On Friday morning, we received a somewhat cryptic, anonymous email from the Ogle Mole Network claiming they had audio of Mary Failin’ T-shirt wearer and Oklahoma Internet star Rico Smith “threatening to sue Connie Johnson.” The email, which appeared to come from the Johnson camp, also included a few accusations that I don’t feel comfortable publicizing on here.
After a brief email exchange, the Mole sent me the audio and sure enough, there was some dude rambling on about he was going to go sue Connie Johnson and go to the media to expose some of her wrongdoings. I had no clue if it was Rico or not, but the voice seemed to match his photo. Since I was getting all this on Friday and really like to get drunk on the weekends, I figured I’d look into everything on Monday, or better yet, wait until the legitimate media reported it.
Well, my laziness and alcoholism paid off. Word of Rico’s lawsuit apparently trickled up to The Oklahoman, and on Sunday, one of their most loyal hatchet men, Rick Green, jumped at the chance to write a critical article about an Oklahoma Democrat running for office.
U.S. Senate candidate Connie Johnson has paid her daughter nearly $7,000 from campaign funds while allegedly stiffing a University of Oklahoma student who claims he is owed more than $1,319 for work on her campaign.
Rico Smith, 22, of Moore, alleges in his complaint filed Sept. 25 in Oklahoma County District Court that she failed to pay him $1,319 for work he did with her campaign over the summer.
He describes the debt on his small claims action as “breach of contract/failure to pay.” Smith declined comment on the pending litigation.
Johnson, a Democratic state senator from Oklahoma City, said there have been many changes on her campaign staff.
“We changed staff a couple of times,” she said. “They are young and highly mobile. Many of them have gone on to better jobs.”
In terms of pay disagreements, Johnson said this may have arisen with people who were in voluntary roles. She declined to return multiple calls for further comment.
Her latest campaign spending reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show $74,300 in contributions and $66,838 in expenditures. She is a decided underdog in the campaign to fill the U.S. Senate seat of Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, who is stepping down two years early because of health concerns. She is facing Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, who has raised and spent more than $2 million.
Johnson’s reports show a $250 expenditure to Smith on July 10 for “contract labor.”
Johnson’s reports also show $6,784 in expenditures to her daughter, Annasthaeyzsia Adrienne Samuel, 26, of Oklahoma City. No other staff member is paid nearly as much. The payments are generally described as “payroll expense” and “consulting services.”
Johnson said her daughter is a graphic design graduate of Oklahoma State University. She said her daughter performed graphic design and consulting, saying she had produced a “good-looking logo.” Samuel did not return telephone calls for comment.
Johnson, who has been in office nine years, is considered one of the most liberal Democrats in the state Legislature. She is backing a recreational marijuana initiative, for which signatures are being gathered. The initiative campaign got off to a slow start after the Oklahoma attorney general’s office found the ballot title insufficient and had to rewrite it.
I don’t really fault The Oklahoman for this hit piece. I guess we should know when a former staffer / volunteer sues a US Senate candidate for back pay, especially when the candidate pays her daughter $6,500 to design a logo. But if you’re looking to show someone how The Oklahoman’s political bias impacts and directs their reporting, this article is the perfect example.
For one, it would never had been published if a staffer had sued James Lankford or Jim Inhofe or anyone else The Oklahoman supports. Ask Ed Shadid, they are always out to protect their political allies and go after their perceived enemies.
And two, they totally ignored the 6′ 4″ elephant in the room. The didn’t mention anywhere that Rico Smith, the guy at the center of the lawsuit, is a local Internet celebrity basking in 15 minutes of fame after taking one super funny picture with Mary Fallin. So far, Rico’s pic has been the signature moment of the 2014 Oklahoma Gubernatorial campaign. It went viral on Facebook – our write-up alone reached 70,000 people – and even got the mainstream treatment by KOCO Channel 5 and the Tulsa World.
But The Oklahoman, a.k.a. “The State’s Most Trusted News,” is living in a lala land where the photo doesn’t exist. They haven’t mentioned it at all. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – I think we all kind of wish the local news would stick with covering real news – but it totally contradicts the paper’s new media, Buzfeedification mission statement that gets off on plastering all sorts of pointless crap and clickbait on its website each day.
