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Media Duel: Fox 25 and The Frontier spat over Street Cop Training scoop


Earlier this week, both OKC Fox 25 and non-profit The Frontier produced independent reports documenting how some Oklahoma law enforcement agencies have hired a controversial group called Street Cop Training to teach Oklahoma cops how to be stand-up assholes who don’t follow the law.

The gist of the reports is that Street Cop Training is banned in nine states due to its controversial style of teachings, but thanks to the lack of oversight and regulation in post-academy police training in Oklahoma, it's been able to thrive in our state.

Now, thanks to the negative publicity the news reports are generating, some Oklahoma law enforcement groups claim they have stopped using the training, and will presumably find different ways to teach cops how to break the law and violate civil rights.

In addition to that cool news, the dual reports have produced something else that's beneficial to the world – a local media spat that highlights their obsession with being first, and the slow-churn nature of Oklahoma non-profit news.

I guess Channel 25 filed their report about Street Cop Training a day or two before The Frontier. This must have irked The Frontier folks.

In a move reminiscent of what the slowpokes at The Oklahoman did when we scooped them on the Mike Hunter resignation story, The Frontier's managing editor Briana "Yellow Ledbetter" Bailey shared the story on social media.

Despite The Frontier being second to hit the publish button, she humble-bragged that it was their questions about the program that caused some groups to stop using Street Cop Training.

I guess Brianna's tweet irked Fox 25’s Wendy Suares. She responded with a link to the Fox 25 report that scooped them:

Briana – the owner of one of the largest live Pearl Jam bootleg CD collections in the US – responded:

Wait a second. That 1,500-word Frontier report about asshole cops being – shocker! – asshole cops took over a month to write!

I think The Frontier folks are nice and sweet, but this begs the question I always wonder – what exactly do they do all day at The Frontier?

I'll admit, I don’t know the first thing about running a successful media outlet, but they have multiple writers and editors and are funded by Kaiser money, yet they only publish a couple of stories a month. I know they have to do all that fancy journalism stuff to try to win awards and everything, but any other journalist or outlet – even Wendy Suares at Fox 25 – can throw that report together in a day or two!

Seriously, I’m not trying to be a narc and ruin the leisurely gig the folks at The Frontier must have, but pick up the pace a little and show some urgency! Then you won’t be scooped by Fox 25!

Now back to the spat....

Wendy may have played nice with Briana’s reply, but then doubled down with this tweet:

This humblebrag shade prompted Joey Senat – the first guy the local media goes to when they need an academia quote about journalism policies and practices – to pop in and either A) defend The Frontier or B) sarcastically mock how long it took them to publish the article. I'm not sure which one it is.

In all seriousness, I can’t tell if he’s knocking The Frontier or supporting them. Either way, I hope The Frontier uses this as motivation to double their monthly article quota from two to four and set an internal deadline of two weeks to research, write, and publish a 1,500-word article about stupid cops.

Anyway, I don’t have a big problem with Wendy Suares being a little bratty and kicking up dirt to defend her turf. One of my favorite things to do is whine about not getting any credit for all the times the local media rips off our stories without providing credit.

Plus, for better or for worse, and often for worse, being first with a story is what matters from a clicks, revenue, and recognition perspectives.

That being said, there is some hypocrisy slogging around the base of Wendy’s soapbox.

Fox 25 – just like all the other TV news channels around town – routinely steals, regurgitates, and mimics news reports from other publications and outlets and then presents it like they’re the first to report it.

It’s called Local News 101.

For example, just last night, Channel 25 was the last and latest local news channel to report on all the ongoing controversy regarding well-paid OSDE ghost employee Matt Langston.

Virtually everything in the story had already been reported by other outlets, but KOKH didn’t give them any credit or acknowledgment:

After that tweet, Wendy then hyped an interview with Ryan Walters.

Instead of taking the angle “Here’s an interview where Ryan repeats all the lies and propaganda bullet points that were thoroughly outlined Tuesday on The Lost Ogle,” they presented it as exclusive breaking news.

Once again, all of this – including Ryan’s lies and distortion – has been reported by numerous other outlets over the past few weeks. The channel isn't breaking anything new. Knowing that, you’d think Wendy would be more supportive and forgiving of The Frontier for making their late-to-the-game report feel more important than it actually is.

Anyway, I guess we shouldn’t let this little media spat that actually makes this story more fun and entertaining lose sight of the important thing – fewer Oklahoma tax dollars are funding biased and prejudiced police training. Whether you're first or last on reporting that detail, it’s the important thing that matters.

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We'll keep you advised.

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