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The Oklahoman is rushing to the defense of Scott Pruitt…

10:31 AM EST on December 11, 2014

scott pruitt

It's probably not a surprise to the people who read this website that The Oklahoman is probably the most biased newspaper in America. Through reporting and unattributed editorials, they love nothing more than to advance their agenda, protect their friends and attack their enemies. It's a big reason why the Columbia Journalism Review named The Oklahoman the "Worst Newspaper in America" in 1999, and why so many locals simply refer to it as The Jokelahoman or Daily Disappointment or That Thing Grandpa Reads While On The Toilet.

Things haven't really changed that much at The Oklahoman since 1999. Although the paper is a little better than the Gaylord glory days – for example, they'll now publish photos of minorities – they still like to do what they always do when it comes to politically biased, hatchet job reporting. If you need some recent proof, just give good old Ed Shadid a phone call and ask about his marijuana or porn addiction, or go read that story where they had to issue a retraction for exposing the shady dealings of local politicians.

If that seems like too much work, you can always check out The Oklahoman's reporting of the New York Times report on Scott Pruitt and compare it to that of the Tulsa World. After a few paragraphs, it's pretty easy to figure out which newspaper is owned by Philip Anschutz, the guy who made his fortune in the energy industry, and which one is owned by... uhm... uh... Biker Fox? Sorry, when I think of Tulsa, he's always the first thing that comes to mind. That and women's basketball. Great city, huh?

The Oklahoman followed their report of the Times story with an editorial on Wednesday that defended Scott Pruitt with the intensity of a pre-2003 Mike Stoops defense. It's so fair and balanced that it reads like Devon Energy wrote it for Scott Pruitt, who then sent it to The Oklahoman for publication, who then actually published it because that's what the paper does for their cronies and BFFs.

Like most Oklahoman editorials, it reeks of hypocrisy, contains fallacious arguments and jumps to insane conclusions. Just check out the first paragraph:

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and other Republican AGs are working together, and with private industry experts, to combat federal overreach in state affairs. Officials at The New York Times apparently think this is shocking, leading to an “expose” that’s a case study in media bias and unthinking analysis.

Yes, everyone, on December 10th, 2014, The Oklahoman referred to a detailed, thorough, meticulous, well-researched, informed, eye-opening New York Times expose on the partnership between powerful corporations and our state's attorney general and called it a "case study in media bias and unthinking analysis."

Thanks for that, Newspaper That Literally Could Be A Case Study In Media Bias And Unthinking Analysis. Could they be more hypocritical? This would be like Berry Tramel complaining about Jenni Carlson's voice, or Mel Bracht telling Nolan Clay that he looks like a creeper.

The madness continues. Seriously, this editorial is insane.

An article Saturday proclaimed the discovery of an “unprecedented, secretive alliance that Mr. Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general have formed with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda …”

That Pruitt and fellow Republicans have joined with the private sector in fighting Obama administration overreach is surprising only to those who haven’t read a news article in the past four years or a single press release from Pruitt’s office.

First of all, most people don't read the newspaper or press releases from Pruitt's office. So, yes, this would be a surprise. Second, the Oklahoman appears to be lying...

Scott Pruitt has a bunch of press releases listed on his website. I spent some time going through them, and despite what The Oklahoman implies, I couldn't find one item that mentions anything about Pruitt working closely with the "private sector," or how he's accepted huge donations from the energy industry and let them ghostwrite letters to the President.

Also, just to make sure I didn't miss anything, I then searched "Scott Pruitt" and "Devon Energy" – Pruitt's biggest sugar daddy – on the NewsOK.com website. Outside of references to the New York Times piece, there was nothing. Not one story. Considering the Times expose is surprising "only to those who haven’t read a news article in the past four years," isn't that kind of odd? I then searched "Scott Pruitt + Private Sector" on NewsOK.com and once again – surprise, surprise – nothing of any importance popped up.

The awful editorial continues:

The Times ominously intones, “Industries that he (Pruitt) regulates have also joined him as plaintiffs in court challenges, a departure from the usual role of the state attorney general, who traditionally sues companies to force compliance with state law.”

But Pruitt’s office doesn’t regulate anyone. The attorney general’s job is law enforcement, not regulation.

That's a good point. Although I think we get what the New York Times is trying to say, regulation is a poor word choice. I'll be sure to remember that.

The above-noted quote also betrays the Times’ bias. Apparently, it’s fine for attorneys general to sue private companies, but not federal agencies. And here we thought everyone was supposed to obey the law and abide by the Constitution!

