Las Vegas Sun

October 18, 2019

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Sun editorial:

The Sun refuses to kneel before Sheldon Adelson — and you should too

To Las Vegas,

As you know, the leadership of the Las Vegas Review-Journal announced a court challenge to the Joint Operating Agreement under which the Sun and R-J have operated since 1989 (and was amended in 2005).

In order to break the JOA — while still benefiting from the lucrative antitrust exemption that the JOA provides — the Review-Journal improperly attempts to exit this relationship without the Sun’s consent by claiming that the Sun does not produce quality content.

It is a desperate move and behind a tissue of dishonesty lies the real motive: the R-J longs to silence the Sun and be the only voice in daily newspapers in this community.

There can be no doubt about this. The R-J hungers to dictate to this community what the agenda will be, what will be covered and whose voice will be allowed to be heard. And, just as importantly, whose voices won’t be heard.

The Sun and Greenspun Media Group defiantly stand in its way.

Moreover, the R-J wants to do so while still enjoying an antitrust waiver that netted the company hundreds of millions of dollars over decades.

If you have ever wondered what the wretched face of would-be monopolists looks like, now you know. Every business in Las Vegas should be shaken by the R-J’s behavior.

But the R-J’s attempt to monopolize the ideas of the day are vastly more concerning.

Every member of this community has a stake in this fight. Parents, children, young people, the elderly, educators, the courts, elected officials, workers, resorts on the strip, minority groups, environmentalists, college students, labor unions … everyone and anyone who refuses to kneel before Sheldon Adelson and his Review-Journal should join the Sun in this battle. The Sun’s fight is your fight.

The ownership and leadership of the R-J — make no mistake, this attempt to monopolize the civic debate comes from ownership itself, Adelson and his son-in-law Patrick Dumont — heads down a path that is bad for readers, bad for the community, bad for business, bad for everyone.

Their action comes on the heels of catastrophic declines in R-J circulation under the leadership of former publisher Craig Moon and current publisher Keith Moyer.

This move also comes after the R-J lost a recent arbitration between the Sun and the R-J. Not only did the arbitrator reject the R-J’s predatory interpretation of the contract and adopted the Sun’s interpretation, but the arbitrator made an award to the Sun for the money the Review-Journal has wrongfully withheld from the Sun each year. Those are funds that support the Sun’s newsroom. The consequences of that ruling in favor of the Sun will be in effect for the next 20 years.

This tantrum by the R-J will fail in court and along the way we promise that exceedingly interesting information from behind the scenes at the R-J will come to light.

More to come.

In the meantime, we shall keep delivering the quality work that our community counts on us to produce. We shall not let our community down.

We’ll keep you posted as this sad act from the R-J wends its way through the legal process.

— This editorial was shared with the Sun staff Friday.