A newspaper that will be fair, unbiased and accurate?

We are definitely inside the rabbit hole now.

Both Las Vegas “newspapers” today are reporting that the man who announced the sale of the Las Vegas Review-Journal to a new company called News + Media may be the pseudonymous writer of a lengthy article in a small Connecticut newspaper that criticized a Clark County judge who is handling a civil case involving casino owner Sheldon Adelson, the once secret money behind the newspaper purchase.

I said it was a rabbit hole. The swirl of ethical mishops is enough to boggle the mind.

Michael Schroeder, AKA Edward Clarkin? (R-J photo)

The R-J links Michael E. Schroeder, the man described as manager of News + Media Capital Group when the purchase was announced, as the probable person behind the Edward Clarkin byline on the aforementioned article.

The brief story reports that Schroeder’s middle name is Edward, and California marriage records show his father, Clarence J. Schroeder, married Karen A. Clarkin in 1957. Schroeder was born in the following year, the paper says.

Meanwhile, back in the Las Vegas Sun insert, a lengthy story on this topic recounts that “there is compelling circumstantial evidence that ‘Edward Clarkin’ is a pseudonym used by Schroeder. The publisher’s middle name is Edward, and his Facebook page at one time identified his mother as Karen Clarkin Carey. That reference was removed from the page, but the Facebook page for Karen Clarkin Carey contained a photo of Carey with Schroeder.”

Also, the Clarkin byline has shown up at various publications where Schroeder worked.

Both the R-J and Sun recount allegations in a Connecticut newspaper that sources quoted in the judge story never were contacted about the story and several passages were nearly identical to previously published reports.

What makes the Clarkin tale doubly dubious is that weeks before the R-J was purchased three of its reporters were assigned to shadow three judges for two weeks and report on their activity. One of those judges was Elizabeth Gonzalez, who is presiding over an Adelson lawsuit and who has fined his company failing to disclose evidence.

No story was ever published and no one in the newsroom was told who picked Gonzalez for scrutiny or why.

The Sun reports, “Mark Fabiani, a San Diego attorney retained by the new owners in the days after the sale, said Wednesday that Schroeder would not have a management role. He was retained as an adviser during the purchase and helped conduct due diligence, Fabiani said.”

Then on Wednesday the R-J published a front-page missive under the hed “A message from the new owners about the future of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,” which pledged to publish “a newspaper that is fair, unbiased and accurate.”

There was a short sidebar announcing that editor Michael Hengel had accepted a buyout that said, “Hengel described his decision to leave as ‘mutual’ and said he did not believe he was forced out.”

However, the Los Angeles Times reports today in a lengthy article on the shenanigans at the R-J that in a Wednesday interview Hengel told them he first learned of his acceptance of the buyout when someone from the paper read the editorial to him over the telephone Tuesday night. That was at the same time he received an email with a formal offer, the Times said, though there is a photo online purportedly showing Hengel announcing his departure after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Los Angeles paper also recounted how business reporter Jennifer Robison, “a diminutive 10-year veteran who had won awards for exposing the state’s faulty healthcare website,” recalled what happened when the sale of the paper was announced.

“They look like they were registered just to buy us,” Robison whispered to business reporter Howard Stutz, the Times reports.

“Stutz leaned over and whispered back one word: ‘Sheldon.’”

In a story posted online Wednesday, The New York Times quotes Hengel as saying concerns about potential conflicts of interest with Adelson’s ownership factored into his decision to accept the buyout offer — like there was a choice? “I’m not sure what their plans were and how I fit into them,” he told the other coast Times. “So when I got presented an offer based on what I knew the situation was, I had to determine whether it was acceptable or not. And for me and my family, it was.”

The NY Times went on to say that 15 employees have accepted “voluntary buyout offers,” according to a source, though several reporters told the paper they were aware of only one person besides Hengel who had accepted a buyout. Some of those other buyouts might not have been in the newsroom.

In a Sunday column under the hed “Adelson has chance to prove doubters wrong,” John L. Smith, who was sued into bankruptcy by Adelson before prevailing in a libel suit over a passage in a book about casino executives, said:

“Adelson has every right, and certainly the bankroll, to buy this newspaper. In theory, at least, a local ownership group might bring an improved sensitivity to the needs of the community in one of America’s most complex company towns.

“But Adelson is precisely the wrong person to own this or any newspaper. His disdain for the working press and its prickly processes is palpable — and easily illustrated by his well-known litigiousness.”

Now, about that promise to be fair, unbiased and accurate?

Michael Hengel announces he has accepted buyout offer. (R-J photo)

 

 

 

Advertisements

34 comments on “A newspaper that will be fair, unbiased and accurate?

