Former Oklahoman Editorial Writer Rues Demise of Racist Newspaper

With The Oklahoman still fading into irrelevance, the paper's newish out-of-state owners, Gannet, recently brought in Ray Rivera – a dreamy, ambitious and just-naive-enough-for-the-job newsman from Seattle – to try to turn things around, and transform the paper from a right-wing propaganda pamphlet for the state's ruling elite into a community-backed source of allegedly objective local news and journalism.

This new direction, which I assume will keep the paper afloat just long enough to be bought back by the Gaylord family and turned into a non-profit so they can maintain their influence in this town, has ruffled the feathers of the paper's old guard who long for the days when The Oklahoman was still an influential, albeit draconian, publication that targeted conservative Oklahoma readers who enjoyed a right-wing, racist spin on local news and information.

One of those people in the old guard is J.E. McReynolds. He worked for the paper for nearly 30 years, with the last five spent overseeing the production of some of the hottest, most-out-of-touch conservative views on the paper's editorial page.

Last week, J.E. wrote an editorial for The OCPA – The Oklahoma Coalition for Prehistoric Assholes – lamenting the paper's new direction, and how it's abandoning its core conservative base by focusing on journalism and reporting that apparently doesn't have a racist, right-wing agenda.

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Come and Get It: The Chuck Wagon Festival at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

I have a slight confession to make: in my many years of living and dying in Oklahoma City, I have never been to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, not even once. While I have always wanted to attend the vaunted Chuck Wagon Festival, I never made it out for various reasons, ranging from the outright lazy to the downright political.

But, in this slight return to form after the disastrous Covid, as the museum seems to continually attempt to add more Indigenous history to their Western bravura, I felt that, especially with the line-up of Native eats that were apparently available, this was the year to not only finally attend the food-based west-fest, but to actually feel the historical change to a time thankfully long passed.

We had to park a ways away, as by Saturday afternoon, the place was absolutely teeming with sweaty visitors; after a short walk to the museum—and a brief moment checking in, the medium-priced ticket charges waived—we walked around the main area, with its John Wayne and Ronald Reagan statues lining the various walls, standing tall, appearing stern, and holding firm to the establishment’s dusty ethos…

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