Why Tulsa Today went dark

Thursday, 27 November 2008
Monday morning Tulsa Today posted an analysis by veteran New York journalist and the recipient of seven Long Island Press Awards, Joan Swirsky, titled, “The Great Birth Certificate Scandal/Cover-Up of ‘08” questioning the missing Barack Obama birth certificate and his eligibility to serve as President of the United States.  ImageTwo hours and 10,000 page views later, our local Internet Service Provider and domain hosting service, Tulsa Connect locked us off the Internet.

This action was taken without warning or formal notice, but after several telephone conversations the picture became clear.  Our agreement with Tulsa Connect was for “shared hosting” service.  In that type of service, they load many domains on the same computer server.  We were told that of the 300 to 600 client domains on that one piece of equipment, Tulsa Today always experienced the highest levels of traffic, but the overwhelming interest in the Obama birth certificate story slowed service to the other clients and rather than consider that reader traffic a peak that would soon recede, Tulsa Connect discontinued Tulsa Today’s public access.  They contend that there was no way their equipment could handle such a high volume of traffic.

By telephone we pleaded for an option.  As Tulsa’s original (est. 1996) local live Internet news service, “off-line” is never acceptable.  There was no immediate solution or “work-around” offered by Tulsa Connect.  The only option they suggested was to move our site to a separate server for a cost increase of about 600 percent.  There was no guarantee from Tulsa Connect of when they would be able to return functionality to Tulsa Today.

Fortunately, Tulsa Today found another service and within 8 hours, the site was moved and is available for readers worldwide.  Evolution Studios now provides hosting for Tulsa Today at a lower cost than shared service from Tulsa Connect and with no limitation on reader traffic.  They are customer service orientated, responsive and pulled Herculean duty to accomplish this task as fast as computers could load our admittedly huge site.  Evolution Studios provides 24-hour technical support and they used some of those after-hours to get this transfer done.  As a web developer, I have worked with them on other projects in the past and their consistent focus on clear communication with and quality service for their clients has been a blessing in a niche field oddly populated by pinhead techno-bully-nerds with limited interpersonal skills.

There is no indication that Tulsa Connect limited options or blocked public access to Tulsa Today because of the political content of the story.  Any conspiracy theory suggested by anyone at this time is without credible justification.  Tulsa is the heartland; we believe in the Constitution of the United States of America and the free speech promised to both the press and to the people.  Tulsans of all races, creeds, and both genders have and will fight to defend it.

However, we are rethinking our “buy local” business procedure.  Evolution Studios is not based in Tulsa.  Come to think about it, we might help them open an office here.  They are a national provider of Internet based services apparently and significantly more attentive to client need than many other providers.

Tulsa Connect was provided advance notice of this story and invited to make a statement explaining their actions.  None was forthcoming as of this writing.  We understand their equipment dilemma, but it was not our responsibility to monitor their server traffic or anticipate and provision for their company’s growth.  Apparently they prefer clients with small web sites few visit.  There is some personal sadness in this change as I began Tulsa Today with the Tulsa Connect folks in 1996 when they were called WebZone.

“The Great Birth Certificate Scandal/Cover-Up of ‘08” continues to see huge readership as it has been linked to major national and international web sites including: World Net Daily (which features an entire page of Obama birth certificate stories), Right Side News, Lucianne and others.  One reader wrote most concisely, “Obama has spent over $800,000 and several months fighting to avoid presenting a $10 copy of a long-form birth certificate” begging the ultimate question, why?

Critics have assailed the work both to Tulsa Today and author Joan Swirsky.  The piece posited just one speculative idea and the angry Left calls it “packing so many conspiracy theories …” Ya got to love the angry Looney Left, allergic to facts and satisfied to refute them with gratuitous personal insults.  We can do that.

Additionally, the “blogosphere is ablaze with stories about it, pro and con,” according to Oklahoma’s own Mike McCarville who notes an e-mail from Bunny Chambers of Oklahoma City, a Republican elector this year saying, “There must be something to hide if BHO won’t release proof, if he has it, that he is a natural born US citizen.  He isn’t officially elected until the Electoral College meets on December 15th.  I am a member of the 2008 Electoral College.  I can’t believe that this is actually happening right before our eyes.  We must do something!  I’ve worked over 30 years to protect our US Constitution and now it seems that it will have been all for naught."

No Bunny, as long as we have life there is hope.  Hope that citizens will continue to demand honest transparent government, hope that all government service will be conducted at the highest moral and ethical standards, hope that the courts will act according to the Constitution, and hope that media will be the guardians they proclaim … is not dead.  Hope thrives as we live.  We give hope every day around the kitchen table.  I have taught my daughter and she is teaching her children – stand for what is true, just, and right in honor of those before you that have fought and died to guarantee that precious freedom.

“We will granddad,” the kids answer.  Thus freedom flourishes despite whatever crisis of the day may come – technical or political – from dark to dawn.

About the author:
David Arnett began his career in professional journalism in 1985 and has published Tulsa Today since 1996 – years before Al Gore invented the Internet and "blogs" began.  He has won two national awards as a First Amendment Publisher.  Arnett is an idea guy, a Constitutional Republican, a Conservative Media Critic and a proud pain in the political derriere of the disingenuous.

This analysis may be reproduced without charge with proper attribution and links to the original source.  Arnett is available for interview by recognized media.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 29 November 2008 )