Nevada media outlets failed to disclose the Big Oil interests behind a group offering cheap gas in the state this week to mislead voters about Obama's energy policies, including the false claim that the administration's energy policies are responsible for high gas prices. The bizarre stunts -- involving a walking, talking, anthropomorphic gas can -- were funded by groups largely financed by the Koch brothers, major conservative political donors who have significant oil interests. These groups are pushing policies that will benefit the Koch empire, not American consumers.
From the Associated Press:
Dozens of people lined up at a Reno gas station Tuesday to buy gasoline for $1.84 a gallon as part of a political event.
The cheap gas was offered by the Gas Can Man, a group funded by a [PAC called] Morning in America, focusing on energy policy. The conservative group Americans for Prosperity also funded the event.
A spokesman for the Gas Can Man told KOLO-TV that the event was supposed to remind voters that gas prices are high.
Spokesman Michael Findlay says that gas was $1.84 a gallon in the month of President Barack Obama's inauguration.
The Las Vegas Sun noted that as "people filled up their tanks, they stood in the shadow of AFP's campaign bus emblazoned with the slogan: Obama's Failing Agenda. One man registered voters." The paper quoted an Americans for Prosperity representative claiming the stunt was an exercise in "citizen education":
For the organizers of the event, the cheap gas offering wasn't a handout for those in need.
"It's citizen education," said Nick Vander Poel, of Americans for Prosperity. "This is issue awareness. We're educating them on the issues."
But the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Sun, and local television stations failed to disclose in their reports that the Gas Can Man and the cheap gas-campaign dubbed the "Million Can March" is funded by oil industry barons pushing policies that, if enacted, would line their own pockets but do nothing to lower the price of gas (the Sun disclosed the Koch ties, but neglected to mention their role in the oil industry).
Two days after the widespread publication of Mitt Romney's controversial declaration that 47 percent of Americans are "dependent on government," the largest newspaper in Nevada, a swing state in the 2012 election the 2012, has thus far failed to cover the story. Additionally, on September 18, the "Swing States Project" at the Columbia Journalism Review noted that another important swing state publication -- New Hampshire's Union Leader -- had also failed to cover the Romney comments.
A story published yesterday by the Columbia Journalism Review pointed out that the New Hampshire Union Leader -- New Hampshire's largest newspaper by circulation according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations -- had failed to cover Mitt Romney's comments that 47 percent of Americans will support Obama "no matter what" and that they are "dependent upon government."
While the Union Leader still has not published a news story on the topic, it did publish an editorial defending Romney's comments explaining that it was obviously a "statement of campaign strategy, not policy." From the editorial:
Naturally, the media portray this as Romney not caring about half the country. Absurd. It was a statement of campaign strategy, not policy, and every single national political reporter knows that.
In contrast to the Union Leader's limited attention to the issue, the Review-Journal -- Nevada's largest newspaper by circulation -- has not published anything on the subject at all, according to a Media Matters search of Nexis records and the Review-Journal website. In fact, despite not mentioning the comments once in its news or opinion sections, the Review-Journal has published two unrelated stories on Mitt Romney since Monday -- including a story discussing a private fundraiser Romney was planning on having in Las Vegas this Friday.
While 41 swing state newspapers made the Romney comments a front page story, the Review-Journal has mentioned it only once in an online-only blog post by opinion columnist and former publisher, Sherman Frederick, who, unsurprisingly, defended Romney for his "admirable truth-telling." Unfortunately, it seems that similar to the Union Leader, over 200,000 print subscribers of the Review-Journal can't count on their hometown paper to report a story with national implications if it doesn't look good for its preferred candidate.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board attacked the "Democratic Senate" for giving "tax breaks for pet businesses," including green energy producers. However, many Republicans support giving the wind industry the type of economic certainty that the oil industry has enjoyed for decades -- a position the Review-Journal has previously defended.
In two editorials over the past week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal argued that Nevada should opt-out of the Medicaid provision in the Affordable Care Act. The paper's arguments completely ignored the potential benefits Medicaid expansion would have to the citizens and economy of Nevada.
Both mainstream and conservative media outlets have responded to the recent spike in gasoline prices by circulating talking points rooted in politics rather than facts. As a whole, these claims reflect the misconception, perpetuated by the news media, that changes in U.S. energy policy are a major driver of oil and gasoline prices.
