I feel used. It's my own fault. I knew what they were after, and I let them come out and talk to me anyway. I could have said I was too busy, because I was, but I'm a soft touch, especially when it's the dulcet tones of KJRH's Omadalle Nelson coming through the phone.

She said she'd read my entries about "The American" and had the impression I wasn't supportive of the colossal statue. I told her I supported it, and was pleased that Tulsa would be getting a major tourist attraction that would be privately financed. I confessed that I was amused at all the skepticism about economic impact being voiced by people who weren't asking skeptical questions last fall about the impact claimed by Vision 2025's supporters. The only concern I had about the project is what would happen in the event that the backers couldn't complete the project or couldn't maintain it over time -- would taxpayers get stuck with the bill?

That's evidently what she (or her producer) was after -- something negative to balance out the piece, create a sense of controversy -- and no doubt that's why she called me. We met up not far from where I work and talked for several minutes. I mentioned my support for the project, my support for the idea of a privately-funded project, and the idea that this statue could help define Tulsa in the world's view as the place to come to experience American Indian culture and history.

None of that made the cut, because they already had enough positive comments -- they didn't need another one from me. I thought about begging them not to run anything unless they also had me expressing support for the concept. I did ask them to put the website name on screen beneath my name -- that didn't happen.

Instead they ran the sound bite of me expressing my concern about whether taxpayers could get stuck with the bill. When they aired the clip at 5, there was a voice-over mention that I supported the statue, but that wasn't mentioned on the 6 and 10 showings. Those who think of me as the essence of negativity probably saw the clip and thought, "There's that so-and-so Bates again, elbowing his way in front of the cameras to attack something positive for our city!"

I really should have told her to call Barry Friedman and let him repeat his concerns about the economic impact numbers, or to call a number of art lovers who believe the statue will be an aesthetic disaster. Let them say something negative for the camera. Let someone else be the designated naysayer.

Live and learn.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 27, 2004 1:09 AM.

Silence is golden was the previous entry in this blog.

Whirled, Bates agree: Sign of the apocalypse? is the next entry in this blog.

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