Las Vegas Review-Journal

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  • Las Vegas Review-Journal Smears Planned Parenthood Over Birth Control Access


    During a recent appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said birth control “should not be done by prescription.” A subsequent editorial by the Las Vegas Review-Journal used Trump’s remarks to falsely claim that Planned Parenthood is “the biggest obstacle” to “the availability of and access to birth control for women,” ignoring both media and medical groups’ concern that selling birth control over the counter could make it less affordable and accessible if health insurance does not continue to cover the cost.

  • Four Ways Media Attack Organized Labor

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    As Labor Day approaches, Media Matters looks back at how media have attacked organized labor over the past year. In the midst of several important battles for labor unions in 2016, media have often pushed misleading information about union membership and fees, attempted to delegitimize the votes of union members, uncritically cited and elevated voices from anti-union dark-money groups without proper disclosure, and claimed that teachers unions’ activism shows that educators do not care about what’s best for their students.

  • Giuliani Peddles Repeated Right-Wing Media Lie That There Were No Post-9/11 Terror Attacks Under Bush

    ››› ››› NINA MAST

    Former New York City mayor and Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani falsely claimed that in the “eight years before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States,” pushing a false right-wing media narrative that there were no terror attacks during the Bush administration.

  • Ryan's "Better Way" Poverty Plan Is Based On Myths From Right-Wing Media

    ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the Republican-led Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility released the GOP’s latest policy plan to cut government anti-poverty assistance programs. Many of the arguments in favor of Ryan’s proposed reforms are based on easily debunked right-wing media myths and poor-shaming. Ryan’s rhetoric in this poverty “reform” agenda -- titled “A Better Way to Fight Poverty” -- is gentler than in his previous policy proposals. But his plans are still based on myths, and his solutions once again are focused on gutting vital programs designed to assist Americans struggling to make ends meet and families in need.

  • Review-Journal Drums Up College Debt Myths To Blame Borrowers For Student Debt Crisis

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    An editorial published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal insisted that student debt is “manageable for most students” and recycled previously debunked conservative talking points to fault student loan forgiveness programs and federal aid for America’s college debt crisis. The paper also echoed right-wing myths to argue that tuition “costs inevitably go up” in response to low-interest federal loans and dismiss progressive concerns about for-profit schools.

  • Inside The Fossil Fuel Industry's Media Strategy To Drill And Mine On Public Lands

    ››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS

    A handful of fossil fuel industry front groups are engineering media campaigns aimed at persuading the public that the federal government should relinquish control of public lands to western states, claiming it would benefit the states economically. But evidence actually suggests that these land transfers would harm state economies, and the industry front groups are hiding their true motivation: opening up more public lands to oil drilling and coal mining while sidestepping federal environmental laws.

  • Myths & Facts: The Gender Pay Gap And Need For Equal Pay

    Right-Wing Media Still Refuse To Acknowledge The Gender Pay Gap


    Equal Pay Day “symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year,” according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. Despite efforts toward equitable pay in the United States over the past several decades, American women still face a considerable gap in pay when compared to their male counterparts. Rather than acknowledging the overwhelming evidence that American women are still paid less than men for the same work, conservative media have promoted myths and misinformation that obscure the truth about pay disparities.

  • Las Vegas Review-Journal Twists Exxon Climate Change Deception Allegations

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    UPDATE (3/16/16): The Wall Street Journal editorial board has one-upped the Review-Journal in egregiously distorting a potential federal investigation of Exxon and other oil companies for intentionally misleading shareholders and the public about climate change. In a March 15 editorial, the Journal falsely claimed that the Department of Justice may "throw people in jail for scientific skepticism," and managed to do so without ever uttering the words "Exxon" or "oil companies." A March 15 Washington Times op-ed by Southeastern Legal Foundation chief operating officer Todd Young also attacked the potential investigation without mentioning oil companies, falsely alleging that the investigation could broadly apply to "those who question human-caused climate change science," when it would actually examine evidence that oil companies knew of reality of climate change but publicly sowed doubt about climate science in order to protect their profits.