  1. Nyp says:

    What would you have done to one of your reporters if you had caught him or her plagiarizing other stories?

  2. Steve says:

    If you were approached to be the editor at this point, I bet you would laugh in their faces.

  3. Steve says:

    How would an editor fire the owners representative, even if it could be proven the story in question was written by that person?

    The RJ is in trouble.

  4. Patrick says:

    I wonder if Adelson’s actions leave you a bit torn Thomas? I mean, obviously as a libertarian you’d defend his “right” to buy the paper, and to operate it as he sees fit right?

    So, since that’s what he seems to be doing, and further since I gauge some disgust at least, from you with regard to his actions, I’m wondering where that comes from?

  5. He has every right to buy the paper and run it as he sees fit. And people have every right to watch him like a hawk and squawk if he behaves in certain ways.

  6. Steve says:

    I think, Patrick, the disgust you correctly describe comes from numerous decades of keeping opinion well separated from news.
    The people who ran the RJ for 30 years did an exemplary job on that front. The Las Vegas Sun succumbed to mixing the sections long ago. Don’t believe me? Ask Jon Ralston.
    We see the result daily in the middle of the RJ.

  7. Nyp says:

    It really isn’t a political or ideological issue so much as one of basic ethics and journalistic standards.

  8. Patrick says:

    Steve, as a long time reader of the Review Journal I disagree.

    The newspaper is, and was always, a place where the biases of the owners and publishers and editors was obvious. And it was not limited to the editorial pages.

    Decisions about what stories to place where are part and parcel of editorial decision making and even if (which is to say this is not how it happened at the RJ) the stories were written TOTALLY without bias, the choice of which subjects were being covered was a tell regarding the political philosophy of the editor and publisher.

    Even photographs used (say of Senator Reid as an example during his run against Sharoon Angle) were, dare I say, “specially selected” to cast the former Senate Majority Leader in a less than favorable light. The fact that you may have agreed with these efforts, doesn’t change what they were.

  9. Steve says:

    Funny, no opinion from Patrick on the Sun….

    I remain certain in my opinion on the old RJ leadership’s ability to keep opinion separate from news.
    Especially in comparison to the only other main source for printed news over the lat 35 years I have been living here.

  10. Patrick says:

    Didn’t read the Sun much. Liked the sports page some, but otherwise my family always subscribed to the RJ.

    Always thought it was a good paper too. Wasn’t until I left town, came back, had something real to compare it to, (mostly the LA Times) that it noticed how slanted it really was. Propaganda is always that way though; when your used to only hearing from one media, who’s to know that it’s the company line day after day?

    But, that’s what it was then, and is today.

    But to this day, one of the things my parents still love about coming back to Las Vegas, after being back in small MidWest town for a while, is being able to read a “real” newspaper. And they love the RJ.

  11. Steve says:

    That explains a lot, Patrick.

    I came from Massachusetts.
    At first, I read both papers here and compared them to the Globe and the Middlesex News (now the MetroWest Daily News). Even back in the early 1980’s it was obvious to me the Sun was sliding down a hole and trying to attract readers by hyping much of their news articles and the editorials….just wow.
    The RJ stood well against to the Globe considering the small town nature of Las Vegas at the time. That situation only improved as the town and the RJ both grew.
    Since you have only the LA Times for comparison and really never read the Sun you have not given the community a fair shake out. Too late now. The Sun is hopelessly biased and opinionated from front to back. If old Hank were alive he would be smacking Brian silly.

    All local news outlets are, ultimately, influenced by their readers and Nevada is a wild west region to this day. Even as Southern Nevada has grown threefold since my arrival, it’s still wide open in comparison to New England. Even the Southern California population is not as concentrated as the place I grew up.

    With Adeleson, the readers don’t matter. He has plenty of money to keep printing whatever he likes and that is already showing up.
    With the old leadership, the paper had to make a profit, so readers were important. Readers set the standard and the paper followed it within the ethics of their profession. They did a good job and your parents recognized it. After all, they could have decided to get the Las Vegas Sun……but they didn’t. And they still don’t.

  12. Patrick says:

    Crapola.

    This newspaper didn’t let the readers decide their editorial policy otherwise they’d have been running constant articles that favored Senator Reid from the day he was first elected, up nail maybe a few (very few) years ago during a time when the Senator demonstrated how popular he was with this state by winning election after election, with sometimes large majorities even during elections when republicans were winning other races and the state was far more blue then purple.

    No Steve, this newspaper was a tool of a truly right wing owner, that retained others of like mind to put “news” in front the citizenry that reflected that perspective.

  13. Sometimes the bias in the perspective of the reader, not the bias of the newspaper.

    The explanation for why so many can observe the same event and reach different conclusions is outlined in my general theory of political relativity.

