The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, but we’re already seeing efforts by many people to either clearly define — or re-define — the overall narrative.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is no exception. With an eye on her political future, she’s been advertising for months that she has always been a champion of freedom in dealing with the pandemic while other governors (including some who might be her opposition in a potential 2024 presidential race) have imposed lockdowns. Critics have challenged her on this, noting the steps she took when the pandemic hit South Dakota in March 2020.

This is likely to remain an issue surrounding Noem as she heads into the 2022 gubernatorial race (assuming she seeks reelection, which at this point appears likely) and for as long as a rabid anti-COVID protocol, anti-vaccine, anti-masking mentality remains a significant force in the Republican base.

Noem and her advocates are technically correct when they say the governor never locked down the state. In fact, the state never closed businesses or restricted travel in the face of the coronavirus threat. Even when some sources (including this newspaper) were suggesting that Noem should consider a brief lockdown to get control of the virus spread in the spring of 2020, the governor resisted. But she also said more than once that the battle against COVID was going to be a marathon, not a sprint.

However, she did order schools to shut down, first for a week, then for another week and then longer until the semester was gone. One could parse words here: In her initial statement, she only “asked” the schools to shut down, a word choice that did cause some early confusion. When pressed, she admitted it was an order. Closing down the schools across the state is not the same as closing down the state, but it did have a momentous impact on life here.

She did issue a stay-at-home order for older residents in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties in the early days of the pandemic. This was very short term and confined to the two counties that were seeing the biggest increase in cases at that moment.

She did not order businesses across the state to shut down or modify operations; instead, she left those decisions up to local municipalities and counties. This also created a patchwork of regulations from town to town and, as in the case of Yankton County, from town to country. We were told anecdotally that when local officials looked to the state for some guidance during the early days of the crisis, the state was mostly hands’ off. That might be seen as freedom, but it’s not always the best medicine in all situations.

However, as far as we know, her administration never threatened to, say, punish a county that tried to implement a mask mandate on government property — unlike Nebraska, for example. That, too, could be defined as freedom.

In spring 2020, when the Park Jefferson speedway tried to hold races despite the strong encouragement not to host such an event in the mounting crisis, Noem appeared clearly unhappy with the situation, and the speedway’s defiance made national news. (It ultimately backed down.) But three months later, she hailed the much larger and potentially more problematic Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as a sign of South Dakota’s freedom.

The success of all this has been mixed. South Dakota at one point last fall was one of the top states in the nation in terms of COVID-19 death rates; as of July 23, the state ranked 10th in the nation in COVID-19 fatalities with 231 people per 100,000. Also, South Dakota saw a tremendous early response to the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, but that pace has slowed of late, matching what is happening elsewhere.

With the Delta variant threatening a new wave of uncertainty, this narrative is far from complete. Noem and the people of this state still face challenges. But a blunt assessment of the past may be the best way to confront the future.


(43) comments


Rabid, eh?

If you want to label anyone or any group as rabid, perhaps you should consider those who continue to push the lies about covid. Few people seek to find accurate reporting of the facts because they believe the loudest voices. Those voices have been deceitful at best, criminal to say the least. The "science" you refer to is from compromised entities who either know better or are unwittingly caught up in the agenda. That includes your elected officials, healthcare providers and media outlets spreading disinformation.

Please look past the easy sources of information to reveal the truth about this issue. It is becoming far more rabid as some now believe harsh sanctions and useless mandates are the next step towards safety.


Assessing facts? What a novel concept. Very well thought out and written piece. Refreshingly boring....



The story begins with Ray and Zach building massive 2,000,000+ follower accounts on Facebook in both pro-law enforcement and conservative politics dating back to 2014.

After fighting big tech censorship day after day, we were demonitized and locked out of most of our pages. That wasn’t enough to stop us.

We hooked up with our good friend Stew from PC Radio and joined forces to keep fighting. We support FREE SPEECH and will not quit telling the truth just because big tech tyrants don’t like what we say. From this, RED VOICE MEDIA was born. We hope you will plug in and take the ride with us as we fight false narratives against conservatives and law enforcement.

