Sunday, December 05, 2004

Finally and Typically

The Tulsa World finally and typically addressed the very important stance by the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa (LWVMT) calling for an end the destructive recall process being waged against Councilor Jim Mautino and me. (click on the story title above to view the World story in PDF format)

"Finally," because the World had over two weeks to address the issue and chose to print the story only after the City Clerk certified the recall petitions as valid. "Typically," because the World stuck to their usual tactic used against those they hope to smear, which is, "publish all allegations on the front page of the Sunday edition (with twice the normal readership) and bury anything that effectively challenges those allegations deep into the Saturday edition (the lowest readership).

In this case, they chose to inter the story on the inside backpage, with no mention or photograph of either Councilor Mautino or me. Even the smirkish photo they've been running of me of late might have stopped interested readers who have been following the story of late.

The headline sounds more fitting for the sports page than it does for the news section. The World editors even went to the special care of using a lower-case "L" so that even League members might not notice the story.

I have been told by a LWVMT member that some of the delay in the World's coverage of this story was due to their suspicion that the press release was a forgery. Aside from the obvious cynicism that this belief belies, anybody with the same eighth-grade education level that the World's style sheets call for, could figure out that a single phone call to a LWVMT officer could verify the authenticity of the document.

I will say that the content of the story itself is adequate in its balance. Some fairly strong statements by LWVMT president Mary Jo Neal are quoted. However, none of the very strong language of the press release itself is directly quoted.

Also, you have to go as far as the eigth paragraph of the story (should you have seen it in the first place) to get to the most powerful statement in the story, which was:

"Neal said a recall provision is an effective tool to remove elected officials, but it should require specific reasons for recall that are consistent with state law.

'This (recall effort) appears to be because a group of people don't like the way the councilors are voting,' she said. "

That statement goes right to the heart of the issue. Remember that the two gentlemen who offered up their names and reputations to front the Coalition for Responsible Government 2004 live in neither Councilor Mautino's, nor my council districts. We also know that many of the people behind the effort either live, or have substantial business interests, outside the city limits of Tulsa.

So on one hand we have the esteemed but anonymous members of CRG 2004 acting in a manner that, according to one of the most highly respected, non-partisan democratic institutions in the nation, is "inconsistent with the representative form of government." On the other hand, we have the Coalition for Responsible Government acting incredibly irresponsibly by trying to remove the duly elected representatives of a government of which they aren't even a constituent.

If these concerned and anonymous coalition members want to do Tulsa a service, they need to take a cue from the League and use their influence to help clean up Tulsa's "defective" charter. But unfortunately, their actions have been selfishly motivated from the start. If they were as interested in the betterment of our city as they seem to be in their own influence and financial gain, then the LWVMT wouldn't have had to take the historical action of taking a"stance on a political issue for the first time in decades. "

Thank you League of Women Voters.


Anonymous said...

I believe the lowercase "L" in the headline is for style purposes. It's no grand conspiracy. Most copy editors and headline writers at newspapers are too busy trying to make deadline to waste time thinking: "How can we downplay this story?"

Anonymous said...

Way to go, League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa!! You have the respect and support of thousands of citizens, in your stance regarding this recall!!
There are too many of us to name, so, we call ourselves "anonymous" too, but, in no way connected with the anonymous # 1, who posted previously.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Medlock has the Lorton's World pegged EXACTLY on this one.

Yes, they do accentuate their self-created news on Page 1 of the Sunday World, usually accompanied by an Editorial Page editorial synchonized with their slanted Page 1 news story.

And, yes, they do bury in Saturday's Least-Read version of the Lorton's Daily Disappointment newspaper those stories that they want to bury. Waiting two weeks to publicize the League of Women Voters STRONG dissent against the Medlock/Mautino Recall is a violation of any serious news organization's canon of ethics. However, Ethics and the Lorton's World aren't typically used in the same breath. Thinking Great Plains Airlines?

And, yes, the Lorton's World only portray GlamourShots of those they approve of, and they always show prison-style goofy mugshots of those local personalities that they disapprove of. Mayor Savage used to get such PRETTY poses in the paper. And, they buried her two-paragraph divorce notice so deep in the paper you needed a sewage pump to get to it.

Again, it's called BIAS. It's what happens when you have a local monopoly newspaper with NO checks-and-balances. We sure miss the old Tulsa Tribune. It at least kept the Tulsa World a bit more honest. Since the Tribune folded in '92, the World has gotten progressively more slanted.

Anonymous said...

Here's a Curious Fact:

Regarding the 200-word limit on the Recall Petition, and the identical 200-word limit on the Response to the Recall Petition. isn't it curious that the Lorton's World "Letters to the Editor" section also has an IDENTICAL 200-word limit requirement??

Did the Lorton's World write the City Charter?

Anonymous said...

This a.m. on KFAQ-AM, Dan Hicks - a local GOP Activist, called in with some rip-roaring comments speaking AGAINST the Recall Petition concerning his fellow GOP City Councilors Medlock and Mautino.

Dan is usually even-tempered, moderate and measured in his comments. This morning, he called those behind the Recall petition "evil". Evil: Strong word.

He also criticized the Recall group as hiding from the public, with only their two front-men of Davidson and Haschke visible at this point in time.

Strong words.