I read the Oklahoman today so you don't have to

You don’t get the Oklahoman? Good for you; it’s worse than a rag: it’s a dumbed-down propaganda organ for the Republican Party and a deceitful tool for promoting corporate interests, maintaining power in the hands and bank accounts of a few elites, some of whom don’t even live in Oklahoma.

Perfect example of the former purpose: every week the Oklahoma County Democratic Party has a luncheon with a guest speaker. I don’t know if this event has ever been covered by a reporter from the Oklahoman — despite some outstanding presentations, such as the one recently by Scott J. Hamilton about the Cimarron Alliance — but this week, after Democrats lost big in the elections statewide and nationally, the Oklahoman was suddenly inspired to do a story, quite clearly designed to showcase the local liberals licking their wounds.

However, bad as the Oklahoman is, they do sometimes print something worth a look. Besides the crossword and tv schedule, I mean. If it further passes the toxic-level sentimentality test, a filter almost as needed as the one for blatent bias, then I will pass it on to friends here or on Facebook.

So here’s what you might want to check out from Today’s paper:

Inasmuch Foundation announces grants in Oklahoma – These grants, from the foundation created by Edith Kinney Gaylord with the blood money made from running the “worst newspaper in America” actually have some awfully liberal sounding organizations among the recipients. There’s help for AIDS patients, the homeless, poor babies and abused women , almost like the granting body had a heart, unlike the new breed of Oklahoma citizens cultivated by the aforementioned publishing empire.

And here’s one of those occasional stories that almost makes one think the Oklahoman has something positive to offer the civic conversation in the state: Confronting Bullies: Pastors discuss how churches can stand up for the oppressed.

Churches should help prevent bullying, negative discourse, Oklahoma pastor says

The suicide of a young Norman man in October struck a nerve with the Rev. Mitch Randall.

The senior pastor of NorthHaven Church in Norman, Randall said he read with great alarm the news accounts about Zach Harrington, 19, who killed himself about a week after attending a Norman City Council meeting at which the council and several community residents discussed the merits of proclaiming October as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History Month in the city.

After the man’s death, Harrington’s family said that some disparaging remarks about homosexuals that were made at the meeting may have contributed to his suicide and that he may have been the target of bullies while in high school.

Randall, whose church is affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a moderate Baptist denomination, said the gay teen’s death compelled him to blog on the issue of bullying, which he said stems from one person’s need to feel superior over someone who is different.

The minister said he hopes to bring together Norman area pastors in January to talk about ways churches can help prevent bullying and an atmosphere of negative dialogue in the community.

But then again, the dateline for this story: Norman. Almost not really Oklahoma culturally. But by doing such a story, it’s possible some insight might be offered to Oklahoman readers, and, so far, even the comments section below the online story is encouraging: no blatant homophobic complaints about the display of compassion from a small minority of churches.

There’s also a version of a story first published in Tulsa World, in which Harriet Sherber recounts harrowing memories of Kristallnacht in Vienna before her family escaped to the US. Considering the result of the vote on Oklahoma’s state question 755, it’s a timely reminder of what happens when certain people, because of their faith or other characteristic, are dehumanized, oppressed and scapegoated. Too bad they didn’t put it on the front page with a little more explicit current context. Even with such reading aids, could 70% of Oklahomans recognize themselves on the wrong side of history? Yeah, rhetorical question.

Here’s an upcoming event that progressives might find interesting: Political analyst, author Fareed Zakaria to return Monday to OU

So that’s my stroll through the minefield of the Oklahoman today. Only minor damage to my psyche. Of course, I didn’t read the Op-Ed pages — I’m not that much of a martyr for my readers (not today anyway)!

[Online stories at the Oklahoman are usually only available for seven days.]