Fact Check: The Lead with Jake Tapper

As the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) continues to wage their illegal protest of the Dakota Access pipeline, the media continues to mishandle, or simply ignore, the facts. The most recent example: CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper.


The piece, featuring an interview with SRST Chairman David Archambault, exemplifies the inaccurate coverage the protest and the Dakota Access project has received. The following represent the story’s principal inaccuracies.

Fact: The Pipeline Doesn’t Cross Tribal Land

  • [0:16] “Protestors say it would threaten the environment as well as sacred Native American sites.”
  • [1:16] “That’s the only thing that we’re asking, that the project don’t come through our indigenous territory.”
  • Fact: The Dakota Access pipeline does not cross through tribal land. The project is being built on private property and has been reviewed extensively by the US Army Corps of Engineers.


Fact: No Ancestral Remains Were Found In Surveys

  • [0:16] “Protestors say it would threaten the environment as well as sacred Native American sites.”
  • Fact: Surveys conducted by government and tribes concluded that there is no threat to Native cultural sites.
  • Fact: Fifty five Native tribes signed off on the project’s cultural surveys, which found no disruption of remains along the project’s route. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe met nearly a dozen times with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the project.

Fact: Protests Have Not Been Peaceful

  • [0:25] “Over the weekend, the ongoing protest took a violent turn.”
  • Fact: There have been incidents of violence since the protest’s inception. These incidents have been initiated by the tribe that David Archambault chairs. He should denounce these lawless acts.
  1. “Dakota Access pipeline protesters threw rocks at security guards, hit dogs with sticks.” (Say Anything Blog, 9/5/16)
  2. “Law enforcement personnel working at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation are taking precautions not to advertise their identities after threats were made to specific officers both online and in person.” (Say Anything Blog, 8/30/16)
  3.  Protestors storm Dakota Access Pipeline, lead others past security perimeter, shut down construction site, (8/15/16)
  4. “According to numerous witnesses, within five minutes of the crowd of protestors, estimated to be a few hundred people became violent. They stampeded into the construction area with horses dogs and vehicles. Protestors physically assaulted private security offices hires by Dakota Access Pipeline. The security offices were hit and jabbed with fence posts and flag poles. According to several reports from security officers, knives were pulled on them or they witnessed protestors with large knives.” (Morton County Sheriff’s Department, 9/3/16)