Today’s banner story in the Las Vegas newspaper about its own reporters being assigned to closely watch a judge who is presiding over a case involving the paper’s new owner is probably a bit inside baseball for most readers and has a bit of a hole — who made the assignment and why.
The story says three unnamed reporters were told to cover three judges for two weeks but what they recorded was never reported. One of the judges was Elizabeth Gonzalez, who is handling a civil case involving Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, who recently bought the Review-Journal for $140 million.
The assignment to monitor judges came from corporate headquarters at GateHouse Media through R-J Publisher Jason Taylor, we are told, but Gonzalez was selected at the R-J — though not within the newsroom. Kind of puts a kink in the story or raises questions about someone’s veracity, though numerous other coincidences outlined in the story seem to adequately connect the dots.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the lengthy and convoluted tale was a quote from the head of the newspaper group ownership and is contained in this passage:
Whether there was a link between the GateHouse-ordered court monitoring assignment, the critical article in New Britain and the sale of the RJ to the Adelson family remains unclear.
Michael Reed, CEO of New Media Investment Corp., the parent company of GateHouse Media, declined to comment when asked whether Adelson was involved in the court monitoring directive. He said the effort was part of a “multistate, multinewsroom” investigative effort initiated by GateHouse, but said he did not know who started it or how it was approved.
“I don’t know why you’re trying to create a story where there isn’t one,” Reed told an RJ reporter on Wednesday. “I would be focusing on the positive, not the negative.”
In a later interview with The Associated Press, Reed rejected the notion that the Review-Journal’s integrity had been challenged by the secrecy surrounding its sale. He said the public didn’t care about the buyer and that reporters pushed the story with the intention of creating controversy.
“I just wish reporters had better hearts and better intentions than just trying to slam media companies trying to do good,” he said.
Taylor has said he has been assured by the Adelsons that they won’t meddle in the editorial content of the newspaper.
Positive, not negative? Integrity not challenged by secret ownership? Public doesn’t care? Creating controversy? Won’t meddle?
What planet is this guy from?