In the wake of President Obama's announcement that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan, Media Matters looks back at conservative media who attacked his commitment to fighting terrorism. Since his election in 2008, right-wing media figures have repeatedly suggested that Obama is weak on terror and that he is not serious about defending America from terrorism threats.
Earlier this evening, I pointed out that the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Sherman Frederick has stepped down as the paper's publisher; the same article noted that the paper's editor in chief, Thomas Mitchell, would also be stepping down. The article suggested that Frederick was reducing his responsibility due to health issues.
But Steve Friess, a Las Vegas-based freelance journalist who once worked for the Review-Journal and now often writes for Las Vegas Weekly, has a different theory, reporting on his blog that the "real explanation" is that "Harry Reid won":
An extremely knowledgable source at the paper called this move a "shakeout" and a "head slap" from the top, meaning the owners back in Arkansas. He reminded me that the Stephens family are big Washington D.C. players, with banking interests and other issues to deal with in Congress. They may have supported Republican candidates, but the over-the-top efforts by Sherm Frederick and [Review-Journal editor] Thomas Mitchell to support Sharron Angle and unrelentingly beat up on the Senate Majority Leader was exceptional. It was nasty and personal and harmed the reporters' ability to have their work taken credibly, but even more importantly, if the Stephens clan wanted to make nice with Harry Reid, the only way to do it was to get rid of Frederick and Mitchell.
In a follow-up post, Friess writes that he is "fairly confident" and has "sources that have provided some proof" that Reid's victory "played a pretty big part" in the replacement of Frederick and Mitchell.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that Sherman Frederick is stepping down effective immediately from his longtime position as publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and as CEO of its parent company, Stephens Media:
The Las Vegas Review-Journal today named a new publisher to replace longtime publisher Sherman Frederick.
Bob Brown, advertising director of the newspaper since 2001, was named publisher of the newspaper effective immediately.
Frederick also stepped down effective immediately as chief executive officer of Stephens Media, owner of the Review-Journal. He will be replaced by Michael Ferguson, the company's current chief operating officer.
Frederick will remain with Stephens Media in a consultant role and write a weekly column for Stephens Media newspapers.
Stephens Media owner Warren Stephens announced Frederick's new role today.
"I am pleased that Sherm will remain with the company," Stephens said. "Sherm has had a long and distinguished journalism career. I am glad we will be able to retain his writing talents for the newspaper."
"It's been a hard summer for me," said Frederick, who underwent back-to-back prostate and heart bypass surgeries. "I'm looking forward to a more measured pace for a while, as well as my new duties with the company."
In March, Media Matters documented how Frederick's blog posts and columns have been rife with smears, factual errors, and conspiracy theories about Democrats. Media Matters' Joe Strupp subsequently reported that members of the Nevada journalism community responded to the report with harsh criticism for Frederick, with Jon Ralston, a former Review-Journal columnist who now writes for the Las Vegas Sun, saying, "It is one thing for someone to be a local embarrassment; it is another thing to be a national embarrassment."
Yesterday FoxNews.com reported that a former low-level staffer allegedly lied to federal investigators about her marriage -- prior to going to work for Reid's office. In that article, FoxNews.com gave no indication that Reid or anyone in his office had any knowledge of the investigation or the alleged wrongdoing.
Enter the Review-Journal. While pushing the Fox News smear, Frederick adds:
The Reid folks ain't sayin' much other than to suggest it's a GOP trick. Only problem, it happened on Obama's watch and involves several federal agencies.
In fact, Reid's spokesman are saying that Reid and his office did not know about the allegations until being informed by Fox News, at which time Reid's office conducted an investigation and severed its relationship with the staffer, Diana Tejada. The allegations never resulted in criminal charges against Tejada.
Moreover, contrary to Frederick's claim that "it happened on Obama's watch," the marriage in question occurred in 2003, and Tejada reportedly issued the false statements to federal investigators in 2004 and in 2008. According to the FoxNews.com article Frederick links to, Tejada "broke down and confessed that her marriage was a lie" in November 2008 and filed for divorce in December 2008 -- prior to Obama's inauguration.
