Archive for the ‘OK Media’ Category

OKPNS EXCLUSIVE: Stealin’ & Repealin’??

February 12, 2008

Scheme Aims to Pick Taxpayer Pockets and Re-Open Floodgates for New Illegal Alien Invasion

Responding to a question from the Oklahoma Political New Service, Rep. Terrill says he has not been contacted by Cain or Price about the difficulties 1804 may have caused the two industries.


“They’ve not said a word to me, and it concerns me that these companies would launch a multi-million dollar scorched-earth campaign without once speaking to me. If illegal aliens making the modern equivalent of slave labor wages are critical to their vitality, it makes me very, very concerned about the future of those companies,” Rep. Terrill told OKPNS.

Oklahoma City – An OKPNS investigation has unmasked an elaborate but seemingly foolish scheme by corporations and some chambers of commerce to pass a sales tax for improvements to Ford Arena and simultaneously double-cross those same voters by launching a multi-million dollar campaign to repeal the state’s wildly popular immigration reform bill.

Insiders believe that if the public discovers the linkage between the two efforts, there could be a voter backlash, adversely affecting the March 4th penny sales tax election, and subsequently killing Oklahoma City’s bid to land an NBA franchise.

While OKPNS has been critical of the Oklahoma press in the past for enormous lapses in journalistic judgment, this time the oversight is inexcusable. This one should have been uncovered some time ago, but it has not been explained anywhere in Oklahoma media or in the blogosphere.

Incredibly, the scheme calls for not just one campaign of deceit but two disingenuous and risky double-crosses: one aimed at the voters and another aimed at a popular state representative, which could unravel an effort to gain tax credits for the energy and technology sector.

One insider summed up the plot in this way, “Take their money, and then give them more illegal aliens. Take the tax credits, and politically harm the chairman of the revenue and tax committee. If true, I have never witnessed a more loathsome act.”

Oklahoma Political News Service has learned that the repeal plan is being kept in a low profile mode for two reasons. First, the corporate chiefs want the March 4th penny sales tax election to go off without a hitch, because of the fear of a massive voter backlash if citizens discover the agenda to repeal HB 1804 BEFORE the voters’ pockets are picked.

Second, the corporate bosses do not want to agitate Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, HB 1804 author and now a national leader in the immigration reform movement. Why? Because these and other corporate leaders are lobbying for millions of dollars in tax credits for the energy and telecommunications industries. To do that, they will need the support of the House Revenue and Tax Committee, chaired by Rep. Randy Terrill.

We at OKPNS thought when we heard this that this plan, risky and idiotic as it may seem, that it must be so ingenious that we couldn’t grasp its complexities. “No, you’re wrong,” another capitol insider suggests. “It’s the product of idiots.”

The March 4th vote seeks to raise $122 million, through a penny sales tax for 15 months to improve the Ford Center and build a practice facility so it can attract the Seattle Supersonics here starting in 2009. Dubbed “MAPS for Millionaires,” it is a relatively unpopular and controversial initiative. City leaders are planning a campaign to get voters to see the initiative in a positive light.

The OKPNS revelations of corporate dissembling will undoubtedly add to the initiative’s problems: a SurveyUSA poll done on January 29th for Oklahoma City TV station KFOR-TV showed the measure trailing 48-47, despite nearly universal positive media coverage of the proposal and no real organized opposition.

With apologies to KTOK afternoon drive host Mark Shannon, who hinted at the story last Friday, this is a story that the lazy and timid Oklahoma capitol press corps should have uncovered weeks ago. It’s best summed up by a capitol regular, who when told of the scheme said, “When the voters find out that the rich boys, who want the taxpayers to pimp their basketball arena, are going to turn around and try to open the floodgates to bring back illegal immigrants, there will be hell to pay,” she says.

Names connected to the plan include AT&T Oklahoma President Don Cain, as well as a public relations official at Chesapeake Energy named Tom Price. Sources say Chesapeake Energy is quietly discussing with allies a multi-million dollar campaign to repeal HB 1804. Ironically, Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon has an ownership stake in the Sonics, and tying the penny sales tax election to the same people who are attempting to weaken the immigration law would be damaging to his investment. Cain is also Chairman of the state’s chamber of commerce, a relatively weak business lobby group that stood mute in 2007 as HB 1804 was rocketing through the legislature. The three largest chambers of commerce, the state, Tulsa and Oklahoma City chambers, are officially on record as opposing the immigration reform bill.

This scenario becomes even more unusual when you consider that AT&T and Chesapeake have millions of dollars in tax credits pending at the capitol. Those items will most likely be heard in Terrill’s committee, and the Chairman, a social and fiscal conservative who follows the Reagan brand of conservatism, abhors corporate welfare. And now AT&T and Chesapeake, among others, have been exposed as insincere at precisely the wrong time.