This is the "About Us" for your "source. Ray & Zach have made their FB following and profits off of selling ads....very credible stuff[beam][beam][beam][beam][beam][beam][beam]


Why is it a constant that you never, EVER spend some energy arguing the content? After all, I'm fairly certain CNN made money off of Jussie.


Debate is not your strong suit. Stick with fence post as it suits you better.


Here's some more capitalism for you to whine about. If you dont click to watch this one, I'll be so disappointed. Truly outstanding journalistic integrity on exhibit:

Fight the Cabal

The pharmaceutical makers make billions in profits and have a vested interest in pushing their deadly vaccine. Yet you trust them?

E pluribus

Abe, the onus is really not on me to prove you wrong, since I’m not actually arguing with you.

I’m not even asking you to prove that you’re right. I’m only struggling to understand your world view.

The only way you make sense to me is if

1)- You don’t believe that 600,000+ Americans have already died of the Virus, and/or

2)- You don’t believe that the reported surge of deaths among the unvaccinated across the country is factual.

Can you please answer directly?

I’m not asking for websites or proof.

And I’ll not be pushing back at you. You seem literate and articulate, and I only want to understand your beliefs and the source of your strong commitment to your perspective.


Why should we believe that 600k died from covid when the test has now been confirmed errant? I'd accept approximately 1% of that number as accurate. I would also claim that the majority coulda/woulda/shoulda been saved with proven, safe, affordable meds, as is the case for Dr. Meyer and others. The annual flu ticker hardly saw any weekly reports in 2020. In fact, week 51, which usually pushes the needle pretty high, was something like 36 cases. That's 36 patients across the USA who have confirmed cases of our annual flu virus. It seems that covid conveniently replaced seasonal flu, motorcycle accidents, shark attack and the Tse Tse fly in 2020. We know that if a person died from an accident or illness unrelated to covid, but tested positive for the virus, the cause of death was indicated as covid. Given the inaccuracy of the PCR tests, how can we humble the numbers to make any sense now? So, no is my answer. I believe there are 600k bodies, yes. However, I do not believe you would be correct to claim that covid 19 was the true cause of death.

In the case of the variant, first off... are the same PCR testing methods being used? If so - and they aren't actually going away until 12/31/21 - then you have another case of errant diagnosis.


@ Abe........Then what killed these people Abe?????? Give us an answer or you don`t have any credibility. I personally know of five people who died from COVID. If this country had a legitimate president and not some dumbo, this crisis could have been averted. COVID has now killed over 4,000,000 people across the globe. Just the flu? A cold? You cannot give a believable, reasonable answer because there are none ! No, your world view does not come from the divine, it comes from ignorance. You admit that 6000,000 people died in the US alone but you can`t answer what killed them. Does it really matter if it was COVID or is it just another type of virus? It doesn`t matter but it is STILL a public health crisis . I don `t understand you people and your denial and defiance. It`s literally disgusting.


Caveat: if you want to know my world view, it is not formed by man-made bioweapons, deceitful politicians or complicit journalists. My world view grows from the Divine.

Mr. T

Abe and VoiceforAll are carrying the load for the Republican anti-vax perspective on these pages.

One might think from the array of posts pushing back against them that a sizable majority of South Dakota’s population supports vaccination.

But not so. Theirs are not voices crying out in the wilderness.

They represent the substantial number of people who will keep South Dakota from reaching herd immunity as our hospitals increasingly take in the unvaccinated victims of this deadly disease.

National polls show that somewhere between 33% and 40% of Republicans refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

With South Dakota’s population being overwhelmingly Republican, it’s clear that Abe and Voice represent a majority of those whose voices will be heard in our emergency rooms if not on these pages.



HAHAHAH your little front line doctors page:

AFLDS founder Simone Gold, MD, JD, FABEM,

She was arrested for joining in the Jan 6th insurrection.

Seriously CHECK YOUR SOURCES, this isn't even laughable anymore it's down right sad


Painfully obvious is your habit of ignoring the content of my posts. Had you watched the short video featuring Dr. Peter McCullough, you would not have replied with such careless words.

