LVRJ publisher Sherman Frederick blasted US Senator Harry Reid today in a blistering piece on Reid’s recent publicly stated desire to see the LVRJ “go out of business”:
This newspaper traces its roots to before Las Vegas was Las Vegas.
We’ve seen cattle ranches give way to railroads. We chronicled the construction of Hoover Dam. We reported on the first day of legalized gambling. The first hospital. The first school. The first church. We survived the mob, Howard Hughes, the Great Depression, several recessions, two world wars, dozens of news competitors and any number of two-bit politicians who couldn’t stand scrutiny, much less criticism.
We’re still here doing what we do for the people of Las Vegas and Nevada. So, let me assure you, if we weathered all of that, we can damn sure outlast the bully threats of Sen. Harry Reid.
On Wednesday, before he addressed a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Reid joined the chamber’s board members for a meet-‘n’-greet and a photo. One of the last in line was the Review-Journal’s director of advertising, Bob Brown, a hard-working Nevadan who toils every day on behalf of advertisers. He has nothing to do with news coverage or the opinion pages of the Review-Journal.
Yet, as Bob shook hands with our senior U.S. senator in what should have been nothing but a gracious business setting, Reid said: “I hope you go out of business.”
Later, in his public speech, Reid said he wanted to let everyone know that he wants the Review-Journal to continue selling advertising because the Las Vegas Sun is delivered inside the Review-Journal.
Such behavior cannot go unchallenged.
But to fully capture the magnitude of Reid’s remark (and to stop him from doing the same thing to others) it must be called what it was — a full-on threat perpetrated by a bully who has forgotten that he was elected to office to protect Nevadans, not sound like he’s shaking them down.
No citizen should expect this kind of behavior from a U.S. senator. It is certainly not becoming of a man who is the majority leader in the U.S. Senate. And it absolutely is not what anyone would expect from a man who now asks Nevadans to send him back to the Senate for a fifth term.
If he thinks he can push the state’s largest newspaper around by exacting some kind of economic punishment in retaliation for not seeing eye to eye with him on matters of politics, I can only imagine how he pressures businesses and individuals who don’t have the wherewithal of the Review-Journal.
For the sake of all who live and work in Nevada, we can’t let this bully behavior pass without calling out Sen. Reid. If he’ll try it with the Review-Journal, you can bet that he’s tried it with others. So today, we serve notice on Sen. Reid that this creepy tactic will not be tolerated.
We won’t allow you to bully us. And if you try it with anyone else, count on going through us first.
That’s a promise, not a threat.
And it’s a promise to our readers, not to you, Sen. Reid.
The Wichita Examiner’s Geoff Caldwell angrily responds:
Mr. Frederick could not have used a better word. Bully is exactly what defines Reid and far too many others of the Democratic party now occupying the Capitol.
From Pelosi’s “astro-turf, Nazi” comments regarding those opposed to her massive health care bill, to Charles [Rangel’s] years of failure to properly report income on his tax returns, to Diane Watson praising Fidel Castro, the amount of vitriol against, and plain disrespect for, the American people is disgusting.
Can you imagine what a huge moral victory it would be for our party if we managed to defeat the Senate Majority Leader next year? Hey – don’t laugh. At this point it’s looking entirely possible.
Of course, anything can happen in the next year, but the signs are encouraging. Stay tuned …