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August 31, 2014

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Who’s behind the jabs at local TV news anchor Nina Radetich

Channel 13 anchor Nina Radetich was recorded telling Tire Works -- the subject of investigative reports -- that her boyfriend could help the company with media relations in the wake of the series.

Channel 13 anchor Nina Radetich was recorded telling Tire Works -- the subject of investigative reports -- that her boyfriend could help the company with media relations in the wake of the series.

The “NINA LIES” signs came down quickly. What won’t be cleaned up by highway crews, however, is a Web site launched last week: ninaradetich.com.

Enter that Internet address in your browser and you’re instantly directed to the Wikipedia page on journalism ethics and standards — a caustic poke at KTNV-TV, Channel 13’s Nina Radetich.

The news anchor was embroiled in controversy last month when a recording was released of her offering the subject of an upcoming station expose media consulting services by her boyfriend. Radetich’s boss called her actions a lapse in judgment, while media observers (and local readers) were more cutting.

Meanwhile, the woman Radetich was recorded talking to — TireWorks owner Roshie Weightman — seized the opportunity to tell local media she thought Radetich was attempting to extort her.

There’s no shortage of people one might imagine buying ninaradetich.com for mischief’s sake — TireWorks employees, disgruntled KTNV employees embarrassed by their station’s fallen star, staff at competing TV stations, or some bored comedian.

But the site’s actual registrant, Chris Dyer, is sort of a wild card.

Dyer is a former Republican congressional candidate who lost to Shelley Berkley last year. He’s also a fervent Ron Paul supporter and part of a group of Nevada GOP rogues who sued their party last July to the stop the appointment of delegates to the party’s national convention in St. Paul, Minn. — an effort that, had it worked, would have given Dyer and other Paul supporters more convention-floor real estate.

Asked why he bought the Radetich domain name, Dyer said in an e-mail that journalism ethics are a subject he has recently become interested in, and that he had technically registered NinarAdetich.com — “a word I made up.”

Both versions of the anchor’s name, typed into a browser, yield the same result.

Dyer also founded a Facebook group called “Fire journalists who shake down local businesses in Las Vegas,” which is directed squarely at KTNV and Radetich. Dyer shares the online group’s administrative duties with Carl Bunce, who also ran for Congress last year as a “Ron Paul Republican,” against incumbent Jon Porter, and, like Dyer, joined the group of Republicans who sued the party over delegate selection.

Many of the Facebook group’s 27 members are Paul supporters, which is noteworthy when you consider the “NINA LIES” signs that appeared along Summerlin Parkway and outside the Channel 13 studios late last month. The black and red stenciled signs were similar in appearance to Ron Paul Revolution signs that the presidential candidate’s supporters placed on freeway overpasses and in other roadside locations during the campaign.

Dyer would not comment on whether he had anything to do with the signs, and when the Sun pressed, suggesting the signs were now the elephant in the room, Dyer wrote: “that’s funny. I wonder if elephantintheroom.com is taken.”

(It is.)

Weightman is also part of the Facebook group. But then, so is Republican Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian, as well as “VeteransIn Politics,” a Facebook account for the local group of the same name, which counts several local politicians among its online friends.

Dyer’s online description of the Facebook group hits on a more personal nexus of Dyer, his friends, Channel 13 and Ron Paul supporters. The statement reads: “A local news channel fired a friend of mine for running for political office. They fired another friend for getting arrested even though the charges were dropped. I wonder if they would fire a NON-SPECIFIC journalist who shook down a local business while said news channel was investigating said business.”

Dyer said his use of “nonspecific journalist” in the description is to abide by Facebook rules, which ban attacks on specific people or groups.

Reading between the lines, the nonspecific reporter is obviously Radetich.

The two “friends” mentioned in the statement are also easy to identify.

One-time KTNV staffer David IsBell was fired after he decided to run for Assembly District 17 last year, a violation of the TV station’s policy against employees seeking political office.

IsBell is a member of the Facebook group, also a Paul supporter, and is clearly the person who was fired from a “local news channel” after running for office.

The “other friend” — who was fired after getting arrested — fits the description of former KTNV reporter Ron Futrell, who was charged with fleeing the scene of an accident in 2008. The charges were dropped, but Futrell was too.

The former KTNV reporter has a history of mingling in GOP circles — most notably, when he emceed the Clark County Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner in 2005 while still an on-air personality and said of Harry Reid, “Pinky’s doing quite well at getting himself run out of office.”

Dyer confirmed that IsBell and Futrell were the friends referenced in the description.

Dyer said he is unsure what will happen to ninaradetich.com, and didn’t know how much traffic the site has generated.

Online traffic counters indicate the visitor volume, so far, is too low to register.

Radetich’s boyfriend, Jack Finn, whose media consulting services were suggested in the recorded phone call, left his position with NV Energy late last month. Finn, a former TV reporter and spokesman for Sen. John Ensign and former Gov. Kenny Guinn, told the Sun he was pursuing other opportunities.

Dyer, clearly not one to pass up an opportunity to tell a biting joke, said in an e-mail to the Sun: “It’s a shame Nina didn’t secure the domain (ninaradetich.com) first.

“Maybe she should hire someone who works in marketing or media relations to help her.”

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