    In discussing a possible investigation into whether ExxonMobil deceived the public through a campaign to sow uncertainty about climate science research, the Las Vegas Review-Journal misstated the issue as one of beliefs: "The last time we checked, there was no crime in being skeptical of climate change." But the reason for a potential Department of Justice investigation is that evidence shows the company intentionally misled the public about the role fossil fuels play in climate change.

    The March 13 editorial takes issue with a proposed federal investigation into what Exxon knew about climate change from its research and what the company chose to do with that information. The Review-Journal disputes that Exxon could be in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) -- as charged by several House Democrats. The editorial misrepresents the alleged RICO violation, saying there "is no crime in being skeptical of climate change" and that an investigation would be "a trampling of [Exxon's] First Amendment rights" (emphasis added):

    As reported by Kate Sheppard of the Huffington Post, Reps. Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier, House Democrats from California who were persuaded by environmental groups' smear tactics, approached the Department of Justice last fall to look into whether ExxonMobil violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or any other federal laws. The company was allegedly "organizing a sustained deception campaign disputing climate science and failing to disclose truthful information to investors and the public."

    Rep. Lieu says he believes the company was working publicly to undermine climate science, and that its actions are on par with tobacco companies who were guilty of "lying to the American people" by denying the link between smoking and cancer in order "to better sell their product." Just as the DOJ used RICO law to prosecute tobacco companies in the late 1990s, Rep. Lieu says he would "would hope for a prosecution" of ExxonMobil if the facts warrant it.


    If the FBI decides to open an investigation, the move would be motivated entirely by political considerations. The last time we checked, there is no crime in being skeptical of climate change or advocating for policies that aid ExxonMobil's interests. An investigation would simply be Democrats and the environmental lobby seeking a big scalp.

    Furthermore, such an investigation is a trampling of First Amendment rights. ExxonMobil is under no obligation to worship at the altar of climate change, nor is any other company or individual. There is no constitutional rationale for punishing the company for its actions relating to dubious climate change claims, and the FBI shouldn't humor Democrats or environmental lobbyists any longer on this issue. There should be no further investigation.

    The case against Exxon would be based not on the company's "skepticism," but on whether Exxon violated the law. Sharon Eubanks -- a former U.S. attorney who helped prosecute a RICO case against Big Tobacco for its denial of the health risks of smoking -- told ThinkProgress that a similar RICO case could be made against Exxon for its role in misleading the public about its research on climate change:

    "The cigarette companies actively denied the harm of cigarette smoking, and concealed the results of what their own research developed," she said. "The motivation was money, and to avoid regulation."

    Based on the revelations about ExxonMobil, Eubanks said the Department of Justice should consider investigating whether similar collusion occurred among big fossil fuel companies and other high-carbon-emitting industries that would profit from climate denial.

    "It appears to me, based on what we know so far, that there was a concerted effort by Exxon and others to confuse the public on climate change," Eubanks said. "They were actively denying the impact of human-caused carbon emissions, even when their own research showed otherwise."

    Independent reports into Exxon's handling of its climate research reinforce Eubanks claim that there could be reason to investigate Exxon. The Pulitzer Prize-winning InsideClimate News published a six-part series detailing its eight-month investigation into what Exxon knew using "primary sources including internal company files dating back to the late 1970s [and] interviews with former company employees."

    InsideClimate's investigation showed that "Exxon confirmed global warming consensus in 1982 with in-house climate models." Despite the company's scientific confirmation of climate change and fossil fuels' role, Exxon "sowed doubt about climate science for decades by stressing uncertainty."

    The Los Angeles Times, in conjunction with the Energy and Environmental Reporting Project at Columbia University, came to similar conclusions surrounding what Exxon knew and how its subsequent cover-up deceived the public. The Times' reporting showed that the oil giant spent millions to raise questions about climate science, only to return to what it had learned in the '80s by admitting in 2007 that fossil fuels were playing a significant role in climate change:

    From 1998 to 2005, Exxon contributed almost $16 million to at least 43 organizations to wage a campaign raising questions about climate change, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental activist group. Greenpeace has estimated that Exxon spent more than $30 million in that effort.