“Their bosses are going to freak, but not as much as the voters,” our insider says. “Terrill will kill Cain’s tax credits, as he should, and I suspect that Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony, who loathes AT&T, will want to know more. It could be a PR nightmare for him.”

The insider goes on to say that arrogance may have led the corporation group to overestimate their political IQ. “As for Chesapeake, they’re not playing against naïve little old OG&E this time. I don’t give a damn how much money they have: Terrill will line up that oil company with illegal aliens and the public will go with him. Their tax credits will be dead, too. They’re up against perhaps the smartest and most skilled politician in Oklahoma. He’s media savvy due to his television and radio gig, and he has a wealthy national following as the Pied Piper of immigration reform. The phone company and an oil company against Randy Terrill is an unfair fight: Terrill wins going away.”

So why would two large business corporations plot against an elected official that holds the key to their corporate welfare this session? “This is incredibly stupid. Tell me it’s not true. They’re plotting against and polling against the Revenue and Tax Chairman of the House of Representatives? It will boomerang against the phone industry, the energy sector and undermine public confidence against business as a whole,” an Oklahoma City lobbyist familiar with the situation says.

Responding to a question from OKPNS, Rep. Terrill says he has not been contacted by Cain or Price about the difficulties 1804 may have caused the two industries. “They’ve not said a word to me, and it concerns me that these companies would launch a multi-million dollar scorched-earth campaign without once speaking to me. If illegal aliens making the modern equivalent of slave labor wages are critical to their vitality, it makes me very, very concerned about the future of those companies,” Rep. Terrill tells us.

Other capitol observers say that at least one organization connected with this scheme has performed extensive polling on the possibility of repealing HB 1804, and that repeal will be almost impossible. “It’s too popular, [Terrill] is too popular and even a massive educational effort would fall short,” he says.

So what now? From our vantage point, the plan has put at risk the March 4th election, energy tax credits and cellular telephone tax credits. There will be interesting fallout if the dominoes fall where they appear to be heading and the arena tax fails in March and HB 1804 is still standing in June. Or maybe they’ll get away with it: after all, it still is the Oklahoma media. In that case, maybe only readers of OKPNS will ever know.

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The Revenge of the Uncurious Press

October 16, 2007

As House GOP members meet in Ardmore today in the midst of a campaign finance scandal, only two reporters are covering the event. Embattled House Speaker Lance Cargill is seeking to add two more years to his current term, but only News9’s Stacey Cameron and the Gazette’s Scott Cooper are actually in Ardmore to report on the top political news story of the year.

As always, while the vast majority of the press ignores this monumental story, we will do all we are able to bring you updates as we receive them.

UPDATE: Channel 9 Story Disappears from their website minutes after we posted it this morning.

UPDATE(x2) Video Back Up!

Political Reporter for Norman Transcript Blogging

May 25, 2007

From the Red Dirt Political Report:

How the anti-tax crowd is killing a city…

By M. Scott Carter

If you travel far enough on Oklahoma City’s Northwest Expressway, past the restaurants, the banks, and the struggling strip malls, you’ll eventually wind up in Warr Acres.

Warr Acres — a short hop away from Bethany — is a nice, sleepy little community. It’s a good place to raise a family.

And, it really doesn’t take long to get there, either.

Oh, you’ll know you’ve arrived when you see those stupid signs informing you about how you’ve entered Oklahoma’s version of low-tax Nirvana.

These signs — large ones — sit along side the road and proudly inform drivers they are now in the hamlet which offers the area’s lowest sales tax rate, and how, if you dare to travel out of this glorious little community, you’ll be faced with, God forbid, higher taxes.

Of course, there’s a little more to the story. Read more…

OK Press: Day Late, Dollar Short

April 7, 2007

New media lesson of the day

The Oklahoma Political News Service posted yesterday at 1:00 in the afternoon that Drew Edmondson’s campaign had given an illegal contribution to Jeff McMahan. We actually had the tip in our inbox at 8:38, but due to other pressing commitments, we couldn’t post it till early afternoon. If Simian sycophants and the mainstream OK press want to declare this morning that Rep. Mike Reynolds discovered the discrepancy, Fine. Our readers know where they read it first. (By the way, thanks for reading Representative!) It only illustrates another example of the lazy press in Oklahoma and the “pseudo consultants” who really don’t understand the power and emergence of the blogosphere and the “new media.”

