Harjo: NY Times story on drugs accurate but untrue

"If The New York Times' articles about Indian country harboring drug runners were wildly inaccurate, it would be easier to explain how they create a false impression. As it is, the two-part series, ''Tribal Underworld,'' is a good example of how a thing may be largely accurate and, at the same time, untrue.

The articles in question - 'Drug Traffickers Find Haven in Shadows of Indian Country' and 'Dizzying Rise and Abrupt Fall for a Reservation Drug Dealer' - ran on the Times' front page on Feb. 19 and 20.

The headers and stories would have the reader believe that tribal governments and citizens shield drug pushers and perhaps conspire to do so, and that reservations are sanctuaries for criminals.

The subtext for the series is that communities act against their own self-interest when they are made up of criminals or idiots. In subtle and not-so-subtle ways, the series leads the reader to conclude that everyone's involved or looking the other way.

Without foundation, evidence or any reporting at all, one article states, 'Casino money has also fueled the surge, providing a fast-growing source of customers and well-financed partners for outside drug traffickers.'"

Get the Story:
Suzan Shown Harjo: Truth versus accuracy in New York Times' articles (Indian Country Today 2/24)

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