    Today, the effect of climate change is widely accepted. Average global temperatures have risen approximately 1.5 degrees since 1880, and the sea level has risen at a rate of 0.06 of an inch per year and is accelerating. Moreover, Arctic sea ice coverage is shrinking so drastically that last August, National Geographic had to redraw its atlas maps.

    In 2007, the company, for the first time since the early 1980s, publicly conceded that climate change was occurring and that it was in large part the result of the burning of fossil fuels.

    "There was a fork in the road. They had the opportunity to make a decision to go one way or the other way," said Martin Hoffert, an Exxon consultant in the 1980s and professor emeritus of physics at New York University. "If Exxon had listened to its scientists and endorsed our research -- and not started that campaign -- it would have had, in my opinion, an enormous impact."

  • Las Vegas Review-Journal Revises History To Blame Joe Biden For Republicans' Supreme Court Obstructionism

    Blog ››› ››› DANIEL ANGSTER

    An editorial in the Las Vegas Review-Journal claimed Vice President Joe Biden is to blame for "bringing the [Supreme Court] nomination process to this partisan point" because of his role in opposing Ronald Reagan's 1987 nomination of the controversial judge Robert Bork. The paper neglected to mention any of the Republicans who also voted against Bork's nomination.

    The March 10 editorial highlighted a piece by Commentary editor Jonathan Tobin claiming that Biden and other Democrats' opposition to Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court was an example of the then-senator flip-flopping on partisan grounds to block a qualified candidate. They went on to claim that Bork's rejection caused today's partisanship over Supreme Court nominations:

    As Mr. Tobin points out, it was Mr. Biden who was arguably most responsible for bringing the nomination process to this partisan point in the first place -- and not because of his 1992 diatribe, but rather due to his efforts to squelch the nomination of Robert Bork in 1987, turning the name "Bork" into a verb in the process.

    Judge Bork was nominated in July 1987 by President Ronald Reagan to replace the retiring Lewis Powell. Before the nomination, Biden had repeatedly said that, barring any qualification or ethics issues, he would have no problem confirming a conservative to the court, regardless of any criticism he received from liberal groups. But when those same groups protested the nomination of the conservative Mr. Bork, Sen. Biden -- then the head of the Judiciary Committee in a Senate that had just swung to the Democrats -- flip-flopped, joining Ted Kennedy and other Democrats in an unjustified smear campaign of Bork that blocked his nomination, ruined his name and, as Mr. Tobin contends, broke the court.

    The Review-Journal presented a false comparison by claiming Biden's opposition to Bork's nomination equates to current Republican opposition to any potential nominee presented by President Obama.

    The Senate followed constitutional procedure in considering Bork's nomination. Because of Bork's record of opposing civil rights laws surrounding race and gender, both Democrats and Republicans voted to block his appointment to the court. In fact, as MSNBC's Steve Benen pointed out, even Sen. Strom Thurmond "urged the Reagan White House to nominate someone less 'controversial,'" and Reagan's subsequent choice, Anthony Kennedy, was confirmed overwhelmingly:

    When [Bork's] nomination reached the Senate floor, 58 senators, including six Republicans, voted to reject him. (After the vote, Strom Thurmond, of all people, urged the Reagan White House to nominate someone less "controversial.") The Republican president soon after nominated Anthony Kennedy, who was confirmed by the Democratic-led Senate, 97 to 0.


    A little tidbit: more Republicans voted against Bork's nomination in 1987 than voted for Justice Elena Kagan's nomination in 2010. (Six Republicans opposed Bork; five Republicans supported Kagan.) It's the sort of thing that adds some context to the trajectory of GOP politics.