As with many of my critics here on the P&D Opinion page, Mr. T brings nothing to the discussion but ridicule and word salad. Still, my invitation to research and verify remains.

Jolly Roger

I rather doubt Abe is going to answer E pluribus.

Here’s a rumor that kind of makes sense.

Abe showed up just recently and now does more posts per minute than anyone else.

And instead of stating his opinion directly (as E pluribus has been requesting at least twice), he inundates us with websites and authorities to look up.

Could his self employment be creating web traffic? Even kids have made money at this.

He writes fairly well for a garden-variety conspiracy theorist, don’t you think?


Please, do go on! I'm so flattered by your hollow patronage.

While I've offered you some good info, I've come to realize that I'm wasting my time. You would choose to shoot the messenger (who reportedly dies from covid) instead of viewing the content. You claim that it's right wing conspiracy fodder, but you've not presented any argument or question about the content. Have you not heard that you cannot judge a book by its cover?


The Vax is Now Classified under the Nuremberg Classification for Genetic Trial's & Experimentations , This Is Genocide with Many Deaths and Injuries you have Rights and Can't be Forced !


Link to lawsuit filed to prove death count from vax:


Attorney Thomas Renz and his network of Medical Freedom Fighters are fighting hard everyday to protect your Constitutional rights. He has dedicated his entire practice to fight Big Pharma Poison, Big Tech Censorship, Big Media Lies, and Big Gov Vaccine / Covid Propaganda.

This takes money. If you feel called to give please click the button below. We are grateful for every donation.

You can't even access the site without "donating to the cause"


With all this imminent danger from the unvaccinated, it's probably a good idea we close the borders, huh?

Which one is it? "The unvaxxed will kill us" or "Welcome to USA, amigos"

Jolly Roger

I’m thinking about this over coffee this morning, and I think I’m finally getting it. Our resident “web traffic driver,” Abe, always has some more web clicks he wants us to make.

He insults our intelligence. He insults us. And we fall for it and run to his websites to prove him wrong. Which isn’t hard. And seems rewarding.

But we’ve just fallen for his scam.

He then “rinses and repeats” with another outrageous post, and we go for it again. On some level, you've got to appreciate this entrepreneurial brilliance.

Abe, I’d find this a lot more fun if you’d give me a cut.💵 💵 💵

My hat’s off to you. But I think I’m through playing this clever con you're running.


So far from the truth. Dont give yourself such measures of credit.

Jolly Roger

I wouldn’t imagine you would say anything else.

Goodbye, Abe.👋👋👋


Seriously? Your alligators tears are ridiculous. Without bringing anything substantive or constructive to the debate(s), each of you have mocked me, verbally attacked me and even wished my soon demise by covid. Dont bring your cry baby mess to the boxing ring, punks.

E pluribus

Abe, I don’t know if you’re running a scam, but why won’t you answer my two questions?

The only way you make sense to me is if

1)- You don’t believe that 600,000+ Americans have already died of the Virus, and/or

2)- You don’t believe that the reported surge of deaths among the unvaccinated across the country is factual.

Can you please answer directly?


I've given you exactly what you've asked of me.


Since my name was brought up in the comments of this article I thought I would give you my input. To help answer E pluribus's questions, 1) I myself do not believe that many have died from this virus, I personally and a others that I know have had close one's die within this "pandemic", they neither had Covid or any other virus but had Covid symptoms but we were told they died from Covid. Did you know hospitals get money from our great government for each Covid death? So in order to make more money, they just classify a death as Covid, easy peasy. So no, I don't believe it and never will. Yes many have died from it, but no, not 600,000. 2) Yes, unvaccinated people are dying, and so are vaccinated people, you have to dig deep to find the numbers, but they are there, and are they being reported correctly? My trust in the current government makes me say no.

