Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Michael Bates and BatesLine

A lot of my liberal friends can't abide the Michael Bates column in Urban Tulsa, and to be honest I would say that I'm in vociferous disagreement with him on about 95% of his opinions (except that I like Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys almost as much as he does) but he is the go-to guy when it comes to issues surrounding land use and urban planning....if you want to dispute his points you had best have your ducks in a row because he has thought long and hard on these matters and his arguments are often deep and multi-layered. So I decided to add his BatesLine to my list of preferred blogs.

What makes Bates unusual is that he will actually get down into the nitty-gritty.....do his research, read the statutes and relevant codes, familiarize himself with the agenda of administrative boards that most Tulsans don't even know exist....and then he does a yeoman's job of explaining all of that to his readers,and usually without over-simplifying things. He is also without fear when he determines to pick a target. His nose for smelling out bullshit is remarkable. It's been a long time, if ever, since the Tulsa World did comparable work (I'll make an exception for Janet Pearson's reporting, but her best stuff is generally concerning social agencies and not the development industries that constitute the World's power base).

In short, he's not just an opinion hack, he works as a reporter - and he might be the best one in Oklahoma, either in-print or online.

Am I giving short shrift to anyone? Does anyone have an Oklahoma journalist that deserves a shout-out?

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