Maybe the Oklahoman’s editors were inspired by their new purpose statement, or perhaps some of their columnists have gotten a bit bored, but the new satirical editorials in the paper have been a surprising hit. The commentaries, which are written from the point of view of a logical, rational, semi-sane human being, provide well-rounded, not-to-be-taken-seriously criticisms of the wacko core of the state GOP. They offer a much-needed break from the drab, down-trodden opinions that are usually found in “The State’s More Trusted News.”
Things started last week with an article that “criticized” Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon. It’s pretty funny. Here’s a snippet:
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced recently that Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon will be featured at RNC events across the country. The honor was likely bestowed based on Shannon’s personal appeal and his potential — not on his actual record.
Shannon, R-Lawton, is clearly likable and charismatic. He’s a gifted public speaker. But his biggest appeal to national GOP leaders is undoubtedly his heritage. Shannon is a black Republican and a member of the Chickasaw Nation. That’s a rare combination.
Shannon’s record so far hasn’t drawn national attention. Under Shannon, the House has steadfastly opposed incurring more bonded indebtedness. The result is that major state repairs remain largely unaddressed. Lawmakers instead appropriated funds to fix the Oklahoma Capitol and designated $30 million for other buildings.
Rather than fully address the problem, lawmakers mostly kicked the can down the road. And they did so with a bill combining Capitol repair funds and a tax cut to induce legislative support. A legal challenge based on unconstitutional logrolling is now expected.
Shannon has championed welfare reform measures, including work requirements. That’s fine, but it seems a throwback to the cutting edge of political debate in the early 1990s or before, not 2013.
Under Shannon’s leadership, the House passed numerous bills catering to fringe elements by focusing on the United Nations’ Agenda 21, a hobgoblin of conspiracy theorists, and calling for state nullification of federal law. (Fortunately, Senate conservatives killed those bills.) David Barton, a respected conservative authority on historical and constitutional issues, has called nullification “a dangerous anarchic maldoctrine, cancerous and toxic to the health and vigor of a constitutional republic.” House members passed it anyway.
Those bills aren’t a sign of conservative leadership. Instead, they embody liberal parodies of conservatism. The House even advanced bills to water down prior Republican achievements, legislation that would have likely been championed under Democratic control.
Yeah, that was published in the Oklahoman. If you think that’s over the top and ridiculous, check out this op-ed written by someone pretending to be State Rep. Doug Cox (R). He’s a physician that defends birth control and abortion. It’s satire at it’s finest:
For several years now, the Oklahoman has used the semi-delusional, possibly tongue-in-cheek phrase “The State’s Most Trusted News” as their official slogan. Now it looks like they have a semi-delusional, possibly tongue-in-cheek “purpose statement” to go with it.
Yesterday, OPUBCO emailed employees a new cheesy corporate mission statement that the company has crafted. According to Ogle Moles who work at the paper, it will soon be printed each day in the Oklahoman to remind everyone from Beaver to Idabel and everywhere in between how truly awesome and important “the state’s most trusted news” is to our daily lives.
Not surprisingly, the purpose statement reads like something that was created during a breakout session from an OPUBCO executive ropes seminar. Check it out:
Earlier today, we published a report about Oklahoman reporter Zeke Campfield. He was arrested and accused of snapping upskirt photos at Sunday’s commencement ceremonies for Moore high school students. The victims ranged in age from 13 – 21. We contacted The Oklahoman about the charges and received the following statement:
We are aware of the arrest and have taken initial steps to understand and address the situation internally. Zeke Campfield has been a valuable, trusted member of our news staff for more than a year, so we are very surprised by the allegations in the police report. We will continue to monitor the situation, but will allow the authorities and the court system to do their job before finalizing our response.
Kelly Dyer Fry
Editor of The Oklahoman
Yeah, the people at the Oklahoman are “very surprised by the accusations.” That claim seems to contradict some things we’ve learned through the Ogle Mole Network.
According to sources, this isn’t the first time Campfield’s odd behavior has been brought to the attention of Oklahoman management. Sometime in 2012, the Oklahoman received a complaint regarding the way Campfield covered an event at the Oklahoma fairgrounds. Allegedly, he was behaving in the same manner as he did on Sunday; bumping into people, snapping pics, acting like Mr. Creepy, etc.
