network’s worldwide video expansion, according to an internal memo yesterday.
Good for Perry, I guess, though given his shoddy work here in North Dakota one might argue that this sort of thing is why people have lost faith in the media.
Much of the national media coverage of the #NoDAPL protests was exaggerated, skewed, and at times fundamentally inaccurate. Perry’s gaffe was a humorous one – seriously, Cal, floating buffalo? – but overall the myopically one sided coverage of the protests was no laughing matter.
The public deserves better, but we aren’t going to get anything better until the press starts taking their biases seriously.