In a blog post headlined "Is Sen. Reid physically up to the job?" Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick compiled a devastating case to support his assertion that "something's wrong with Sen. Harry Reid." For example, did you know that during a recent debate, Reid "mixed up the Department of Energy with the Department of Education"? And what happened when "Sharron Angle told him to 'man-up' " in that same debate? Reid "had no retort," according to Frederick. (I'd suggest it's possible that Reid had "no retort" because he didn't expect to be told to "man up" during a campaign debate for a seat in the United States Senate, rather than, say, during a pickup basketball game.)
When you're talking about a public figure whose words are catalogued almost constantly by the press, it's not difficult to pick out instances of misspeaking. It seems pretty low to turn Reid's misstatements into evidence that there's something "wrong" with him, especially considering that Frederick's blog post pivots on the mini-stroke that Reid had more than five years ago.
Frederick didn't limit his attack on Reid's fitness for office to misstatements -- ridiculous right-wing talking points came into play, too.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal charged Elena Kagan with taking an extreme position while defending a statute written to ban animal "crush videos." In fact, the Supreme Court stated that Kagan's brief was grounded in precedent, Justice Samuel Alito sided with the government in the case, and Kagan has said that she was doing her best to defend the statute, as is consistent with her solicitor general duties.
Right-wing media have attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her statement that unemployment insurance stimulates the economy and creates jobs, calling her remarks "laughable" and "lunacy." In fact, economists agree that extending unemployment insurance has a strong stimulative effect on GDP and employment during a recession.
In a June 3 blog post, Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick demonstrated that his daily reading consists primarily of the Drudge Report. Frederick picked up on an article linked to by Drudge from the New Scientist reporting that there are some islands in the Pacific that are growing in response to rising tides. In a post titled "More global warming debunked," Frederick reprinted portions of the article and concluded: "Paging American liberals: Isn't it time for a little public confession on this spectacularly wrong environmental bed time story?"
Of course, nothing in the article debunks global warming. And putting aside the validity of the study, the article itself states that the scientists behind the study "warn that while the islands are coping for now, any acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise could overtake the sediment build up" and "no one knows how fast the islands can grow." And the article also quotes an expert stating that "it's not possible to simply move people living in urbanised areas to new land."
But other than that, this one article obviously proves that global warming is a "spectacularly wrong environmental bed time story."
The Las Vegas Review-Journal's campaign to elect someone -- anyone -- other than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not working. The LVRJ's own poll shows that Reid is now virtually even with his Republican opponents after previously trailing Republican Sue Lowden by 10 points.
Such hard data demands some serious spinning from the LVRJ. Watch how they bury the lead in Friday's article on the poll results:
Republican Sue Lowden has the best chance of defeating U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, according to a new poll for the Review-Journal that also suggests the Democratic incumbent could beat Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle in the fall, although he remains as unpopular as ever.
For the first time, a Mason-Dixon Polling & Research poll indicates that Reid could win re-election, even over Lowden, the one-time GOP front-runner whom the Democrat most fears and has most attacked. She is seen as moderate and a stronger general election foe than Angle, a staunch conservative now tied for the GOP primary lead.
Considering the LVRJ's war against Reid and its support of his opponents, the poll's findings that "for the first time," Reid "could win re-election" is the real news here.
An April poll showed that Reid trailed Lowden by 10 points, 47-37. By contrast, the May poll shows that Reid now only trails Lowden by 3 points, 42-39. (He also leads Sharron Angle 42-39 and trails Danny Tarkanian 42-41).
Such news is not sitting well with the editor of the LVRJ, who -- like his publisher -- is determined to defeat Reid. Thomas Mitchell titled a Friday blog, "Ideology v. pragmatism: It comes down to who can beat Harry." Hey, at least he's honest.
Mitchell says "Republican primary voters" (who Mitchell seems to equate with "Tea Party voters") must decide whether "stand on principles" (vote for Angle) or "compromise for the sake of victory" (vote for Lowden). But the message is clear -- Harry Reid must be defeated.
Sherman Frederick is the publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He is also a columnist and a blogger.
More than anything, he is a hack.
Take Frederick's latest (lack of) effort. He's still trying to squeeze blood from a stone in his continued war on Sen. Harry Reid. In his first attempt to suggest Reid was guilty of colluding with disgraced governor Rod Blagojevich, Frederick reprinted an entire email attack from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.