Evan Vucci / AP
Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 | 2 a.m.
It is not too late for the Review-Journal to do the right thing.
I sound like a broken record — at least in my head — when I repeat this decades-old hope that the other daily newspaper in Clark County could, if it really cared about the people of Southern Nevada, say and do what is in our best interests.
After all, the No. 1 responsibility a newspaper has to its readers is to provide them with the information and the tools they need to make informed, considered and rational decisions about how to live their lives in the social, civil and political society in which they find themselves.
Too often, most people get so caught up in their own daily world that they do not have the time or the inclination to access the kind of information they need to make good decisions for themselves and their families. So many people tend to rely on their newspaper — or its equivalent — for assistance.
Newspapers and their considerably talented newsrooms have fulfilled that role for centuries and, notwithstanding the rise of the internet — which is just a lot more newsrooms, albeit far less talented and far less credible — they continue in that role.
The Las Vegas Sun has always considered its responsibility to our community foremost among many other priorities. Regardless of whether people agree with our opinions or not, it has to be said that we have acted with the community interest in mind.
Last week, the Review-Journal published a full-throated endorsement of Donald Trump for president in 2020. I believe that was a huge mistake, designed chiefly to mislead its readers for reasons known only to its ownership and not readily apparent to anyone who cares what the R-J thinks.
There is no need to regurgitate the R-J editorial here; it is enough to say it defied logic and credulity. What is important, though, is to consider why the other Las Vegas newspaper ignored the catastrophe that has been the Trump presidency in order to paint a picture rosy enough for lower-information readers (those are people who depend almost exclusively on the newspaper to tell them the truth) and those looking for an excuse, any excuse, to suspend the reality in which they live in order to buy into the R-J’s choice.
Let’s discuss the reality in Nevada, specifically Southern Nevada, where our readers live. And barely work. And barely own businesses. And are having great difficulty pursuing the American dream.
It is no secret that Las Vegas lives and dies on tourism. It is no secret that our residents — the people who work in the tourist industry, pay their mortgages, rent and food bills based on the money they earn when Las Vegas’ tourist industry is working — are hurting. Big time.
And it is no secret that our president, Donald Trump, is the one man responsible for how well our country responds to this pandemic. Certainly, there are 300-plus million people who share the responsibility to do the right thing to survive the virus. But it is the leadership at the very top that is required when pandemonium breaks out over a pandemic. And it is that leadership — Trump by name — that has gone missing.
So, in the middle of this life-and-death struggle with a virus, the Review-Journal tells its readers that Trump should be reelected.
Trump is the man who just called off any discussion — walked away from the table, if you will — about a much-needed congressional effort to provide our schools, our airlines, our cities and states, our gambling industry, our working men and women and, yes, our struggling small businesses the financial assistance they continue to need to survive, just barely survive, the ravages of COVID-19. He says he will take up the effort when he is reelected, as if the people who need help can wait until he is ready to act.
He has left the people of Southern Nevada in the lurch, somewhere between bankruptcy and personal and financial ruin, just because he can. And this is the man the R-J thinks the people of Nevada should reelect?
Trump has failed at every turn to wear a mask, urge others to wear a mask, socially distance and do and say whatever will help save their lives. And now he and his wife and some of his closest advisers are struggling with the disease, along with a significant part of the West Wing office staff and some of the top military leaders of this country. Just because he kept them too close to him without making sure they took the necessary precautions. In fact, requiring them to do just the opposite.
And this is the man the R-J says should be given another four years? To do what? Make all of us sick?
In Donald Trump’s America, governors are targeted for kidnapping and murder by those who listen to Trump’s dog whistles and act accordingly. His “good people” are plotting to do bad things to really good Americans. And Sheldon Adelson, the R-J’s owner, wants four more years of this?
There are many good reasons why Joe Biden should be the choice for Nevada. I refer you to the Las Vegas Sun editorial this past week for a rundown of the many, many substantive reasons why he is not only our best hope but Nevada’s only choice.
But, I digress. I was talking about the R-J’s reason for trying to persuade its readers to vote for Trump. That one is far more simple to understand.
The reason the Review-Journal supported Donald Trump this time around is because Adelson demanded it. The purists at the newspaper may say otherwise, but Sheldon has required his newspaper to follow the money.
Specifically, the $100 million or so that he reportedly has or will invest in Trump’s reelection. That, of course, is Sheldon’s right as the owner of the newspaper. But it is also his responsibility to come clean with his readers about why. In his mind, there are millions and millions of good reasons to try to get Nevada to bend to his will.
My guess, though, is that many of his readers are not buying what Adelson is selling this time. Trying to put lipstick on this pig of a presidency is a bridge too far, even for the R-J.
Here’s my advice: Sheldon Adelson can help himself and his newspaper regain some modicum of credibility, if he even cares to do so. He can rethink what is best for the people of this state, for the people of this country and for the people who live on planet Earth.
Without even admitting his mistake and that of his newspaper, he can simply order a change of editorial heart. I don’t know if it will make much difference in how people vote in Southern Nevada, but it will make a significant difference in how people think about what it is to be a responsible newspaper, publishing in the public interest.
Unless, of course, Sheldon doesn’t give a damn about that either.
Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.