The (Numbers-Hating, Tea Party-Endorsing) Las Vegas Review-Journal: Possibly the Worst Major Metro Newspaper in America


Being from Las Vegas, Nevada, this blogger takes a special interest in both the news and the news reporting of that city, both of which are getting much, much much worse by the day.

It was especially disheartening to see this weekend’s sad (but true) filing in the New York Times on the economic hardships facing Las Vegas, which leads the country in unemployment and home foreclosures (for the 44th month in a row, no less). Just as if not equally depressing has been watching the largest (and only, really) newspaper in Las Vegas, the Review-Journal, go to the proverbial dogs. Most recently, they released an attention-hungry op-ed filled with the kind of sad, cognitive dissonance that only hinders efforts to climb out of the kind of recession Vegas is in.

To be clear: Vegas is fucked right now, and is a shell of the city it was only three years ago. It needs all the business it can get, and it also needs honest assessments of where it is as to not further the issues plaguing it, which is clearly where Review-Journal columnist Doug Elfman’s interest’s lie, not rebutting reporter — keyword: reporter — Adam Nagourney’s facts, but his premise, which doesn’t involve facts, apparently. Via Hamilton Nolan at Gawker, this is actually what Doug Elfman wrote:

And what did you do, Adam Nagourney? You sat on your brains and peed on us. To the New York Times: Journalists in Las Vegas have said for years, “The New York Times hates Vegas.” Thanks for not disappointing us with another parachute hit piece. I would also like to remind everyone that, in the 1970s, journalists tried to paint New York as a doomed shell of yuck. And after Hurricane Katrina, national journalists questioned whether New Orleans should even exist. But look at New Orleans now, rebuilding.

National Journalists? Like who, Jerry Falwell? Clearly, Elfman’s premise of “right,” “wrong,” and “journalism” is skewed, but then again, problems comprehending these issues at-large from the top of the LVRJ are legion. This is a paper who — after being busted fudging circulation numbers — have gone after the only people more broke than them (bloggers) for copyright infringement, because that’s where the money is these days. They also, hysterically, filed a copyright suit against Tea-Party Senate candidate Sharron Angle, and then proceeded to give her their editorial board’s endorsement (naturally, without disclosing anything about said lawsuit). Example:

For the past two years, Sen. Reid has been a water boy for the Obama White House, which is pushing perhaps the most radical liberal agenda in the country’s history.

Not the best way to keep the “black guys are athletes and you’re just a white waterboy” imagery in subtle territory, Review-Journal! Not that — given Angle’s paranoia-politicking accusation of “domestic enemies” within congress, or the aforementioned Elfman column, or their fascist copyright policies — they have a problem with psychotic rhetoric at the RJ. But the citizens of Las Vegas, who are sad, desperate, and broke? They deserve and need a press (and one larger than the small, saving grace that is the Journal-owned Las Vegas Sun) that does have a problem with those voices. Hopefully, they’ll make that decision for themselves.

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