The Edmond Sun

Local News

August 18, 2010

Campaign postcard misleads

Lankford, Edmond Sun dispute Calvey statements on recent mailer

EDMOND — A political campaign card in support of former state Rep. Kevin Calvey’s run for Congress falsely attributes a recent statement against Congressional candidate James Lankford to The Edmond Sun.

This rancor comes less than a week before the Aug. 24 Republican runoff election between Calvey and Lankford for the Congressional 5th District.

“It’s interesting that in the pattern of deception that he has that he also draws in The Edmond Sun and sends out to thousands of Republicans a false statement that he invented, just like he invented my attack on him,” Lankford told The Edmond Sun.

The front of the card states that Lankford went negative on March 9.

A paragraph on the card provides false attribution to The Edmond Sun by stating: “Kevin Calvey has prosecuted more than a hundred al Qaeda terrorists while fighting for our freedom. He’ll fight for our safety even when political opponents like James Lankford falsely accuse him of bias. Lankford is either very naive about terrorism, or he is just another politician desperate to score points against Calvey. Either way, James Lankford is not ready to serve in Congress.”

The card claims The Sun is the source for this statement attributed to March 9. The newspaper’s logo under copyright by CNHI accompanies the attribution.

“We as a company do not have a problem when persons pull quotes from articles that we have reported in our newspaper and attribute them to us when they are verbatim. What we report becomes part of the public record,” said Steve Paterson, Edmond Sun publisher. “We as a company do have a problem, when they are used out of context and used to make a point or argument, which is not based on the information reported.

“What Mr. Calvey’s campaign has done is just that in two different incidences. They have structured quotes from our newspaper and interlaced their comments and thoughts then placed it on the postcard in such a way as to purport that this was a report made by The Edmond Sun. One has to just look at the dates the articles were published and review the stories to see that what was printed on the postcards is not what was published in our newspaper,” Paterson said.

“We want to assure our readers who will be voting in the Republican runoff that these were not quotes from this newspaper and do not in anyway reflect the opinion of this newspaper. We encourage our readers who will be participating in the Republican runoff to examine all the facts about the two candidates before they enter the polls,” he said. “One more thing I want to be totally clear on, we have never said in print that James Lankford is not ready to serve in Congress. That decision is made by individuals expressing their freedom to vote at the polls. They will always be the ones who will make that determination.”

The Sun attempted to get a direct comment Wednesday morning from Calvey on the issue but was deferred to Trebor Worthen of the Calvey campaign after The Sun left a message on Calvey’s cell phone.

“We certainly did not intend to attribute any quotes to The Edmond Sun that are not attributable to The Edmond Sun,” Worthen said Wednesday.

Worthen said the March 9 Edmond Sun reference included in the Calvey campaign mail piece was about Lankford attacking Calvey for political posturing regarding what Calvey  has characterized as an Islamic extremist group.

Lankford said his own campaign always has been positive and disputed Calvey’s assertion that Calvey’s military service had been ridiculed by Lankford. He said Calvey left his private law practice for a year to honorably serve his country in Iraq.

Calvey was commissioned as an officer in the Army National Guard in 2003, shortly after the start of the Iraq War. Calvey volunteered to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom from January 2007 to January 2008.

“He sent out a letter to all Republicans in the entire area, Shawnee, Seminole, Oklahoma and Powtawatomie County telling them that The Edmond Sun is dead set against me and they (The Sun) think I’m not ready to serve in Congress — when he invented that,” Lankford said.

The campaign card further reports that Lankford labeled Calvey as a “biased,” decorated Iraq War veteran. A March 9 Edmond Sun news story is used as a source to decry Lankford’s comments on Calvey’s opposition to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Excerpts from the March 9 story appearing on the Calvey campaign card are taken from the story out of context by Calvey’s campaign, Lankford said.

The Sun reported that Calvey denounced CAIR. Calvey had cited government court cases and documents to assert that CAIR is a hate group tied to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The FBI has suspended its formal partnership with CAIR, which the FBI says has failed to answer questions about a connection between its national executives and Hamas. Calvey had said he would not meet with the faith-based group until the leader of the local chapter denounces it.

Calvey’s card attributes to The Sun: “James Lankford said that Calvey’s concerns, which were specific about CAIR, painted ‘all Muslims and Muslim groups with a single, biased broad brush.’ James Lankford attacked Calvey, saying that he should understand ‘that all Americans have the right to free speech’ and free religion and accused Calvey of ‘political posturing.’”

In the March 9 article, Lankford said while he has a deep concern about Muslim extremism around the globe, he (Lankford) cannot paint all Muslims and Muslim groups with a single, biased, broad brush.

The Sun reported on March 9 that Lankford said Calvey’s experience as a lawyer places him in a position to understand that all Americans have the right to free speech and the right to practice the faith of their choice. Lankford said he is a Christian, and he hopes that every person on earth finds the hope and peace that he has found in Christ.

“But I’m committed to a free society where individuals can choose any faith or no faith,” Lankford said in the article. “I also believe that we must have zero tolerance against any Muslim, eco-terrorist or any other terrorism that seeks to threaten or attack us.”

Support from Edmond Republicans helped to boost Lankford to an Aug. 24 runoff with Calvey. Registered voters from the 28 precincts within Edmond city limits cast 3,897 votes for Lankford in the Republican primary election July 27, while Calvey received 3,217 votes, according to the Oklahoma County Election Board.

Lankford received 18,755 votes, or 33.58 percent of the total vote count, according to the state Election Board. Calvey received 18,143 votes, or 32.48 percent of the total vote July 27. It takes 50 percent or more to outright win the primary. The winner of Aug. 24 primary runoff election will move ahead to the Nov. 2 general election as the Republican nominee.

Democrat Billy Coyle and two Independents, Dave White of Deer Creek and Clark Duffe of Edmond, also will be on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

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