Editor: Columnist can't write about Adelson at Adelson News

UPDATED, 4/26/16, 12:30 PM: John L. Smith has resigned from the paper, which was inevitable, I suppose. He left behind a short letter, saying he can "no longer remain employed" at the RJ because of "recent events," an obvious allusion to Editor Keith Moyer's gag orders.

I talked briefly to Smith last night and this morning. He knew it was "impossible" to do his job after the Adelson stooge's edict. Moyer had a choice: Let Smith write columns with full disclosure or set a standard that anyone can sue his reporters to shut them up. After the way he has played stories involving Adelson, on his stadium and his company's earnings, Moyer's true colors already were known.

On a personal note, Smith and I have had differences over the years, some quite severe. But I can't help but admire his decision to leave, especially with his well-known need for health insurance for his daughter and himself, both of who have had serious illnesses. It took courage, something lacking in the management shills now posing as journalists over there.

I doubt most of the reporters there, some of them great, young journalists with bright futures, will stay much longer. How can they?

Meanwhile, several sources have confirmed that reporter Pashtana Usufzy was dressed down and reduced to tears Monday by Moyer. Why? Because she had the temerity to Periscope a public meeting of journalists Saturday where he revealed the ban on Smith writing about Sheldon Adelson and made the risible claim that he hopes to win a Pulitzer. A public meeting!

Sounds as if Sheldon found the right guy for the job.

UPDATED, 4/26/16, 7 AM: The editor most beloved by reporters, Jim Wright, is leaving to take a fellowship at the University of Michigan. His topic is almost a middle finger to Sheldon Adelson, although surely not intended as such: “How mega-donors in U.S. politics influence U.S. foreign policy.” 

UPDATED, 4/25/16, 2:40 PM:

I am told by mulitple sources that Moyer told Smith today that he also could not write about Steve Wynn. This comes after Smith has written several columns lately about the legal dispute between Wynn and his ex-wife, Elaine. 

Moyer claimed Saturday not to know that Steve Wynn filed suit after Smith wrote a critical book about him. Moyer and Smith apparently had a heated conversation in the newsroom.

Neither Moyer nor Smith returned attempts for comment.


Las Vegas Review-Journal Editor Keith Moyer said over the weekend that longtime columnist John L. Smith will be prohibited from writing about Sheldon Adelson, who owns the newspaper and once sued the journalist into bankruptcy.

"As long as I'm editor, John won't write about Sheldon Adelson," Moyer told a meeting of the Society of Professional Journalists Saturday that was live-tweeted by several reporters who were there. (UPDATED: Some inside sources say Smith actually has been banned since Craig Moon, the publisher, took his job in late January. But Saturday was the first time the news was made public.)

Moyer, a former publisher of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, was named editor of the RJ in February. Smith had been writing about Adelson until then, inlcuding about the Las Vegas Sands chairman's purchase of the RJ, extensively covered by other journalists there, too.

It immediately occurred to me that Smith has been allowed to write about Steve Wynn, who, coincidentally, does not own the newspaper but also sued after Smith wrote a book about him. I tweeted about it, as did Smith:





























Pashtana Usufzy, an RJ reporter who was live-tweeting the meeting, followed up with Moyer about Wynn.














What a surprise.

No one would argue Smith should disclose the lawsuits if he writes about these public figures. But to bar him from writing about either man?

Is the standard now that if you sue a reporter at the RJ, that is a method to kill coverage? Really?

And speaking of standards, how is it a conflict for a columnist sued by Adelson to write about him and his interests but not a conflict for a newspaper owned by Adelson to promote his interests (i.e. a publicly financed stadium)? Do tell, Mr. Moyer.

Other Review-Journal reporters quickly weighed in as did recently departed Howard Stutz, widely believed to have left because of editorial interference on his gaming stories in The Moyer Era.














Moyer also talked about how Adelson's ownership will provide a "long haul period of stabilization" and wants to be known as the best paper in the West and win a Pulitzer, according to reporters who tweeted about the speech. I see he's a comedian as well as as an "editor."

I had a suggestion for him:














This performance by Moyer comes only days after The Adelson News buried a story about a terrible earnings report for the paper's owner. Yes, I'm sure the Pulitizer committee has all eyes on Moyer's paper these days.

The saddest part of this ongoing, sordid story about the decline of this once-mediocre paper is that it has some very fine young reporters who are doing exceptional work. But my guess is this is the tip of the iceberg on what is happening there, and I can't believe that Stutz will be the last to leave.











































































It makes me sick and I am canceling my subscription.