Report Claims That Big Political Funder Sheldon Adelson Is The 'Anonymous' Owner Of Las Vegas Newspaper

from the well,-that's-a-fun-one dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about the truly bizarre situation in which the Las Vegas Review Journal -- the largest newspaper in Nevada -- had been purchased for $140 million... and no one knew who the owner was. For fairly obvious reasons, this started to make a lot of people uncomfortable -- including the reporters for the NVRJ. Suspicion quickly focused on big time political funders, with some noting that Nevada is an early primary state, and may play a key role in the presidential election. The Koch brothers, who are big time funders of candidates flat out denied it, leading to more intense scrutiny on the other key guess: Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a key funder of Mitt Romney in the last election.

Now, Dan Primack at Fortune is claiming that Adelson did, in fact purchase the paper, using the newly formed News + Media Capital Group LLC as a shell to try (apparently not very well) to hide that fact:
For nearly a week, the media and political worlds have been wondering who paid $140 million to purchase Nevada’s largest daily newspaper, The Las Vegas Review-Journal. The primary buyer had taken great pains to remain anonymous, but Fortune has learned from multiple sources familiar with the situation that it is Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp.
The LVRJ itself had been investigating the issue and provided a bunch of supporting evidence for why Adelson was the likely buyer.

The Fortune report wonders if Adelson really only wanted to keep it secret until after last night's debate -- which he hosted -- had passed. Though that doesn't really make much sense. Either way, by trying to be secretive about it, the only end result is putting that much more attention on the fact that he's the buyer. If the idea was to subtly influence viewpoints, that may have backfired.

Filed Under: funding, journalism, las vegas review journal, newspaper, sheldon adelson
Companies: las vegas review journal, lvrj, news + media capital group


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 6:24am

    This is how billionaires influenced politics before citizen united. Sounds like he is hedging his bets. The Newhouse family (Conde Nast Magazines, newspapers, brighthouse, etc) controls huge amounts of the media. Jeff Bezo bought the WAPO. Ted Turner started CNN. Much of the news you get is from sources owned by billionaires.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 8:16am

      Re:

      How many of those billionaires ran for, let alone held, any political office?

      Though I have to admit they might not be any worse than what we've got now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 6:40am

    Not Plausible

    If the idea was to subtly influence viewpoints, that may have backfired.
    That doesn't seem plausible. The journalists were uncomfortable just having a mystery boss, to say nothing of altering news coverage to please that new boss. Adelson had to know that.

    It seems more plausible that Adelson saw an investment opportunity and didn't want to upset the status quo, knowing that a large number of employees might find his political views disagreeable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bees!, 17 Dec 2015 @ 8:55am

    Ms. Adelson is the guy who single-handedly killed medical marijuana in FL during the last election cycle: the measure was overwhelmingly supported up until a couple of months before the election, when a slew of smear ads popped out of no where. It was revealed Adelson paid for 85% of those campaign ads. Not 85% of one ad. 85% of the whole damn campaign. Because of his meddling, the measure didn't get the majority it needed (it was a state constitutional amendment: so it required more than a mere majority to pass. Had it been a simple bill for legislation, it probably would have passed).

    If he really is the new owner... EEK.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vegas Chad (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 9:30am

    Schadenfreude

    This is kind of "inside baseball" but Adelson is utterly despised by the LRVJ rank-and-file (he basically tried to bankrupt a columnist for defamation and then dropped the suit less than 24 hours after a court said his Gaming Commission background report could be released).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sivan, 17 Dec 2015 @ 5:57pm

    Disgusting

    I'm horrified that techdirt would publish antisemitic canards like this. Claims that powerful jews controlled elections and owned the media were incredibly prevalent in the days leading up to the Shoah, and this article would have fit right in.

    I come to Techdirt to read tech news, not reprints of Stormfront conspiracy theories/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 18 Dec 2015 @ 6:04am

      Re: Disgusting

      Adelson has either behaved very badly or he hasn't. I'm Irish and believe me I get the whole "disaspora" thing. That said, being a victim of a horrible genocidal event doesn't sanctify you in any way. Judge a man by his deeds, not his ethnicity.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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