The Oklahoman Practices Constructive Criticism
11:00 AM EST on February 23, 2010
A few weeks ago, a Lost Ogle reader let us know about a recent experience he had with the Oklahoman editorial staff. It started after he got up the nerve to email of those "letter to the editor" things. Here is the letter:
The responses to James Mitchell's comments (Your Views, Jan. 20) overlooked a significant fact about Sarah Palin: She took an oath of office and committed to serve as the Governor of Alaska. However, when she realized that it would be more fun to write a book, travel the country, and go on TV; she quit. She defied her commitment and responsibility in favor of becoming a celebrity. Why would any thinking American want a president or vice-president who might quit when she sees something else that would be more fun? We need someone who has the integrity, maturity, and intelligence to honor commitments.
"“ Jim Watson
If you ask me, that's a decent letter to the editor. It's kind of biased, brings up a few points, and overall, is relatively harmless. That is, of course, unless you are J.E. McReynolds (the chief editorial writer of the Oklahoman). Check out J.E.'s unsolicited response to the letter after the jump.
Here are some points you need to address to support your argument:
-Obama, Biden and Clinton tooks [sic] oaths and committed to serving in Senate. They left.
-Janet Napilatano took an oath to be governor of Arizona. She left. Bill Clinton took an oath to be governor of Arkansas. He left. The list is endless and bipartisan.
-Palin didn't leave Alaska to become a celebrity. She's been a celebrity since August 2008.
-Hillary ran for a higher office, didn't win and left the Senate shortly thereafter when an opportunity came her way. Palin ran for a higher office, didn't win and left the governorship when an opportunity came her way.
I talked to several Ogle Moles who know a thing or two about journalism and all of them were surprised by J.E. McReynolds' response. They told me that rarely, if ever, should an editor personally respond to a "letter to the editor." And that if you do, it's because you need to heavily edit the letter to fit within space restrictions, or because you need to verify the individual's identity. However, they also told me that this is the Oklahoman, and just about anything is possible in the Dark Tower.
Anyway, Jim Watson apparently agreed with the Ogle Moles, because he fired back at McReynolds with some emails of his own. He even eventually got Oklahoman Editor Ed Kelley and Publisher David Thompson involved. You can try to follow it all at Jim's blog. It's kind of funny.
In the meantime, I say we seriously flood J.E. McReynolds email (firstname.lastname@example.org ) with questions and comments about Ed Kelley's haircut. You could mop the Oklahoman Cafeteria with that thing. If anyone gets a reply, please send it our way!