Stuff like this…
“The State’s Most Trusted News” is doing a good job at maintaining its sterling reputation of incompetence. Yesterday afternoon, NewsOK.com issued the following faux-apology tweet about some clickbait they posted on the website:
Yes, a website with so many trolls that it makes the YouTube comment section look like a civilized utopia had to remove a poll about a football game because it dealt with a sensitive subject. Uhm, how’s that even possible? Did they ask if OU fans have recovered from last year’s abortion of a Red River Rivalry? That would piss some people off. Did they ask OU fans to choose if they would let their kids be disciplined by Adrian Peterson if it guaranteed an OU blowout victory over Texas? That would be insensitive. It would also be interesting. I bet a majority would choose a “whoopin.” Wounds heal with time. OU – Texas scores do not.
Anyway, let’s take a look at the insensitive poll. Although NewsOK has removed it and the accompanying “Digital Desk” article from their site, we have acquired some screenshots va the Ogle Mole Network:
The guy pictured above is Chris Landsberger. When he’s not preparing for a Star Trek convention like in the pic above, he’s actually a photographer for The Oklahoman.
Chris specializes in taking photos of bikini models, girls in lingerie and sports. He also likes to photograph soul food.
I made a couple of tiny digs at Chris in Tuesday’s write-up about the Oklahoman’s Baby Boomer sex issue. The jokes were about as harmless as a fly on a table in the Braum’s dining room:
The entire sex issue wasn’t all that bad. The one saving grace is The Oklahoman sent pervert photographer Chris Landsberger to photograph a model who is young enough to be a Baby Boomer’s granddaughter in some lingerie. It accompanied a quiz to determine, no lie, “What’s your lingerie personality?”…
<Pictures of cute but bored lingerie model>
Can’t this paper do anything fun and interesting? I hope one of the options for the quiz was sad and boring, because that’s may be the most depressing lingerie pictorial I’ve ever seen. Could the model be any more bored? Did Chris Landsberger play Coldplay’s Greatest Hits on the set, or did he force her to listen to six baby boomers discuss sex while drinking beer from a boot. It has to be one of the two.
Tame, huh? Just ask Hipster Boo Boo, Wayne Coyne or Dave Morris’ hot ex-wife, it could have been a lot worse.
Well, not according to Chris’ helicopter wife Nikki Landsberger. She posted our link to her public Facebook wall and began a fun game of “Watch These People Totally Overreact To Something Ridiculous On Facebook.”
Check it out:
Earlier this week, the Buzzfeedification of The Oklahoman continued when they launched their first annoying online personality quiz call “Which Oklahoma Actor Would Play You in a Movie.”
It’s pretty standard and a lot like those other annoying social quizzes that clog up your Facebook timeline. You answer a series of questions about yourself and suddenly learn that James Garner would play you in a movie. You share the result on Facebook, which leads to other people taking the quiz and sharing the result on Facebook, and then bam, the whole world is annoyed and the website that brought you the quiz gets some all valuable pageviews.
Since we enjoy annoying people and getting web traffic, I thought it was time we got in the quiz game. Our first TLO Super Quiz is “Which Oklahoman Writer Are You?” Take it after the jump!
In Sunday’s Oklahoman, the state’s most trusted newspaper published a sloppy and misinformed expose about how much time state employees spend surfing the internet while at work. The semi-promotional article seemed more like an advertorial paid for by a small government conservative group than an objective and informed news piece written by a respected news organization. Basically, it was typical Oklahoman filler.
State employees really, really like Facebook.
They like Twitter and YouTube, too.
We know because little brother is watching.
Oklahoma’s Cyber Command Security Operations Center’s main job is to protect the state’s computer system from cyber attacks, but security personnel track website visits by employees on the state computer network, as well.
Real quick, can someone inform The Oklahoman that almost every large employer tracks employee web traffic? It’s not a new technology or anything.
Anyway, I already get where this is going. State employees spend too much time on the internet, are generally lazy, waste taxpayers dollars, blah blah blah. That would be news if was just limited to state workers. At last check, employees at every company spend too many unproductive hours on the internet. Hell, you’re probably reading this at work right now instead of answering emails or updating spreadsheets. I guess that’s okay if you work in the private sector.
So, which websites are these lazy state employees visiting? I’m sure it mirrors the Alexa top 10. Google, YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc:
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