The Anchorage Daily News is going to drive me insane.
On Sunday, the Juneau Empire chose to run this headline:
Sealaska seeks resolution of land claim
It’s a story about Sealaska trying to resolve the land claims from 37 years ago. I don’t think Sealaska has to be held up as doing everything right (Without actually knowing the whole story, it sounds like there are some questionable decisions going on.) But here’s the headline ADN decided to run:
Sealaska’s proposed land grab raises worries
Not that the tone ADN consistently uses with Native corporations is anything new, but really. Same story, but ADN editors went with a much catchier headline, only a little more biased. And just to make sure I wasn’t steeping in paranoia, here are just a few definitions of “land grab”:
“The term ‘land grab’ is almost always used in a pejorative sense to describe a hostile or unfair real estate transaction.” (WiseGeek)
“...the seizing of land by a nation, state, or organization, esp. illegally, underhandedly, or unfairly.” (Random House Dictionary)
Not that you need a definition to see the difference.
I don’t think Native corporations have always treated the land Native people paid for as they should. But in no way does the upholding of a legal transaction that should have taken place in 1971, or shortly thereafter, make for a land grab.
This is another area in which it is easy to get mired, and I really hate mentioning things that seem so small. After all, why should the “slight” difference of wording be so upsetting? Why should a few different words on a headline make any difference?
I happen to have a healthy respect for the responsibility of the media, and the Anchorage Daily News knows very well what “slight” differences in wording make. People read headlines. Many people will only read headlines. Sensationalism in any form gets people to read the story more, gets more newspapers sold. But for those that only read the headline, Native corporations (once again) come out on the wrong end. The headline sets up the whole tone for any article.
If you really want to see the difference in reader reactions, read the ADN (
I would love to talk about the actual issue more. It is not something I am completely resolved on myself. But it is difficult to focus on real issues when the repeated attention of
Again, I don’t think the Native corporations are all angelic. But they certainly aren’t the devil incarnate either. There are many corporations, serving a diverse people in a completely unique circumstance, and were formed as a requirement from the government. It is frustrating, not to mention a bit ironic, that the Native people are so frequently vilified for being successful at what they were required to begin.