“It happened at the fairgrounds during some FFA event,” claims a Mole with knowledge about the incident. “At the time, we didn’t think he’d really do that. We were more appalled that the editors confronted him about it in the open newsroom at his desk, so everyone knew about it.”
Wait. Two Oklahoman editors spoke to Zeke about the incident in the open air of the newsroom?
“Yes, we all thought it was strange.”
I replied back to the Oklahoman to see if they had a response to these claims. Scott Briggs, Vice President of Administration, replied “As I stated before, you have our official statement, and we don’t have any additional comment to make at this point.”
Since that’s the stance they’re taking, I didn’t ask them about rumors that Zeke also sexually harassed a female Oklahoman interns. According to a Mole, the claims were serious enough that former Oklahoman editor Joe Hight allegedly had a discussion with Zeke regarding the allegations.
But remember, the folks at The Oklahoman were surprised by the reports.
Perhaps they wouldn’t have been if they would have dug a little deeper into Campfield’s past. If they did, I bet they would have taken claims about his behavior a little more serious.
In 2003, Campfield received a deferred sentence on felony burglary charges in Montana. According to this Chicken Fried News-style article in the Missoula Independent, he broke into a house and stole a pair of panties.
We have a lot of fun now and again with our local meteorologists, because the weather in Oklahoma is such a big deal and we’re all aware of them from the time we’re little kids, and yes, sometimes their coverage can be a little over-the-top. But when the chips are down and there is a truly devastating event taking place, like last week’s tornado, they really do play an incredibly important role in saving people’s lives.
One of my lasting memories of May 20th is Damon Lane realizing and acknowledging on-air that his house was likely gone, and then with an insane amount of poise and professionalism, continuing to advise, caution, and instruct his viewers about what was happening. It was genuinely nothing less than heroic work. Whatever doubts about him any of us had after Rick Mitchell left are gone now for good.
As part of their ongoing coverage of the tornado, The Oklahoman interviewed the three lead meteorologists about their approach to tornado coverage in general and last Monday specifically.
The LA Times features a lengthy profile on Gary England today. The article was written by Oklahoma-native Hailey Branson-Potts. It chronicles Gary’s rise from a young rascal in Seiling to the life-saving severe weather deity he is today.
From the LA Times:
At 73, [Gary England] has chronicled some of Oklahoma’s most devastating storms in this part of the nation, known as Tornado Alley.
England got started in 1972, when he stood in front of cameras with chalkboards, not computer graphics, providing the visuals. He is credited with developing faster and more accurate methods of predicting tornadoes and often issues warnings before the National Weather Service.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘Gary England saved my life,’ ” said Keli Pirtle, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Wait for it…Wait for it…
A popular Oklahoma City blog recently voted England the most influential person in the state; Jesus came in second.
Yep, I guess we’re that popular Oklahoma City blog. Cool, huh? In 2009 we did rank the 50 most powerful Oklahomans and Gary England did come in at number one. He ranked ahead of super humans such as Chuck Norris, Jesus Christ and Barry Switzer. Normally, we get all feisty and come after the local media when they refuse to mention us by name, but we’ll let the LA Times exclusion slide. This is because a) it’s the LA Fucking Times and b) we are not worthy enough to be mentioned in his presence.
In case you didn’t know, we’ve worshipped and idolized Gary England since this site began in 2007, so I thought it would be fun to look back at some of his greater moments. This list excludes, of course, the time we sacrificed that lamb next to Channel 9′s doppler radar. Apparently that’s frowned upon by the OKCPD.
1. Gary England Making the Daily Show
Back in 2007, News 9 produced a super scary and now kind of chilling commercial about tornadoes. Around the same time, Jim Inhofe made comments that the Weather Channel was trying to scare people into believing some crazy conspiracy by scientists know as “Global Warming.” Somehow, the Daily Show found out about the two and tied them together. If you’re looking for a bit of levity, watch it. It’s kind of hysterical:
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