An Open Letter to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Dear Editor,

Now that you have interviewed Mr. Corey Goulet, TransCanada's president for Keystone Projects, and the South Dakota Public Utilities hearing in Pierre, South Dakota is imminent, when is The Argus Leader going to begin interviewing and publishing the videos of those who represent the other side of the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) issue?

Over the past year, The Argus Leader has been offered connections with leaders of the historic Cowboy and Indian Alliance, Dakota Rural Action, the Spirit Camp, Bold Nebraska, scientists, environmentalists, and others.

In the July 23 interview linked to The Argus Leader's website, Mr. Goulet deftly reframed and sidestepped the reporter's too-general questions. Mr. Goulet wasn't asked specific questions about the facts of the economics (actual numbers of jobs and tax dollars per the U.S. government analysis and reports), or specific questions about TransCanada's actual record o spills/accidents/explosions/evacuations over the past years, or specific questions about Native treaty violations, or specific questions about endangering the Ogallala aquifer.

Links to all of this information, and offers to connect you with knowledgeable persons, have been provided to The Argus Leader repeatedly by a number of people opposed to the pipeline. I have personally provided information and offered to make connections on numerous occasions (multiple times by phone, as well as in writing at least twice in September 2014, in November 2014, five times in January 2015, in May 2015, and in June 2015). Apparently the reporter was unaware of these materials and contact information. If he was aware of them, he did not use them to prepare for his interview. As a result of this lack of preparation, instead of being a solid piece of investigative journalism, the interview was, essentially, another public relations piece for TransCanada.

It is clear that The Argus Leader receives a substantial amount of advertising revenue from TransCanada (the constant publishing of 1/2 and full page ads purchased by TransCanada to support the KXL pipeline attests to this). South Dakotans who oppose KXL have had a few letters published in The Argus Leader, and a few ads, but nothing like the media blitz by TransCanada that appears in nearly every issue of the paper.

It certainly appears that the money The Argus Leader receives from this Canadian company is impacting the quality of the reporting that is being published.

Is this really independent journalism?

The historic role of the "Fourth Estate" (the press/media) is to provide readers with the full scope of available information. This is important for two reasons. First, to educate citizens so they can make informed choices. Secondly, to hold political and corporate players accountable. Fair and full reporting is the role of journalism in a democratic society that is "of the people, by the people and for the people."

It is time for The Argus Leader to tell "the rest of the story" and provide the people of South Dakota with information from those who oppose this foreign company's acquisition of American land and water.