By David Arnett, Publisher
Monday, 23 July 2007
Publisher David ArnettMedia Analysis:
During a recent episode on his Fox News program, Bill O’Reilly was factually in error – and Tulsa Today is accepting his challenge.
O’Reilly said, “We would take criticism from a conservative media critic, but there aren’t any.” Oh, yes, there are – and they have plenty to say to the pontificating pundits of the right and left in both agreement and dispute. O’Reilly can be forgiven for not noticing those in “Fly-over County,” here in the heart of America. However, as “Tip” O’Neill said, “All politics is local” – thus, how much more so is all media local? Answer: a great deal which is more important to more people than hot air from the left- or right-wing coasts.
Tulsa is the finest city of its size in the world, but the economics of journalism has reduced the quality of local published news tremendously, with the loss in 1992 of our afternoon daily paper. The surviving morning daily, The Tulsa World, desperate to convincingly sell credibility, has self-published a new book by one of its more shallow socialist writers on the founding family’s self-perceptions of control in Tulsa’s public debates. The title, “THE TULSA DAILY WORLD: THE STORY OF A NEWSPAPER AND ITS TOWN.” Aren’t they proud of themselves as they claim the City of Tulsa “ITS TOWN?” Now when did they last earn a Pulitzer?
Yes, the paper has accomplished good, but has more recently fallen to disrepute over financial, political, and propaganda involvement in what many name the "Great Plains Airline Fraud.”
I am one of a handful of people blackballed by that so-called newspaper because I dared to criticize their editorial position on an effort to six-lane Riverside Drive over a decade ago. Executive Editor Joe Worley told me to my face, “You will never work in this town again.” However, I am a native Tulsan and I have proven his failure to win that economic war upon myself and my family. I thrive here, but it takes more than one job.
For the last few years, the day job is as public information manager for the Program Management Group, LLC, the private firm hired by Tulsa County to implement the Vision 2025 and 4-to-Fix infrastructure development programs. Those programs are supported by the daily paper, but even if I provide strong quotes on important issues within the program and a reporter includes those quotes in a news story, my name and quote(s) will be removed prior to publication. This I can prove, and in this they prove their economic war of aggression is still in play – but who cares? I place stories on their mostly liberal pages at will – through different third parties.
On the other side, Tulsa’s right-wing flakes of pontificating punditry cannot forgive me for supporting the Vision 2025 program which was approved by voters September 9, 2003 – prior to my employment with PMg. I had previously led opposition to two different city infrastructure efforts, and I am the only person to beat former-Mayor Susan Savage in broadcast debate and twice at the ballot box. In large measure, the success of the opposition was advanced by Tulsa Today and we remain the oldest journalism-based local news service independent of traditional media published on the worldwide Web. Established in 1996, Tulsa Today hosted 172,000 page views in June 2007 – and we are not a blog, as we publish original news and opinion from diverse sources.
Local right-wing nuts gathered first to a local shock jock and more recently to Urban Tulsa Weekly, a truly weak rag. One of those pundits has publicly called me “the scum of the earth.” I am, in fact, a Constitutional Republican, committed to diversity of opinion in public media. I support well-developed infrastructure packages that provide opportunity for private individuals to advance the community. I would oppose, for example, any public funds to build a hotel in downtown Tulsa, but support Arkansas River development as an infrastructure need greater than any individual could accomplish. Yes, I believe taxes are too high, but there is a difference between operating budgets and capital improvement budgets – a line often blurred by the hell-no-tax-ever crowd.
For many years, Urban Tulsa Weekly has filled its small number of content pages with “angst of youth” stories on how Tulsa must not be cool, because cool is always greater somewhere else. While that content is somewhat better than the come-hither escort and dating advertisements and go-yonder entertainment listings, apparently quality content is not something publisher Keith Skrzypczak (pronounced “Script Shit” by critics) knows well. As the former executive editor of The Tulsa Tribune said about the man he once hired, “The worst thing that ever happened to Keith is that he got his own paper. He never could edit himself – or anyone else, for that matter.”
Former employees of Urban Tulsa Weekly say that Skrzypczak has submitted their original graphics without proper credit for various awards and, most damning, that he doesn’t even read his pundits prior to publication. From years of observation, it is my testimony that Skrzypczak’s addiction to almost-free content has melded with the most pathetic public voices addicted to their own political ambitions. To his credit, Skrzypczak does appear to make money.
In one of the most disgusting examples of non-journalism, Skrzypczak directed a reporter to do a story presented as news when demanded of him by a known scum-bucket if not criminal in the night club business (read advertiser). I was quoted in the piece – and what was omitted from the story is more compelling than what was printed. Details on that story are gathered for submission to the Alternative Weekly Network in protest of Urban Tulsa’s membership as the organization requires real reporting. Thank God someone does.
Now, back to Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and the other conservative “media leaders” in America – let’s ask them to accept this challenge to move beyond their own wealth and fame to do something at the local level across this nation at America’s greatest time of need. If you agree, ask them to read this analysis and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our democracy is engaged in a worldwide war with people who seek to destroy civilization, and those evil people are helped by dim-witted socialists employed in many local newspapers. So, media leaders, please lead us in the formation of an association (non-profit or not) that will recognize and strengthen local conservative voices – the ones with more than one functioning brain cell. Please focus this effort on real reporters and writers and thinkers and not just personalities – try fishing a little deeper in the gene pool.
I ask this, not for myself, as Tulsa Today is profitable and growing. I have been and probably will be interviewed again for radio and television worldwide – most recently by the BBC during Tulsa’s buried Belvedere adventure. I have won two national awards as a publisher and First Amendment Advocate. While more money is always good, I am not addicted to it or to fame – it interferes with my music-making and beer-brewing time.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 July 2007 )