Actually, Mr. Oklahoman Editorial Writer, the New York Times doesn't mention or say that at all. That's just you drawing a strange, warped conclusion to protect your paper's friend, use some GOP talking points, and attempt to discredit a very solid piece of investigative journalism.

The Times undermines its claims of “unprecedented” coordination by noting, “Democrats for more than a decade have teamed up with environmental groups such as the Sierra Club to use the court system to impose stricter regulation. But never before have attorneys general joined on this scale with corporate interests to challenge Washington and file lawsuits in federal court.”

So it’s fine to coordinate with private-sector nonprofit entities to advance litigation that benefits those groups’ agendas if the groups are liberal activists, but not if they’re legitimate, for-profit businesses? That’s nonsense.

Once again, the Times is not implying that at all. It's such a reach. It would be like me suggesting that the The Oklahoman, based on this editorial, thinks it's fine for AGs to coordinate with private-sector for-profit corporations to advance litigation that benefits those corporations' agendas if the groups are conservative activists, but not if they’re legitimate, non-profit entities.

See what I did there? I took the same false logic that The Oklahoman used against the Times and then turned it against them. I was able to do this because The Oklahoman employs awful editorial writers who use the same logical and reason skills as angsty teenagers. They couldn't win in a debate class at Rose State.

Back to the editorial. I swear it's almost done:

Environmental groups have worked with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to fashion policy. Many Obamacare provisions originated with advocates of socialized medicine. Pruitt is merely employing similar methods to advance conservative goals.

It wouldn't be an Oklahoman editorial without a good Obamacare reference. I'm surprised it took them so many paragraphs to get there.

Despite claiming Pruitt’s activity is “secretive,” Pruitt’s office provided the Times thousands of emails and court documents. True secret alliances don’t leave a paper trail subject to open records requests.

1. It's not like Pruitt just gave them the documents on his own. He was complying with an open records request.

2. If a true secret alliance doesn't leave a paper trail, how do we know Pruitt and the energy companies don't actually have a true secret alliance??! Maybe that's why Pruitt has been so "open." The true secret stuff is actually secret. Thanks for reminding me that's a possibility.

To boost its secrecy claims, the Times highlights a forum on federalism and energy policy held in Oklahoma City in 2013. Yet that event, bringing together business and government officials, was widely publicized by Pruitt’s office. What kind of “secretive” alliance participates in public meetings and invites the media to record them?

I believe the event they are referring to is the Summit on Federalism and the Future of Fossil Fuels that was held at January 2013 at the Skirvin. Once again, The Oklahoman editorial writer claims the event was widely publicized by Pruitt's office, but I couldn't find any mention of the event on Scott Pruitt's website. Considering they guy loves publicity so much that he brags about his website redesign winning an award, that's strange. I also searched The Oklahoman's website for details of this "widely publicized" event. It's not mentioned anywhere.

Here was the event's agenda...

Federalism and the Future of Fossil Fuels, January 16-17, 2013

Uhm, I thought the role of the attorney general was enforcement of law... not advancing policy and regulation. I told you I would remember that.

The Times makes much of Pruitt’s office recycling material provided by private industry experts. But the Times doesn’t suggest that information was erroneous or false in any way. Shouldn’t informed analysis shape legal arguments?

Yeah, the Times didn't suggest that the content was erroneous or false. That's not the point. Unlike The Oklahoman, they're not trying to tell you if the Devon letter is right or wrong. They're simply laying out the facts to an international audience, and letting readers decide if they want money hungry corporations and energy companies working so closely with the guy who's supposed to enforce the laws for the people he represents.

Here's the final stanza...

More seriously, the Times reports that Pruitt’s former chief of staff was involved in fundraising efforts for the Republican Attorneys General Association and may have used state resources to do so. If true, that’s a major mistake. Oklahomans want state employees to do state work. Pruitt should have separate, privately funded staff — working outside his state office — to conduct such campaign activity.

Those allegations are concerning. But the vast majority of the Times article merely suggests that Pruitt takes his conservative stances seriously. That’s an indictment only if you think politicians shouldn’t live up to their publicly issued campaign promises or that conservative Republicans don’t have the same leeway in influencing public policy as do liberal Democrats.

Holy shit, they did finally criticize Pruitt... in the second to last paragraph. I bet all the Gaylords are all rolling in their graves right now. The Oklahoman is still one of the worst newspapers in America, but maybe, just maybe they're starting to get better.

Hehe. Just kidding. It's still awful. Hopefully they continue posting shit like this editorial (and this one) to remind us.

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