South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem last week chastised regional media for what she claims is biased reporting following President Joe Biden’s decision to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline.
If it’s ever completed, the line would deliver oil from Canada to U.S. refineries. The day Biden took office, he signed an order shutting it down.
"Why is it that no South Dakota reporters cover the real-life impacts of the loss of the pipeline?" Noem asked reporters while highlighting a Washington, D.C., newspaper’s coverage of the impact to South Dakota. "I know if former President Trump had taken an action that had ended hundreds or thousands of jobs for South Dakotans, you would've covered that."
Was there a lack of coverage in the Dakotas after Biden shut down the Keystone? When looking on the whole, perhaps. For the record, Forum News Service’s South Dakota bureau reported on Biden’s Keystone order on Jan. 20 (the day it happened) and also when Noem criticized the media. After her comments, FNS wrote a 1,000-word report about the impact on South Dakota. Maybe others were planning in-depth coverage when Noem made her accusations and simply got scooped. It happens.
Farther north, the Grand Forks Herald on Jan. 22 published an editorial critical of Biden’s decision, citing job losses and economic impact. Granted, it’s a North Dakota newspaper, but Biden’s decision — declared bad for the region — was noted.
The coverage doesn’t meet Noem’s expectations, and that’s OK. But for her to be critical of messaging is questionable, considering comments she has made in recent months.
The media must be concerned about bias, perceived and real. Governors, meanwhile, can go into office with all sorts of biases, simply because their party affiliation declares their beliefs. It’s just politics.
They can be biased, yet they need credibility; Noem’s extreme bias toward Trump decreases that credibility when discussing anything regarding the past president or the man who currently holds the job. For Noem to criticize the media is hypocritical.
She has declared the presidential election was “rigged.” (On Inauguration Day, she did, however, offer congratulations to the new administration.)
She condemned violence at the Capitol but refused to say Trump had any role, even as her state’s federal delegates — Republicans all — added to their own credibility by saying Trump held at least some responsibility. Noem blamed the insurrection on inadequate education in American civics.
She called Democrats who won Georgia’s Senate election “communists” yet recently reminded her constituents that “there are consequences for how we talk to each other in this country.”
She hosts events at which attendees don’t wear masks, even as health experts say masks help slow the spread of COVID-19.
And she has jetted across the country to campaign for Trump and other Republicans, but won’t say how much the public is paying for security for these excursions that are highly personal and have little or no benefit to South Dakotans.
She can say what she wants about the media and perceived bias. Yet it’s credibility that we all — not just the media — seek from our elected leaders.
The media should pay attention to Noem’s comments about bias. Similarly, she — and all politicians — should consider ours about credibility.
This other view is the opinion of the editorial board of our sister publication, the Grand Forks Herald.