    No observer is stationary. All are themselves in motion at different velocities, in different directions along the political spectrum from red to blue.

    The theory goes something like this (e=mc²): The energy of one’s convictions equals the mass of one’s deductions times the speed of insight squared. Explosive.

  14. Steve says:

    Patrick, Harry Reid split the electorate almost 50/50 in every cycle. His margins were in no way even “sometimes large majorities”…they are all very close.
    The paper most certainly reflected that in the news. The opinion section is exactly that, opinion. And the RJ regularly ran LTE’s from opposing viewpoints.

    Again you are trying to make the RJ into the LA Times, that simply will not work because this is not LA.

  15. Patrick says:

    I agree. Merry Christmas to us all.

  16. Patrick says:

    I agree with Thomas, and of course, I disagree with Steve. But still Merry Christmas to is all.

    And the RJ never reflected anything but an adverse bias to senator Reid (and other “liberals” and “progressive ideas/ideals”. As it continues to do, to this day.

  17. Patrick says:

    I’ll accept that as an admission Steve and I’ll add one more thing; biases being what they are, and editors and publishers being human, it is IMPOSSIBLE, for any editor or publisher, to totally separate their biases from bleeding over from the editorial page to the “news” pages.

    As I said, editors decide which stories to cover on the news pages, and that selection process will ALWAYS be affected by the biases of the editor and publisher.

    As it was for the RJ.

  18. Steve says:

    Figures…

    I admit Reid won elections by splitting the state nearly 50/50

    The RJ opinion pages reflected that split.

    Moreover, those pages reflected his ranking in opinion polls.

  19. Liberal reporters and conservative editors … might balance out in the long run.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Steve you must have missed Senator Reid’s path of destruction through so many of his races. Strange that this information was contained in the link you supplied. In fact, most of his races resulted in a greater than 8% victory margin (and some, including a senate race against Richard Ziser) Reid prevailed by more than 20% points. And the RJ pages were consistently running articles that casted the Senator in an unfavorable light (along with pictures that did likewise).

    Heck, in his last race against Sharoon Angle I remember a puff piece, ran on the “news” pages that painted this crazy woman as a cookie baking, church going mom, who fought the power her entire life, and was a “fighter” for the good people of this state.

    Strangely enough, I don’t remember any similar “feel good” “news” articles about Senator Reid during that hard fought (and yes dominating) victory,

  21. Steve says:

    You erroneously include the primaries in your figures.

    The general elections are what show how Reid divided the electorate just about 50/50 in several he took the seat with far less than 50% of the vote. Reid was (and is) a divider.

    The RJ showed that very clearly, even during the Angle race.
    On the other hand, Brian Greenspun couldn’t find anything less than perfection in Reid,,,ever…to this day.

    Anon, the biased paper in this town is the Las Vegas Sun.

  22. Patrick says:

    Steve I didn’t erroneously include anything. Reid DOMINATED his races, for the most part. Wins ranging between more than 25% and more than 10% are huge.

    Against Cavnar Reid wins by 15% points
    Against Cavnar II Reid wins by 14%

    Against Dahl Reid wins by 11%
    Against Ziser Reid wins by 25%
    Against Sharoon Reid won by 6% which in that environment, with the full weight of the RJ and the national GOP aligned against him is dominating.

    And please Steve, save the RJ was unbiased stuff for some right wing friend.

  23. Steve says:

    In general elections, Reid ran a total of eleven times.

    You pick 5 of those.

    It remains as I say, Reid is a divider who’s average is 50/50 and the RJ clearly pointed these facts out at the time while the Sun insisted Reid is what you say…..
    For one who claims to not read the Sun, you sure parrot it’s positions.

  24. Steve says:

    Clarification, General and non partisan elections.

  25. Steve says:

    The Dahl example is more of your obfuscation. Reid took 51% of the vote. And in that primary (where the only people allowed to cast are Democrats, he took 52%)

    Divisive is the only description that fits Harry Reid.
    And it was his intention, no less.

  26. Patrick says:

    Steve this is you being…well, Stevtarded again. You claimed that Reid “split the vote 50 50 in almost every election and never had substantial victories. The record demonstrates repeatedly that Reid won large victories in most of his elections.

    And you return to repeat the nonsense you stated the first time; like you never learn anything.

  27. Steve says:

    Beating the nearest opponent is not a large dominating win…56% of the total vote is a good start on that road. Taking 60% of the total vote is a dominating win. It also is a uniting vote.

    Dividing the electorate is taking near 50% of the vote, which is what Reid did most of the time.

    You are showing your myopic political view, Patrick

    And words are still not sticks or stones.

  28. […] December: We are definitely inside the rabbit hole now. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s