    The current Republican vow to refuse even to consider any Obama nominee is very different than Biden and the Democrats' opposition of Bork's nomination in 1987, which received confirmation hearings and a subsequent vote. As Michael Gerhardt, a professor of constitutional law at the University of North Carolina, wrote for SCOTUSblog, Republicans' obstruction of any Obama Supreme Court nominee has no historical precedent, and the president's power to nominate a justice "does not cease to have effect at certain times, even during presidential elections":

    There is, in short, no historical support for the claim that the Senate has a tradition of shutting down the Supreme Court appointment process in presidential election years. The tradition is the opposite, for the Senate to consider Supreme Court nominations, no matter the timing, and actually to confirm nominees when they are moderate and well qualified.

    The Constitution is not a suicide pact. It does not relieve our leaders of their powers and does not cease to have effect at certain times, even during presidential elections. President Abraham Lincoln made five Supreme Court nominations during the Civil War, Wilson made two during World War I, and Roosevelt made three during World War II. Hoover made three during the Great Depression.

  • Las Vegas Review-Journal Publishes Misinformed Op-Ed Blaming Government Unions For Income Inequality

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    An op-ed published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal attempted to piggyback on Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' economic inequality platform to spread anti-union conservative misinformation blaming public employee unions for widening levels of inequality. The paper failed to disclose the author's parent organization is part of the State Policy Network -- a collection of think tanks funded in part by the Koch brothers -- and receives funding from the manufacturing industry.

  • Las Vegas Review-Journal Pushes Job Choice Myth To Dismiss Gender Pay Gap

    ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    The Las Vegas Review-Journal's editorial board dismissed the gender pay gap as an "injustice that doesn't actually exist," asserting that pay inequality between women and men is due to women's job choices. In reality, studies repeatedly show that gender pay inequality plagues women regardless of job choice, "at all education levels, after work experience is taken into account," and "gets worse as women's careers progress."

  • Las Vegas Review-Journal Editor Resigns Citing Adelson Ownership Of Newspaper

    Mike Hengel: "I think my resignation probably comes as a relief to the new owners."

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    CNN Money reported that Las Vegas Review-Journal editor Mike Hengel was offered and accepted a buyout and will step down as editor of Nevada's largest newspaper.

    Hengel's decision comes after the Review-Journal was purchased by an unnamed person later discovered to be top Republican donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. The purchase has concerned many of the reporters at the paper who feared a loss of editorial control in deference to the new owner. Prior to stepping down, Hengel had instructed reporters to begin working on identifying the long list of "perceived conflicts of interest" that were likely to surround the paper and their new owner.

    CNN Money's December 22 article reporting his resignation said Hengel "thought his relationship with the Adelson family would be 'adversarial' and that it was best to let them pick their own editor."

    Mike Hengel, the top editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is stepping aside, less than two weeks after the family of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson took control of the newspaper.

    One reporter said the newsroom was "stunned" by the announcement, which Hengel made on Tuesdayevening in the midst of a turbulent period for Nevada's biggest newspaper.

    Wednesday's edition will include a message from the Adelson family on the front page. It says "we pledge to publish a newspaper that is fair, unbiased and accurate." It describes plans for "new investments" and the establishment of an ombudsman.

    Retaining the trust of readers will be difficult for the paper, especially if other veteran journalists follow Hengel to the exit.

    A round of end-of-the-year buyouts were initiated before Adelson purchased the paper on December 10. Hengel was originally not eligible. But the eligibility rules were apparently changed for him.

    According to tweets and people who were present for the announcement, Hengel told his staffers that he did not ask for a buyout, but that he was offered one shortly after the change in ownership. He did not say who made the offer. But he said he thought his relationship with the Adelson family would be "adversarial" and that it was best to let them pick their own editor.

    "I think my resignation probably comes as a relief to the new owners, and it is in my best interest and those of my family," Hengel said, according to reporter Neal Morton.

    Hengel did not respond to a request for further comment.

    The owners' letter in Wednesday's paper said managers "will appoint an interim editor and will immediately begin a search for the next permanent Review-Journal editor."

    Hengel's departure comes at a time of widespread unease about what the new owners intend to do.

    Longtime Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith, who was once sued by Adelson, wrote over the weekend that "Adelson is precisely the wrong person to own this or any newspaper."