When it comes to the stadium scam, there are few things worse than the local media cheerleading the rich guys and urging local governments to spend hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to make sports teams happy. This would be worse: the Las Vegas Review-Journal, recently purchased by hands-on billionaire Sheldon Adelson, has been gingerly covering Adelson’s plan to get a Las Vegas stadium built for the Raiders, and the paper has reportedly made edits and even killed one story outright that would have portrayed the plan in anything less than glowing terms.
Politico has an insanely depressing story today on Adelson gradually exercising editorial control of the Review-Journal, which he purchased (in attempted secrecy) in December. Since then, there have been a growing number of edits favorable to Adelson’s interests, a proposed stadium deal featuring private investors led by Adelson’s Sands Corp., and a “significant” amount of public money.
The edits were overseen by Craig Moon, Adelson’s handpicked publisher.
The Review-Journal reported that Adelson had met with the ownership of Oakland Raiders football team, hoping to lure them to Las Vegas and into a new “public/private”-funded $1 billion domed stadium.
The new publisher has reviewed each stadium story since, and the stories have seen numerous Moon-directed edits, several sources confirm. Those edits include removing key points of fact on what may turn out to become a $600 million-plus public investment in a football stadium. At least one stadium story was killed, as well, my sources confirm.
The stadium scam is stacked against the public to begin with. They’re presented with fantasy economic projections that never end up coming true. Local politicians push financing deals through because they know they won’t be around when it comes time to pay the piper. The local media, at least, ought to be the voice of reason, and of facts. Those facts would properly portray a Las Vegas football stadium as a horrible deal for taxpayers. Because Sheldon Adelson stands to profit from a stadium, he’s making sure his newspaper doesn’t print those facts.
If you work at the Review-Journal: I’m sorry, this all really, really sucks for you guys. We’d love to hear about how your stadium coverage is being messed with. Drop me a line.
Update (7:15 p.m.): Interim editor Glenn Cook sends along the following response, denying that any stories have been killed:
Since I was appointed interim editor of the Review-Journal on Jan. 6, no story about the Adelsons or Las Vegas Sands Corp. has been killed. A story that examined the Las Vegas Sands stadium proposal, which was posted to our website last night and ran on Page A1 today, had been held.