Blogs will always be more timely and scoop the old school press simply because of the immediacy of the internet. While the old school media have a staff of reporters, blogs have legions of citizen reporters, tipsters, and insiders who have access to vast amounts of information a beat reporter will never have. Sorry to have to break news to you that you probably already know old school press, but your industry is dying, and unless you become more “progressive” (a word we hate but is applicable here) you will go the way of the Dodo bird and the Ford Edsel. Blogs ARE your competition but don’t necessarily have to be your enemy; they can and actually do compliment your efforts.

You now see all around the country, major newspapers embracing the blogosphere. In the neighboring state of Missouri, the newspapers in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia, each have political blogs and a reporter assigned to update that blog. They frequently link to posts by popular local and statewide bloggers and have no problem giving a “hat tip” to a blogger who breaks a story before they do. They’ve learned you can either try to beat the blogs (impossible) or join them. Unfortunately as incestuous as the relationship is between the press and Democratic politicians in Oklahoma, don’t expect much change anytime soon.

Democratic Party Infighting Now Comes to Oklahoma

February 26, 2007

Democratic Party infighting took center stage on the national stage last week. Presidential aspirant Sen. Hillary Clinton called for Sen. Barak Obama to apologize for disparaging remarks made by an Obama contributor towards the Senator and her husband. The over-reaction by the Clinton campaign was coupled with a report that Sen. Joseph Lieberman is considering changing parties due to his party’s position on the war. Now it seems that same intraparty squabling is occuring withing the ODP as well.

In another “can’t see the forest for the trees” piece, The Tulsa World reports that Attorney General Drew Edmondson claims Claremore Sen. Sean Burrage had a “conflict of interest” when he voted last week for a bill declaring that animal waste is not hazardous. Sen. Burrage’s law firm has had Tyson Foods as a current and former client. The attorney general is correct in his assertion of a conflict of interest, but his action of throwing a fellow democrat under the bus on behalf of the poultry suit; and the World still ignoring alleged charges of corruption and harrassment within the attorney general’s office, only produces more questions of conflicts of interests between the World and the attorney general.

Chairman Pryor used the Utilitarian philosophy for damage control in an aptly named post today called, “The Greater Good” on the ODP blog:

“Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson has repeatedly taken the position that his job is to protect the citizens and resources of our great state — his position is a personal conviction and is inherent in his constitutional oath of office.

I am very pleased that his walk matches his talk and that he continues to pursue every option available to protect our water resources for the greater good of the people of Oklahoma.

Let’s make sure that anyone who personally benefits from or directly represents the poultry producers does the right thing and abstains from this vote on the floor….”

Edmondson Accepts Contributions from Tulsa World Chairman in ’06; Also Receives Paper’s Endorsement

February 23, 2007
Click picture too enlarge
Attorney General Drew Edmondson is apparently very popular with Oklahoma’s lazy media. Our continuing investigation into the media’s appalling silence in the “poultrygate” scandal has turned up another interesting development.

World publishing Chairman Richard E. Lorton donated $2,000 to the Edmondson re-election effort last year. Coincidentally, Edmondson also won the World’s endorsement. The AG’s republican opponent James Dunn was outraised and outspent almost three to one in the race and was soundly defeated in a landslide. (61% -39%)

Again we ask the question: Why would Mr. Lorton and KSWO executives feel so compelled to jeopardize their respective organizations’ journalistic integrity by supporting financially a political campaign that was in no danger of being defeated? You would think credible news organizations would keep an arms length distance from a candidate running for re-election, especially a candidate currently involved in a controversial lawsuit!

Are there any real Oklahoma journalists out there? Outside of the stories reporting on Edmondson performing his official duties, we would be curious to know the Lexis/Nexis search results of Edmondson’s and James Dunn’s mentions in the Tulsa World last year. Please send in confidence to our tipline.

Edmondson Accepts Contributions from Tulsa World Chairman in ’06; Also Receives Paper’s Endorsement

February 23, 2007


Attorney General Drew Edmondson is apparently very popular with Oklahoma’s lazy media. Our continuing investigation into the media’s appalling silence in the “poultrygate” scandal has turned up another interesting development.

World publishing Chairman Richard E. Lorton donated $2,000 to the Edmondson re-election effort last year. Coincidentally, Edmondson also won the World’s endorsement. The AG’s republican opponent James Dunn was outraised and outspent almost three to one in the race and was soundly defeated in a landslide. (61% -39%)

Again we ask the question: Why would Mr. Lorton and KSWO executives feel so compelled to jeopardize their respective organizations’ journalistic integrity by supporting financially a political campaign that was in no danger of being defeated? You would think credible news organizations would keep an arms length distance from a candidate running for re-election, especially a candidate currently involved in a controversial lawsuit!