How does anyone trust what our current government is telling us, they are censoring media outlets, changing their story every day, "if you are vaccinated you don't have to wear a mask," until today apparently, but go out and get vaccinated and wear a mask, and soon, stay home, don't talk to your neighbor, don't go to the stores, shut schools down, etc., we'll send help in the form of another check, don't worry, just do what we tell you and you will be ok, but stay tuned to us, listen to only us, don't listen to anyone else because they are full of misinformation and Facebook will kill you, at least that is what your great president said. Sorry, but I am done, I won't listen to these clowns, I won't do what they say, how does anyone trust them? I am U.S. citizen and I have rights and I will fight for those rights, you should too.

VOICE for VoiceforAll

You don’t really have to dig deeply to find the numbers of Coronavirus deaths. You just have to accept reality.

The earth isn't flat, and the Coronavirus isn’t like the common cold.


The greatest challenge you have before us is to prove the earth is a sphere. It cant be done, but the research and data you find will continue to emphasize the plausibility of a flat earth.

Fight the Cabal

Alot of truth in this post.

Friedrich Farmer

I’ve noticed before how often Abe posts - just on this thread, 14 out of 22, last time I checked.

I’m just wondering if it’s more likely he’s doing this at someone’s behest to pump up interest in the Press & Dakotan?

I know he’s accused the Press & Dakotan of some version of this himself, but what better way to throw us off the trail of what’s becoming obvious.

JollyR and I may not be right about Abe’s motivations, but in my opinion, there’s something strange going on here…


While I do think highly of Gary Wood, I'm operating completely independently.


Some will consider it a lost cause; pearls before swine, but I hope some find my information relevant and honest. We are all much more alike than we are different, and that is why I'm trying in earnest to open up your collective mind.


Obviously, the strangest thing going on here is your cognitive dissonance running headfirst into the fortified bulwarks of truth. It makes your soft, little head hurt, huh?

Mr. T

VoiceforAll and Abe have told us they don’t take the Coronavirus pandemic seriously. They don’t believe the numbers of dead and they don’t believe in vaccines.

That always seemed obvious to me. Or they couldn’t entertain all the misinformation they spread.

E pluribus seems to be expecting a yes or no answer from Abe, but I can't see any reason to wait for it. And really, I don’t see any reason to continue a dialogue with these two.

Just as I wouldn’t waste my time discussing the Copernican Revolution with someone who still believes the world is flat. Or Darwin’s Theory of Biological Evolution with someone who still believes the world is only 6,000 years old.

They may think they’ve “won the argument,” but the way I see it is that some endeavors are pointless and should be abandoned before too much energy is wasted. For nothing…

I, too, say goodbye to both these folks.




Me, too.

Adios back atcha, Abe.

Friedrich Farmer

Yeah, this makes all kinds of sense.

I’m outta here, too.


In America, money usually trumps common sense. So I think it’s time to expand the financial rewards program to encourage people to get vaccinated.

But the appeal has to be designed to appeal to the anti-science, conspiracy-minded folks who remain unvaccinated. We shouldn’t attempt to reach out to them with condescending, rational arguments.

Instead we need to reach out to them with a narrative they already believe. Maybe an ad something like this would work:

“Everyone knows vaccines make you magnetic. Your local public healthcare professionals at the following addresses [fill in the blank] are giving $1000.00 each week to the newly-vaccinated person who has the most tableware magnetically attached to their bodies. See this weeks winner at:

It’s worth a try‼️


It has been weeks now and still none of you have responded to my main points.

Why take an experimental injection when there's

1) a 99.9% survival rate

2) tried and true meds offer full recovery

These are such easy concepts, but all I get is your ignorant disdain for logic. It's as if you've all been programmed!

This is not about Trump or Biden, so dont bother posting more of that baloney. This is about people getting completely fooled by an agenda based in fear.

You are all suffering from severe mental illness or you are just plain stupid. Which is it?

Fight the Cabal

Abe is 100 % accurate with all of this statements. But I am going to take a different approach. I read through all the replies to Abe's comments and found most (not all) of them to be lacking one essential element. Critical thinking skills. I have learned to not bother engaging with these type of people on social media because it is a waste of my time (and theirs too quite frankly). It's throwing pearls before swine.

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