Headscratcher: Oklahoma Newspaper Apologizes for Reporting Factually Accurate, Investigative Journalism

On Sunday, The Oklahoman newspaper published a front-page news story about the apparently totally legal, but highly ethically questionable business dealings of two public officials. The two are exploiting a tax loophole that exempts them from paying property taxes on commercial property they own by leasing it to non-profit entities.

However, within two days after the well-researched story was published despite its accuracy, it was mysteriously pulled off the frontpage and publisher Chris Reen issued a large apology and withdrawal for its “poor decision” to print the story, The Lost Ogle reported.

“Many judgment calls go into this daily equation, and we are hopeful that more often than not our judgment is sound. But it wasn’t Sunday morning when we gave front-page billing to the story about two elected officials and tax exemptions for property owners who lease to nonprofit entities … Our placement on the first page of Sunday’s edition did not comport with the worthiness of the story and we have no one to blame but ourselves,” the apology read as reported by Jim Romensko.com

Why exactly they issued an apology for a factually-accurate newsworthy investigative piece of journalism remains unclear but it is suspected that perhaps the story did not sit too well with the Oklahoma bigwigs or “Good Ole’ Boy Network” – who the publication has gone out of it way to protect for the 110 years that it has been around, according to JimRomensko.com.

Still, it has many baffled as to why Reen retracted the article, as The Lost Ogle article reported:

“Is he concerned about the taxes going up on his $500,000+ home or something? I could see him doing that if the story was libelous or defamatory, but everything in it was supported by facts and public records…I live in Oklahoma County and had no clue these sort of tax breaks existed. It’s interesting (an eye-opening) to know that county officials not only knew about the incentives, but figured out a way to (legally) benefit from them”.

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