Are there any real Oklahoma journalists out there? Outside of the stories reporting on Edmondson performing his official duties, we would be curious to know the Lexis/Nexis search results of Edmondson’s and James Dunn’s mentions in the Tulsa World last year. Please send in confidence to our tipline.

Tulsa World. We Apologize

February 20, 2007

Yesterday we commented on the Tulsa World congratulating themselves on their wins in the “B” category of newspapers.

An alert reader notified us that the World had actually been named the state’s top newspaper in the “A” category. The Community World – an insert to the the World – had the wins in the “B” category.

Our reader surmises that the insert – that is not a separate newspaper – was deliberately entered to compete against smaller, independent newspapers to “hike its win count.”

They continue by offering enlightening comments on the Tulsa World and plagiarism, conflicts of interests, and lazy journalism:

“Plagiarism–the World loves to put other news organizations’ work in its pages, but won’t credit the source even if it was a major investigation. Don’t see that problem with real newspapers–just last night the Telegraph in London credited the New York Times for a key international story, even though the Times’ contribution was relatively minimal. The World is a swamp of conflicts of interest, ethics violations and, most sinister, editorial crusades designed to line the pockets of the publisher’s family and save them from their bad real estate investments. The Gaylord family is cleaning up its act; the Lorton family is a disgrace. Nice catch.”

They continue:

“Ask anyone who works in emergency services how often the newspaper runs material two days after the fact, without using the updates provided by the agency, then refuses to correct the resulting errors. It is a standing joke!”

Confirmed…..OK Press Still Clueless!

February 16, 2007

As predicted here yesterday, top state media labored to minimize the damage to Attorney General Drew Edmondson. Most did exactly what we said they would do: ignore the story altogether, as is the case with the Oklahoman. A quick scan of the paper’s Internet site found no mentions of the the story.

As for the Tulsa World, they missed the point of the federal hearing altogether. Reporter Curtis Killman, who “covers” the poultry issue, completely ignored the implications of the hearing, as outlined here yesterday. Killman and the World made sure that readers are not subjected to the messy little details in the Marie West lawsuit, the ticking time bomb which threatens the poultry suit. That’s like a newspaper sending a reporter to the Super Bowl and getting a story about Prince’s new shoes.

So all in all, the Edmondson apologists had a pretty good day: ignore, obfuscate, miss the point and, most of all, refuse to tell the whole truth.

EXCLUSIVE: Lazy Press Set to Sleep Through Poultry Scandal….Again!

February 15, 2007

The state’s major newspapers and wire services face a quandary today. For months, the state’s top press organizations have all but ignored allegations of corruption in Democrat Attorney General Drew Edmondson’s office in connection with the poultry lawsuits. Today, their attempt to shield Oklahomans from the truth gets harder.

The Oklahoma Political News Service reported in December that Mike Turpin attempted to kill an unflattering report by Oklahoma City television reporter Ali Myer. Meyer embarrassed Oklahoma’s lazy capitol and print reporters with her monumental 10-minute piece on how the lure of riches prompted abuses of power by top officials in the attorney general’s office. The capitol press corps’ response to being owned by a TV reporter was to pretend it didn’t happen.

A report such as Myer’s in almost any other state in America would have resulted in a press frenzy, and certainly investigations by authoritative figures, especially considering that Democrat political hack Mike Turpen, who stands to make millions of dollars from the poultry suits, tried but failed to kill the story. To our knowledge, not even one press organization even attempted to investigate Myer’s claims, or even Turpen’s outrageous attempt to muzzle a respected reporter.

Even more curious was the lack of response from state Republican officials, which many seasoned political observers simply chalked up to inexperience and fear of Edmondson.

Despite the fact that arguably the nation’s worst press corps continues to ignore a potential scandal with national implications, the poultry cases could begin to unravel today in Tulsa federal court. The allegations of corruption on a massive scale, (and some other actions by AG officials so unbelievably grotesque that decorum does not allow us to present the information here) did not escape the attention of the lawyers representing the Arkansas poultry companies. They want Edmondson back under oath so that they may pursue the myriad of misdeeds that Myer’s report exposed.

So while the state’s major media sees, hears and speaks no evil on today, OKPNS readers can get a preview of the fireworks. Click here to see the pleadings that Edmondson and his allies in the media don’t want you to know about. Especially note how that they couldn’t buy West’s cooperation, and how the AG attempted to get West to destroy public documents, which is what happens when a public official knows the press won’t lift a finger to expose him.

Click here to read Tyson’s Motion to Compel.

Excerpt:

One of the conditions that the Attorney General attached to his settlement offer was that Ms. West “would have to take confidential documents and have them destroyed.”