Fargo Forum, KFGO Were Fooled On Oil Impact Memo, “Hook, Line And Sinker”
A few weeks ago I criticized the Fargo Forum for plagiarizing an email forward purporting to be an oil impact mom from western North Dakota. The email was unsourced, and demonstrably inaccurate, but that didn’t stop the Forum in their anti-oil zeal from publishing “facts” from it as “confirmed” anecdotes.
The Forum was forced to quietly correct one “fact” from the email forward (though the Forum never identifies their source as an anonymous email forward) about foreign nurses being hired by Trinity Hospital in Minot, but they’ve allowed the rest of the nonsense in their editorial to stand.
But now Prairie Public’s Tom Isern has taken a look at the “memo” and confirmed that it isn’t from an official source, and that the Forum (along with KFGO radio) were made fools of:
It’s easy to establish that the Oil Impact Memo is worthless as a source of facts. This did not stop the largest commercial radio station in the state from posting it on its website, in a way that made it appear the station had unearthed these facts. Nor did it stop the largest daily newspaper in the state from copying the alleged facts from the Oil Impact Memo into an editorial, without attribution, and endorsing them as matters of, as it said, “troubling substance.” Hook, line, and sinker.
Here is a fact I will state for sure: the Oil Impact Memo was not disseminated by the North Dakota Sheriffs & Deputies Association. I have that on the highest authority. It is, rather, a specimen of folklore, origin dubious, content contentious, distribution informal.
The Oil Impact Memo tells us nothing about life in the Oil Patch. It tells us a lot about those of us outside the Oil Patch—what we are willing, even eager, to believe.
I think the folks at the Fargo Forum, and KFGO, owe the North Dakota public an apology.
On a related note, I was out to dinner with my wife and daughters last night and overheard a group of people talking disdainfully about all of the “oil workers” living in our communities these days. While I can understand some of the frustration that comes with this oil boom, the hostility (at times even outright hatred) toward these “outsiders” often seems more than a little unfair.
The oil workers are people too. They are Americans who have come to North Dakota in pursuit of an opportunity. I’m a little tired of all the folk lore about crime in the west being committed by these people. The oil boom has created a bit of a “wild west” atmosphere out here, something exacerbated by an awful winter season last year and a horrendous spring flooding season, but concerns over crime and traffic and environmental impact have grown beyond legitimate into the realm of tall tales, fanned mostly (I suspect) by the political agendas and ambitions of a select few.
North Dakota needs to rise to the challenge of the oil boom rather than resorting to parochialism.Tags: fargo forum, kfgo, media bias, North Dakota News, oil, tom isern