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News from the Plains: All this RED can make you BLUE

What in The World is going on?
by Barry Friedman

For your consideration ... in the category

"Worst Lede in Editorial Writing."

It’s hard not to love Markwayne Mullin.

Disagree with freshman Republican congressman all you want on policy, but when you meet him, it’s hard not to genuinely admire him for his love of God, country and family.

This soaring, diabetes-inducing rhetoric is from Wayne Greene, the new Tulsa World Editorial Pages Editor, on Oklahoma's Second District Congressman Markwayne Mullin. In the piece, Greene applauds the congressman for adopting twin girls, for being "the least pretentious congressman you’ll ever see," and for preferring "the crowds in his dairy barn to those of the U.S. Capitol."

And Greene even provides a link of Mullin telling the story of the adoption and interviews two cows inside the barn who confirm the relationship.

(Okay, I may have made up that last part.)

Keep in mind, though, that Wayne Greene is the man who sets the editorial tone for the World, the man who bats cleanup, the man entrusted with the red marker.

The girls — distant relatives of his wife — were being raised by elderly relatives, but Mullin’s wife set her heart on bringing them into their household.

Twice she brought the issue up with him, and twice, he said he talked her down, but the second time she played the “trump card.”

She asked him to pray about it.

“How do you pray about that?” Mullin asked the people in Henryetta. “Hey, Lord, would you please, please make her heart as selfish as mine?”

For the love of Scotty Reston, I'm going into diabetic shock. Bring me my FlexPen and turn the insulin meter to 7.

I'm sure Mullin is a great dad, his little girls love him, his wife's an angel, and there's a prince inside this man who prefers jeans to suits, but this piece belongs on the editorial page of the Tulsa World as much as I do on a folding chair mounting a stuffed moose over the fireplace.

This is what you find on the back panel of a church pamphlet under "This Week's Speaker."

In the end, he asked God to change his heart instead.
And Reston just did the rumba in his grave.

Let us now recall the words, just a few months ago, of the new Tulsa World publisher, Bill Masterson Jr., about the direction of the newest acquisition by BH Media (that's Warren Buffet's hizzy).

I received a few notes asking for clarification when I mentioned in my first column that the editorial position was going to reflect the community in which it serves.
My reason for that statement was the result of taking a hard look at the data we develop about our readers and our community. It clearly shows that the community perceives (right or wrong) that our editorial position is too far to the left and is not reflective of what is consistent with Tulsa and Oklahoman's values.

Perception is reality and it is our job to fix that.

But more important than being known as a "right" leaning paper or a "left" leaning paper is the desire to make sure that we are credible, thought-provoking, and fair.

"Credible, thought-provoking, and fair."

No, no, and no.

For those who wondered when the effects of the new philosophy of the Tulsa World would be felt, whether the paper's new moderate stance (and editorial pages editor) would raise the level of discourse, objectivity, and sophistication, and if, after reading Masterson's comments, it was worth balling up that edition and hurling it at the cat ... you have your answers.

Wayne Greene, Tulsa World, BH Media, Markwayne Mullin

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