The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 February 2005

A World of their own

It was always thus: you read The Tulsa Tribune for news, and the Tulsa World for, um, well, no one really knows why anyone read the Tulsa World. But there were two papers, operating under one of those Joint Operating Agreements, and all was well with the world — or with the World, anyway, which shut down the JOA in 1992 and acquired monopoly status.

Editorially, the Tribune was farther right than the World, but the problem, from the World's point of view, wasn't the Tribune's politics: it was the fact that the Tribune was in a position to keep an eye on the Lorton family's wheelings and dealings, not all of which made it into their paper.

And the Lortons still don't like attention being drawn to their back-door deals, in any way, shape, size or form. When their slate of Tulsa City Council candidates didn't do well enough to secure a pro-Lorton majority, the World began attacks on two of their opponents, and World associates put together a recall petition against them, which alleges no wrongdoing, only that they vote the "wrong way."

The World's latest scheme is to fume at bloggers. Both Chris Medlock, a Councilman who opposes the World's agenda, and Michael Bates, a community activist who has been covering the opposition, have received nasty letters from a World vice-president threatening them with copyright-infringement suits for quoting World articles and linking to the World's Web site. This sort of thing would be laughed out of any courtroom in the country, which undoubtedly is why the threats came from a World officer and not from its legal team. (What'll you bet that the World board actually called in the lawyers, and were told flatly that they had no case?)

If it weren't so pathetic, it would almost be tragic. There are many cities like Tulsa, where a favored few seek to maximize their profits at the expense of everyone else; what makes Tulsa different is the World, which evidently would rather be a conspirator than a crusader. The people of Tulsa are the poorer for it.

Posted at 7:41 AM to Soonerland

TrackBack: 11:19 PM, 15 February 2005
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NOTE to those of you who normally skip the Tulsa stuff here: Please read this entry. This is not just about the sordid little world of Tulsa politics. This is the old media trying to intimidate their critics in the new media into silence. It has reperc......[read more]

Good morning! Just wanted to drop a quick line & tell you I saw you on the news this morning~~it was odd, because just last night I posted in me own little corner of the blogosphere about the fact that I personally know NO male bloggers here in Okieland. Well, I realize I don't know you either, but hey, we're neighbors of a sort.

So NICE JOB on the news~I'm only envious that they didn't pick me. ;) Could be because I'm not nearly as interesting.

Posted by: Shannon (aka_monty) at 10:25 AM on 15 February 2005

Sometimes I think we Oklahoma-based bloggers (not that I'm an active blogger) should get a mailing list/contact list together.

Posted by: Dave at 12:23 PM on 15 February 2005

Haven't the courts already decided this linking issue? But, the one that gets me is their dislike at having the blog quote the paper. Isn't that clearly covered under Fair-Use provisions of copyright law? How pathetic.

Posted by: MikeSW... at 4:57 PM on 15 February 2005

Interestingly, there's an outfit working with the Tulsa City Council recall that's been reproducing complete articles from the World — Chris Medlock put one up once, I believe — but since the World more or less supports the recall, no complaints were leveled. This fact alone would kill them in a court of law.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:32 PM on 15 February 2005

Just an FYI, a third nastygram that was sent by the Tulsa World has turned up over at

Posted by: Bobby at 1:20 PM on 16 February 2005