Kade Ferris, Belcourt, N.D., Published October 23 2013
Letter: Media covers Leith situation poorlyUnityND has been closely following the media coverage of the situation in Leith, N.D., and has noticed some glaring issues with how stories are covered and a general lack of journalistic acumen.
A common theme of almost every story – written or broadcast – seems to seek out the opinion of the main antagonist, Craig Cobb, as part of the story line. Phrases like “Cobb could not be reached for comment …” or “… Cobb said” are omni-present in almost every story about Leith.
While we understand that people are morbidly curious about this man and his plans, the inclusion of (or seeking) his viewpoint in every story makes him and his message somehow deserving of legitimacy or required before the story can be told.
Another journalistic failing is that, while including Cobb’s viewpoint in almost every story, journalists have not yet made a concerted effort to seek the opinions of the decision-makers and politicians who ultimately must deal with the Leith situation. Where are the interviews with the county commissioners of Grant County? What is the viewpoint of Sen. Donald Schnaible, R-Mott, or Reps. Karen Rohr, R-Mandan, or Jim Schmidt, R-Huff? The public doesn’t know because the journalists are only seeking the perspective of Cobb.
For better or worse, we are asking the journalism community to do their job and bring additional voices into the discussion and into the news cycle on Leith. To not do so makes our news coverage of this serious situation seem parochial. We know you can do better. Your coverage of the protest in Leith garnered national praise.