Think of the Trump team, then, as a presidency in search of an emergency. Without a suitable crisis, prospects are fairly bleak. But given a financial meltdown, an epic natural disaster, a war, or a spectacular terrorist attack, opportunities open up.
In a vindication for press freedom and land protectors fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline, North Dakota has dismissed the “riot” charges against Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman, issued after she reported on pipeline company security guards physically assaulting nonviolent, mostly Indigenous land protectors in September.
In an ominous sign for press freedom, documentary filmmaker and journalist Deia Schlosberg was arrested and charged with felonies carrying a whopping maximum sentence of up to 45 years in prison—simply for reporting on the ongoing Indigenous protests against fossil fuel infrastructure.
When ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline burst last month, filling the streets and front lawns of small-town Mayflower, Arkansas, with pools of heavy crude oil, the company followed what has by now become standard protocol: attend to the spill and clamp down on the media. It’s a scenario all too familiar to those journalists who covered 2010’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, and to the people of the Gulf Coast desperate for information about how the BP blowout would affect their health and livelihoods.