I always hated being scooped. Even when I worked for an afternoon paper and the competition was a bigger morning paper with more reporters and resources and clout and a bigger window of opportunity for breaking news, I wanted to get it first, be more thorough, find an exclusive, uncover a different angle, something fresh. You know, news!
So it prompted pangs of sympathy and angst for the writers and editors at the morning newspaper when I noticed in today’s Viewpoints section an op-ed piece with the byline of Sheldon G. Adelson with a credit line from the Washington Post.
Adleson, the new owner of the newspaper, had the insolence to affront his own employees by penning a piece endorsing the candidacy of Donald Trump for another newspaper. Perhaps WaPo is not really the competition for the Review-Journal, but it is still sucking hind teat.
The endorsement of Trump by the owner of the Las Vegas Sands, the biggest GOP political donor during the last presidential campaign season was pretty big news.
On May 13, the day the Washington paper carried the endorsement, there was a story about it on The Daily Caller website, on the Washington Examiner website, on the website of a local TV station and The Wall Street Journal posted a blog.
The LA Times posted a story the next day with a headline saying: “Mega donor Sheldon Adelson backs Donald Trump.”
Also, on May 14, the R-J carried an Associated Press generic story about the Trump campaign seeking money from big donors. It had a paragraph buried far down on the jump: “Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson, who was the largest donor of the 2012 presidential race, wrote in a Washington Post editorial this week that he endorses Trump and is urging ‘those who provide important financial backing’ to do the same.”
Actually, Adelson gave The New York Times the scoop back on May 5, and that paper posted it online that day with the headline: “Sheldon Adelson Says He Will Support Donald Trump.”
Meanwhile, on that same day someone at the R-J cobbled together a 168-word brief from various wire service reports and posted it online with the headline: “Sheldon Adelson says he’ll support Donald Trump.”
But the next day, the print paper Adelson owns just ran an AP story with an item buried on the jump with a subhed reading, “Adelson says he’ll support Trump.” It noted:
“Yes, I’m a Republican, he’s a Republican,” Adelson said in a brief interview with the New York Times. “He’s our nominee. Whoever the nominee would turn out to be, any one of the 17 — he was one of the 17. He won fair and square.”
Adelson made the comments while at a gala dinner in Manhattan for the World Values Network, a Jewish organization.
On May 18, the R-J carried an AP story inside the A section saying Adelson was urging Jewish leaders to back Trump. Now Adelson is trying to arrange a junket to Israel for Trump.
Of course, there is the damned if do and damned if you don’t conundrum.
If the paper had carried a big banner story on the big news that Adelson had endorsed Trump, it would have looked like he was using the paper to further his political agenda.
Looks sad either way, though. You can’t win when the owner is big news and you have to cover the big news objectively. You see, there is a banner front page story today about the stadium Adelson wants to build with public financing.