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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

A couple of examples of FOX's "balanced reporting"

There are a couple of newbites on FOX's website that summarize articles that have appeared on our blog as well. Those 2 articles are the change of mascots, by Southeast Missouri, and the renaming of squaw flat to switchback flat.

Here is how FOX lead to the first story about mascots


The Associated Press reports that Southeast Missouri State University will drop the Indian nicknames it uses for its sports teams in order to appease those who find them demeaning to Native American culture.full page


Notice the use of the word appease. One definition, and the context that FOX is attempting to place this action in, is to "yield to demands at the expense of one's principles." Recall that prior to the invasion of Iraq, France and Germany were derided as "Saddam appeasers."

Another way to rephrase that sentence would have been "Southeast Missouri State University will drop the indian epithet in an effort aimed at stopping the dehumanization of American Indians." You won't ever see that sentence on FOX.

Here is an excerpt from the second story entitled, "Squawking"
The state of Oregon has agreed to change the name of a spot near Klamath Falls from Squaw Flat to Switchback Flat following complaints from some locals that the former term is derogatory to Native Americans, reports the Herald and News.

The state Legislature has encouraged communities to go around changing the names of places around the state because the term "squaw" is considered derogatory in some circles even though etymologists have roundly dismissed the negative origins


In the first paragraph, the phrase "some locals" is substituted for "american indian community." This gives the impression that a couple of malcontents are making an issue out of a trivial matter.

In the second paragraph, they use "some circles" instead of the correct descriptor. The correct phrase could be "american indians." The claim that etymologists have "roundly dismissed the negative origins" contains at least 3 problems. First, their is no consensus among etymologists about the origins and the issue is hotly debated. Second, American Indians know what the word means regardless of the debate between etymologist. Thirdly, even if the origin was not negative (which it is at any rate)the present day connotation is derogatory.

I can claim that Peckerwood is simply an inversion of woodpecker, the origin of the term, and woodpeckers are majestic birds. Any sane person would recognize that peckerwood is considered an insult by present day standards. That is, unless their views are shaped by the "fair and balanced" reporting of FOX news.

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