Editor For Adelson-Owned Paper Says Columnist Can’t Write About Adelson

AP

The new editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reportedly told a room of journalists this weekend that a longtime columnist for the newspaper won’t be able to write about its owner, GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson.

Political reporter Jon Ralston flagged that Review-Journal editor Keith Moyer made the comment about columnist John L. Smith on Saturday at a Society of Professional Journalists meeting. Here’s an account of what Moyer said from Review-Journal reporter Pashtana Usufzy:

Smith writes a column about Las Vegas four days a week on topics that range from human interest to politics, according to his staff biography. That has often included writing about Adelson, an influential figure in Sin City who comes from a family of casino owners that secretly purchased the Review-Journal in December.

Smith also previously wrote about how Adelson had sued him “into bankruptcy” over a book he published in 2005 before ultimately agreeing to dismiss the lawsuit.

It’s unclear whether Moyer’s decision to bar Smith from writing about Adelson stemmed from that lawsuit. Neither he nor Smith immediately returned TPM’s requests for comment on Monday.

Moyer joined the Review-Journal in February. His predecessor, Mike Hengel, resigned just days after the Review-Journal assured readers in a front-page editorial that it would maintain its independence from Adelson and keep its reporting fair and balanced.

After Adelson’s acquisition, Smith wrote a column that referenced the casino owner’s suit against him and argued the businessman was the “wrong person” to own the Review-Journal “or any newspaper.”

“Sheldon Adelson can buy the newspaper. It’s his right. For a man of his means, that’s the easy part. And the family deserves the chance to make good on its stated intentions,” Smith wrote at the time. “But Adelson can’t purchase the credibility of an independent press. That has to be earned every day on the street by reporters, columnists and editors who must be able to throw elbows without fear or favor—even at the new boss.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Jerde is a newswriter based in New York. Her bylines have appeared in The Star-Ledger, The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Columbus Dispatch. She graduated from Ohio University. Send emails to sara@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow her @SaraJerde.
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