Friday, December 17, 2004

Man Bites Dog

My first major in college was Radio, Television and Film. Before Oklahoma State would let you take the fun courses (the one's dealing with radios, televisions and film), you had to take a newswriting course.

It had to be one of the first class sessions that the professor drug out the old chestnut, "Dog bites man...that's not news. Man bites dog! Now that's news."

Yesterday, rover was yelping as his owner chomped down hard and there was nary a word about it in the Tulsa World.

Whenever a press conference is held in which three groups as diverse as the Tulsa County Republican Party, the League of Women Voters and the local chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. hold a joint press conference in support of the same ideal, you would think our paper of record would want to be there to cover such an historic confluence of organizations. But at 2PM yesterday, in the City Hall cafeteria, those three groups spoke to and answered questions from, all four local TV stations, KRMG, KFAQ and the Tulsa Beacon. Noticeably absent? The Tulsa World.

The subject of the press conference? Each groups different reasons for opposing the recall of Jim Mautino and myself.

Bias is often thought to be how you slant a story, but in this case, it was in deciding not to cover the story at all.

Why wasn't the World there? Each of us could come up with a slew of reasons, given a little prodding. However, the one that I think most likely lies at the heart of the fact that the Tulsa World is Tulsa's "newspaper of record."

It should be dawning on a lot of recall election supporters (which includes Mr. Lorton and his editorial scribes) that this ill conceived recall scheme is going to eventually fail. The best the Coalition for Responsible Government can hope for is a graceful way to fire their consultant, Jim Burdge, look for a graceful excuse to withdraw from the process (We still think these council maniacs are dangerous, but for the good of Tulsa and democracy....") and redistribute their donations before their contributors have to be outed publicly.

So, if recall is to eventually fail, it seems logical that the World is beginning to look not at what the current voters will be told, but what future voters will be told. There is an old adage in PR that if it didn't happen on TV, it didn't happen. When it comes to history, or at the very least, journalistic background during some future election, the newspaper is the first place one looks to find out what happened with regard to a particular issue.

By not covering the very respectable alliance in opposition to a "manufactured crisis" the World has been complicit in contriving, they leave little lasting evidence of the folly of this recall process.

Just one more reason to join me and mine by dropping your subscription.

"The Tulsa World...all the news that fits our agenda."

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