Skip to comments.The Worst Newspaper in America
Posted on 04/28/2003 11:36:10 AM PDT by cashion
part 1 of 5
Selcraig is a former U.S. Senate investigator and staff writer for Sports Illustrated who lives in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
One Sunday morning many months ago the Rev. Robin Meyers stood before some five-hundred members of his eclectic flock at Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City and ruminated about what he might do if he ever won a lottery jackpot. "I said I would give a lot of money to education, children, the homeless, that sort of thing," he recalls. "Then I mentioned that if there were any money left over I would start what this city really needs -- a competing daily newspaper to The Daily Oklahoman . . . Well, everyone just started applauding. The place went wild. And this is not a wild church. Even the Republicans were clapping."
That same Sunday, like every day in Oklahoma City, a group of news-starved citizens ranging between five thousand and ten thousand, depending upon the quality of the football season, bought what many here call the most respected daily newspaper in town -- a paper produced two-hundred miles away, The Dallas Morning News.
"I simply won't subscribe to The Daily Oklahoman. They skew the news," says one of the local defectors, junior college professor Frank Silovsky.
"I'm always encouraging my students to read newspapers," says former Oklahoman city editor Randy Splaingard, a journalism professor at Oklahoma City University, "but I never require that they read the Oklahoman. The Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment."
"I have to read it," says Oklahoma Democratic political consultant and former Oklahoma City reporter Mike Carrier, "but it is without question the worst metropolitan newspaper in America."
Maybe you could find critics like these in any American city where an influential newspaper and billionaire publisher reign, but it's doubtful they could match the fervor of these aggrieved Oklahomans, these Democrats and Republicans of all colors and classes, ranchers, teachers, oil executives. They live with a civic wound that's been festering for twenty-five years, a newspaper whose unflattering nickname has become so ingrained in the state lexicon that from Muskogee to Guymon hardly a literate soul doesn't know of "The Daily Disappointment."
What other major newspaper in a metro area of one million people, and with a newsroom of 145 full-time reporters and editors, has only three African-Americans on its news staff?
Where else can you find a big-city editorial page -- run by a Christian Coalition devotee plucked from Washington D.C.'s right-wing Free Congress Foundation -- that not only demonizes unions, environmentalists, feminists, Planned Parenthood, and public education, but also seems obsessed with lecturing gays? From an Oklahoman editorial titled, sin no more?: "There's no solid proof that anyone is born a homosexual . . . . Homosexuality is a sin . . . . But to deny that a sin is a sin and wallow in it is the first step toward damnation. To recognize bad behavior as a sin, repent of it and go and sin no more' is the first step toward salvation."
Want lots of enterprising, in-depth stories with plenty of world and national news in your newspaper's front section? How about praline recipes instead?
At the Oklahoman, which runs a front-page prayer every day, the news-lite front section is larded with cooking contests, horoscopes, Dear Abby, Billy Graham, Zig Ziglar, and women's fashion tips. Need a good chuckle? Try the six-day-a-week column on page two by "clean, keen, and topical" stand-up comedian Argus Hamilton, the son of an Oklahoma City Methodist minister. Hold on to your funny bone:
A whale is dead after a whale-watching boat hit it Monday off Boston Harbor . . . no wonder Monica Lewinsky won't come out of her apartment . . . .
(Excerpt) Read more at cjr.org ...
If this is what is accepted as journalism at Oklahoma State University, I'd hate to think what is going on across the country.
To get things started, I'd like to point out that any article starting with Dr. Robin Meyers as some sort of "voice of reason" is headed in the wrong direction. Dr. Meyers is well-known for his hatred of the Daily Oklahoman, not to mention his status as an ultra-bleeding-heart liberal.
I'll add in more points as time permits.
Oklahoma is a conservative majority state. We voted for Bush in 2000 and we voted for Right to Work in 2002. Our values are conservative. Anyone who says otherwise is a bald faced pathological liar and there are some BFPL's amongest us.
The values that Edward Gaylord held are the values that are shared by the vast majority of Oklahomans. I know this for a fact because I'm a lifelong resident of this state. I know the people here a whole more that these A**holes at Columbia.
It's quite obvious these people have not done their homework. To expect us to believe that the values of this great state are the same as the values of Hollywood and the progressive movement is stupid, idiotic and foolish.
I had no idea until reading that article how stupid the CJR is but they are sure stupid as stupid is.
The Editor covered in the article, Patrick McGuigan, is no longer with the paper. He raised a little too much rukus with state legislators before the last statewide election and was asked by Gaylord to step down.
Reading the title, I thought this article was referring to the New York Times.
I didn't forget, I just have a personal view that adding "barf alert" to a headline is outside my realm of neatness. I think most folks here are smart enough to realize when an author is trying to feed them garbage and are able to respond accordingly. 8)
Meyers is a regular contributor from the extreme fringe left, to the local alternate newspaper, The Gazette, which proudly runs advertisements from local massage parlors, nudie bars, and places to go if you need "clean" urine for a drug test.
Then this article mentions that the Dialy Oklahoman doesn't ("snicker") even have a full time enviornmental issues reporter! Oh- the the horror. A pet cause of liberals and the left doesn't have a full time reporter devoted to propagating it's laughable and false stats and "Studies" as the unvarnished truth? Oh- how "biased!"
The rest of the article merely seems aimed at liberal and "progressive" elitist types who recoil at the mentioning of Jesus at even so much as a funeral and is laced with class and regional prejudices.
The paper obviously has a conservative and Republican bias. IS that the beef? Any paper worth it's salt should have a recognizable bias.
CJR could find far more people in Boston who have the exact same gripes and complaints about the Boston Globe and write almost the same article. The only difference would be that at the Boston Globe their "minority recruitment" efforts amount to a chill and self censorship on matters of race (or gender- or homosexuals).
The Boston Globe- has it's flaws- it's biases- it's prejudices- and it's petty ideologies. It has it's sacred cows that it simply will never say a bad word about. But it still is capable of some truly great reporting (the Bulger- FBI scandal and the Church Pedophile stories being recent ones.)
I know as a reader what the Boston Globe is all about when reading it. I suspect so do most Daily Oklahoman readers know as well where that paper is coming from.
IF the market was there for a competing paper one would exist.
The jist of this article isn't that the DO is a bad paper- but that it is a conservative one. And that, CJR doesn't like.
Yeah, better add them since Black-on-White racial hate-crimes are on the rise in OK. What a despicable "critique" this is.
If diversity and its attendant issues are what the author craves he should subscribe to the SJ Mercury. Its about the only topic thats worthy of the Merc's pages.
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