FROM THE ARCHIVE
Wall Street Journal blasted for 'drive by'
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FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 2002

In a classic David versus Goliath clash with a Native twist, the Wall Street Journal, an international publishing giant whose parent company reports revenues in excess of $2 billion, has taken on Indian Country Today, a tribally-tied newspaper with reservation roots.

But according to the conservative Journal, the largest domestic newspaper with a circulation of 1.8 million, ICT is the real bully when it comes to Indian gaming. In an editorial published on Thursday, the Oneida Nation-owned paper is accused of resorting to the tactics of "scoundrels" for defending the $10 billion and growing industry.

"Indian Country Today would better serve its readers of it tried to uncover such rotten deals instead of flacking for them," the WSJ writes of one tribal gaming agreement.

The dispute started last month, when the Journal published an editorial criticizing New York Gov. George Pataki (R) for shepherding legislation that paves the way for six new tribal casinos. The paper on March 1 predicted a wave of crime, corruption and mob influence under the deals arranged by the "Great White Father."

ICT responded March 7 and said it lost "respect" for the Journal. The editorial "took a pretty wide stereotypical and prejudicial swipe at American Indians," the Oneida paper wrote as it addressed what were perceived as factual errors regarding gaming, federal recognition and land-into-trust.

With its latest opinion, the WSJ laughs at the charges. "We are especially amused by Indian Country Today's assertion that 'Indian gaming is among the most regulated industries in America,'" the paper writes.

In other places, the Journal dismisses ICT's criticism by not responding at all. Claiming it was only trying to make fun of Pataki, the WSJ doesn't address its use of Indian symbolism, such as "powwow" and "Big Chief," to deride the governor.

The Journal also cites other media coverage of Indian gaming to defend its belief that crime will come to New York with Indian casinos. Reports by The Boston Globe, The Minneapolis Star Tribune and The St. Petersburg Times as presented as proof.

Former Assistant Secretary Kevin Gover and his top aide Michael Anderson are singled out by the WSJ, saying the Clinton appointees allegedly "abused their authority by granting recognition to six tribes." The Journal wrote: "And here's the best part: Mr. Gover is now a columnist for Indian Country Today."

The mention didn't faze Gover, who was attending a national legal conference in New Mexico yesterday. "I'm used to it," he said.

But he was serious about what he characterized as the Journal's misrepresentation of a Department of Interior report on federal recognition. "That was the ultimate in drive by journalism," he said.

"The report didn't say I abused my power," he continued, "but they feel free to make it up."

When contacted, Oneida Nation spokesperson Jerry Reed said the tribe was working on a response to the WSJ piece. Indian Country Today will also address the editorial in its next issue, said a staff member.

Noted journalist Tim Giago founded ICT in South Dakota in 1981. In 1998, sold the paper to a company owned by the Oneida Nation of New York. The paper has claimed a circulation over 100,000.

Read the WSJ Editorial:
Indian Casinos Today (4/4)
Oneida Nation Response (4/5)

Related Stories:
ICT slams 'Big Chief' editorial (3/8)
Mohawk Tribe blasts 'Chief' editorial (3/5)

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