Culture & the Family

Jonathan Small | December 30, 2021

Oklahoma news you can use

Jonathan Small

By now it’s well known: voters—especially conservatives—don’t trust the media.

The evidence keeps piling up.

Gallup found in 2020 that only 10% of Republicans trust the media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.

Rasmussen found last year that 58% of likely U.S. voters agree (whereas 36% don’t agree) that the media are “truly the enemy of the people”!

Just this month, Trafalgar found that 90% of Republican voters believe "the primary focus of the mainstream media’s coverage of current events" is "advancing their own opinions or political agendas."

Here at home, Amber Integrated found last year that Oklahoma voters believe “the greatest threat to American democracy” is not foreign powers like China or Russia. Rather, the top answers given were “media or social media companies” and “liberal or left-wing extremists.”

It’s also interesting to note where Oklahomans get their news. The Amber Integrated survey found that only 5 percent prefer local newspapers. Is it any wonder? News sources such as The Oklahoman, Tulsa World, Associated Press, and Oklahoma Watch are often just as liberal as CNN or MSNBC.

It’s not just the journalists’ left-wing worldviews and biased story formulas. It’s the story selection itself. And that’s where OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) comes in.

Here’s an example. This November, an article in The Oklahoman finally informed readers that Oklahoma tribal governments are looking to open casinos in other state markets. The article highlighted efforts by the Osage Nation to build a Missouri casino, the Cherokee Nation’s similar effort in Arkansas, the Choctaw Nation’s effort to enter the Illinois casino market, and the Quapaw Nation’s casino in Arkansas.

That may have been breaking news to readers of The Oklahoman, but not to readers of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. Our CIJ readers learned about those developments in December 2019—nearly two years earlier.

You see, part of our mission at OCPA is to provide Oklahomans with policy-related, factual news that better informs public debates and arms voters with the information they need. While the young activists-with-bylines in the “mainstream” media are writing their umpteenth puff piece about “diversity” and other topics you don’t care about, CIJ’s veteran journalists Ray Carter (former award-winning Capitol reporter for The Journal Record) and Mike Brake (he covered the 1969 moon landing for The Oklahoman) are focusing on policy-related issues of voter concern.

In some instances, we are the first to report on an issue—beating other outlets by days, weeks, months … or even years. And with our news-story pageviews and Facebook reach both hitting all-time highs, it’s clear we’re doing something right. Thank you for reading!

Jonathan Small President

Jonathan Small


Jonathan Small, C.P.A., serves as President and joined the staff in December of 2010. Previously, Jonathan served as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, as a fiscal policy analyst and research analyst for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and as director of government affairs for the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Small’s work includes co-authoring “Economics 101” with Dr. Arthur Laffer and Dr. Wayne Winegarden, and his policy expertise has been referenced by The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, National Review, the L.A. Times, The Hill, the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post. His weekly column “Free Market Friday” is published by the Journal Record and syndicated in 27 markets. A recipient of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s prestigious Private Sector Member of the Year award, Small is nationally recognized for his work to promote free markets, limited government and innovative public policy reforms. Jonathan holds a B.A. in Accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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