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September 22, 2014

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Lowden: ‘I didn’t laugh about it’

But tape of exchange over Reid bomb story reveals otherwise

Sue Lowden

Sue Lowden

Harry Reid

Harry Reid

Gibbons on Nevada Newsmakers

Gov. Jim Gibbons on "Nevada Newsmakers" on Monday.

Was it a chuckle or a laugh? And what, exactly, was she laughing at?

The talk radio exchange that set off the skirmish between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sue Lowden, one of his Republican challengers, was dissected Tuesday on the Northern Nevada TV program “Nevada Newsmakers.”

Visiting the program a day after Gov. Jim Gibbons repeated the discredited assertion that the bomb found under Reid’s car during his time on the Gaming Commission was a phone book in a shoebox, Lowden was asked by host Ray Hagar about her comments on the incident to Las Vegas radio talker Heidi Harris.

Hagar noted that Lowden was a Las Vegas news reporter at the time.

“It seems like a really big story, how could you forget that? And then you laughed about it on the radio,” Hagar said.

“I didn’t laugh about it, but I know it was made out to be that way,” Lowden said.

During Lowden’s appearance on Harris’ show, Harris told Lowden that she had never heard about the bomb and asked Lowden if she had heard of it.

Lowden said (without laughing) that she only remembered the bomb that exploded under colleague Ned Day’s car.

“I don’t remember Harry Reid’s bomb,” Lowden said (still, without laughing).

“So maybe he’s claiming Ned Day’s bomb,” Harris said.

Lowden gave a breathy chuckle. “Maybe,” she said.

During Gibbons’ Monday appearance on “Nevada Newsmakers,” he said he had read in the police report that the device found in Reid’s car was a shoebox and a phone book. The police report and bomb squad log make no mention of a shoebox or a phone book. The log says the device was similar to, but more sophisticated than, a device previously found beneath another Gaming Commission member’s car.

Gibbons’ spokesman, Dan Burns, later said that Gibbons made a mistake.

•••

Media outlets are lobbying the Nevada Supreme Court to allow more electronic devices into courtrooms, including laptop computers and text-messaging devices.

Martha Bellisle, a courts reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal, told a committee of the Supreme Court working on revising rules governing media in district and justice courts, that the rules should regulate activities, not devices. In Los Angeles, she said, the courts allow text-messaging as long as the device is held in the lap and isn’t disruptive.

Barry Smith, director of the Nevada Press Association, is also pushing for clearer rules on when photos can be taken in the courtroom.

Representatives of some media outlets argued that requiring 24-hour notice for television and still photographers isn’t feasible. Some suggested it should be shortened to 30 minutes.

Chairwoman Justice Nancy Saitta says a lot more work needs to be done before a final regulation is set. Saitta’s committee will hold more hearings before submitting its final report.

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