Another Whirled set and spike

| | Comments (3)

UPDATE: Chris Medlock has posted his account of the story that appeared in the Saturday World.

I can't remember if I've used this analogy on this blog, or perhaps just in other forums, but I've observed that the Tulsa World sometimes operates like a volleyball team, with the newsroom providing the "set" with a well-slanted news story, providing the editorial board just what they need for the "spike" -- the "facts" required to "prove" whatever point the editorial board is trying to make.

A week or so ago Councilor Chris Medlock made an offhand comment, during an off-the-record conversation with a Tulsa World reporter. He mentioned that a high-ranking city official came to him to relay an offer -- support granting an easement over city land for the proposed private toll bridge across the Arkansas River and the recall would be called off. Someone decided to turn the offhand, off-the-record comment into a news story.

The point of the comment -- and this was in the news story, although it didn't survive into the editorial -- was that the offer may or may not be genuine, but the recall had created a climate that made such an offer credible. Medlock had no way of knowing if the offer was made directly to the official who relayed it to him, or if it passed through several go-betweens first.

As I mentioned in my earlier entry on this story, I've been told who relayed the offer to Medlock, and this person has a reputation as a good family man and a straight-shooter.

The Whirled editorial board used the opportunity to paint Councilor Medlock as paranoid:

City Councilor Chris Medlock, who claimed last week that he has been told the recall effort targeting him will be dropped if he will support a private toll-bridge plan, also said, "people will say I'm crazy or paranoid or it never happened."

Actually, people will say all three of those things unless Medlock offers some proof that the offer actually was made.

The World editorial leaves you with the impression that Medlock held a press conference to announce this discovery, or spoke about it from the dais of the Council, and therefore it is incumbent on him to offer proof of this wild accusation.

Chris Medlock didn't accuse anyone by name of anything. The World chose to make a news story of this, so they could write about it on the editorial page, so they could further their aim of regaining control of the City Council.


Bowden said:

"Offhand comment"? "Off the record conversation"? Neither exists when talking to a reporter.

Bowden said:

"Offhand comment"? "Off the record conversation"? Neither exists when talking to a reporter.

Michael A. Clem said:

Perhaps there is no such thing as "off the record", but it certainly goes a long way towards explaining why Medlock wasn't offering proof of it as the World is demanding. Let the investigative reporters do their investigating.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 2, 2005 10:58 PM.

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