Almanac Does Not Condone LaDuke’s Line 3 Holocaust Analogy
On November 13, 2020, Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) featured anti-pipeline activist Winona LaDuke on Almanac to discuss the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project. On the program, LaDuke made several false claims, and compared pipeline workers to security guards at Auschwitz.
LaDuke’s characterization of pipeline workers as employees at a Nazi death camp prompted Almanac to issue the following statement:
“Every week, TPT’s public affairs program “Almanac” works to include diverse perspectives about important issues affecting Minnesota. When reporting on complex or controversial issues, our goal is to provide balance and insight over the long term. The “Almanac” team has been reporting on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline controversy for several years now. We’ve heard perspectives from the company, environmental groups, state government, and from Native American organizations and leaders.
On Nov. 13, 2020, the broadcast of “Almanac” included a live web camera interview with Winona LaDuke, a long-time activist and leader in the Native American community. Our team asked LaDuke important questions about the Line 3 pipeline and plans to build it. Near the very end of that live interview, Ms. LaDuke compared pipeline workers to people who worked during the Holocaust in gas chambers at Auschwitz. We recognize that for many people, this statement may have been upsetting or offensive. In hindsight, viewers would have been better served if the live discussion had been extended to allow for a follow-up question about LaDuke’s statements.
Neither “Almanac” nor TPT condones the parallel to gas chambers. And in upcoming weeks and months we will hear more thoughts of other groups and individuals involved in the Line 3 pipeline debate. We are committed to covering this story as the pipeline appears ready to start construction after years of regulatory hearings.
Finally, we have been transparent for the past six months that Enbridge has been an on-air sponsor of “Almanac.” None of the “Almanac” sponsors –including Enbridge– has a say in any of the program’s editorial content. And “Almanac” will continue to provide independent journalism on this important topic.”
This statement by TPT and Almanac is a good start. LaDuke’s comparison of the pipeline workers who are replacing an aging and corroded pipeline to murderers at Nazi death camps is in no way accurate or appropriate. It was a deeply offensive thing to say about the workers who are making it safer to transport the energy we use every day, and these people deserve an apology.
LaDuke’s interview also contained a litany of factual errors. Hopefully, the Almanac staff will interview someone who can correct these factual errors for their viewership.