Analysis: Libertarian fringe writer Matthew Vermillion in his most recent web offering accuses Oklahoma State Senate District 34 Candidate John Feary of lying. Of course no one should notice that Vermillion’s site is advertising one of Feary’s opponents. Oh say you CAN see the National Rife Association (NRA) ranking in question online.
In a mailer to constituents in the district and in radio advertising Feary notes an “A” level NRA ranking.
Feary said, “I am A-rated on the NRA survey and I will be an A-rated defender of the Second Amendment. This is a classic last-minute attempt to distort the truth.”
A-q ratings are given after a candidate completes an NRA questionnaire; an “A” rating alone is based on a candidate’s record as an incumbent. No candidate for public office can have more than an A-q or questionnaire rating. The NRA tracks all elected officials and provides questionnaires.
Other candidates also receiving an A-q are Chuck Daugherty, David Mclain, Mark Williams, all Republicans, and J.J. Dossett, a Democrat. Lisa Franklin, a Democrat, did not return a survey according to the NRA rankings.
Vermillion’s site posted, “The only problem with the claim is that the NRA has not given out any ratings to any of the candidates in this race. By searching the NRA website for candidate or elected official ratings, no candidates for the State Senate race appear on the website.” This claim, as shown above, is factually incorrect.
The weakness Vermillion and other bloggers frequently display beyond formal faults of logic is that they research in isolation then rush to ambush candidates and officials without vetting their research or conclusions – rarely bothering to even call the subject of their attack. This type of faulty research resulted in a lawsuit by the Tulsa World against blogger Michael Bates.
Bates published a retraction in 2009 that said in part, “Upon being presented with the Tulsa World‘s information, I now realize the extreme action that they took in suing me and Urban Tulsa Weekly for defamation and disparagement and do not disagree with the Tulsa World’s need to set the record straight. My research was flawed and information in my story was false and inaccurate, and I retract those incorrect statements. I apologize to the Tulsa World and the Urban Tulsa Weekly,” Bates wrote.
The Tulsa World is still the daily newspaper. Urban Tulsa Weekly is now out of business. Blogger Bates continues to self-aggrandize and time will tell what legal action and/or apology may come from Matthew Vermillion’s factually incorrect online rant.
Vermillion’s story did say he “reached out to Feary’s campaign on Friday evening and have not heard back,” but Tulsa Today easily reached John Feary.
Feary said, “I saw a voice mail from an unknown number on Saturday, but after reading what he posted which I know to be untrue, I felt it more productive to focus my campaign on the people who matter – the voters in District 34. I am not fond of Vermillion’s site and don’t expect to visit it again.”
The Primary Election for Senate District 34 will be held this coming Tuesday.