The Lost Ogle blog has an excellent post this week about the departure of The Oklahoman editor Ed Kelley, who is taking over the editorial control next month of the archconservative The Washington Times.
TLO’s Patrick assembled what he called an expert panel to comment on Kelley’s job change. The panel included myself; Arnold Hamilton, the editor of The Oklahoma Observer; Dr. Joe Foote, Dean and Chair of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma; and Mike McCarville, a former radio broadcaster and author of The McCarville Report.
Anyone who follows this blog knows I’m a longtime critic of The Oklahoman and its right-wing bias. My take on Ed Kelley’s decision can be found here. I actually worked with Kelley at the newspaper in the early 1980s.
In the TLO post, Hamilton and I agree mostly on Kelley’s tenure. We both point out the paper’s right-wing tilt. Hamilton correctly argues: “The paper still is all about protecting its friends and punishing its enemies, often via decisions on what to publish and where (page one or buried?) and what to ignore.”
McCarville claims that under Kelley’s tenure The Oklahoman “has become much more moderate in its news coverage and its editorial positions,” and I can see how a conservative might see it that way. Kelley did soften the tone on the editorial page, but he still didn’t allow consistent, dissenting voices to the right-wing dogma.
Foote pretty much just praises Kelley, pictured right, for his job as editor. I agree with what he wrote about Kelley personally: “His editorial pen is suitably sharp, but it is uncanny how open-minded he is interpersonally and how easy it is for him to communicate with all different types of people.” That’s how I remember Kelley.
I’m most “proud” of my use of the word “pussel-gutted” in my remarks, which was a lame attempt to be intelligently sarcastic. This IS The Lost Ogle, folks. So here’s my take on The Washington Times:
The Washington Times is weird, very weird. Look at its opinion page. It’s a cliché-ridden, stinky pile of conservative, pussel-gutted compost. (Pussel-gutted? Look it up.) Yes, I know The Oklahoman has its weirdness, too, but, you know, it reflects the views of a particular segment of lost, religious folks wandering aimlessly on the prairie.
And that’s just part of my response about The Washington Times. You’ll have to go to TLO to read the rest.
Seriously, Patrick did a great job putting together a panel with diverse views and asking pertinent questions about Kelley and the newspaper. If only The Oklahoman would follow TLO’s example and practice the same type of fairness and thoroughness.