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March 5, 2015

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Fox News slanders Las Vegas, city stands silent


The Associated Press

Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly appears on the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” in 2007 in New York.

Click to enlarge photo

Oscar Goodman swears in his wife, Carolyn Goodman, as the new Mayor of Las Vegas during the City Council meeting Wednesday, July 6, 2011.

Shortly after he became president in February of 2009, in the unlikely venue of Elkhart, Ind., Barack Obama threw this Bombay into Oscar Goodman’s Sapphire:

“You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime,” Obama said, referring to trips made by companies who had received government bailouts.

Then-Mayor Goodman, as I’m sure you’ll recall, all but spit out his olive, sputtered for the media and didn’t stop for the next two-plus years. When the president made other Vegas-centric remarks almost exactly a year later — “When times are tough, you don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college” — even those who saw his 2009 comments as reasonable had a “fool me twice” moment.

But now, with one of the more appalling national television moments this week about Las Vegas, as we suffer through a terrible recession, I am wondering why The Family Goodman is not outraged, threatening to whack people, standing up for the city’s honor and grabbing all the cable TV time Mayor Carolyn Goodman (and maybe the city’s first man) can.

In case you missed the latest in a neverending list of slights national figures have administered to poor, stigmatized and traumatized Sin City, Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” delivered one of the most shockingly idiotic and insulting pieces I’ve seen about Las Vegas. The piece that aired Wednesday evening was a travesty of journalism and contained one of the more offensive statements I’ve seen about Las Vegas from O’Reilly producer Jesse Watters.

The segment was hyped on with this headline: “‘O’Reilly Factor’ Producer Finds Out Why Las Vegas’ Unemployment Rate Is Skyrocketing.”

Hmm, I optimistically mused to myself, maybe this will illuminate for the country just how devastating the recession has been here, perhaps delving into why so many people are unemployed and perhaps looking at the housing crisis. (I wasn’t too concerned with the inaccuracy of the headline — the unemployment rate here actually is dropping — because I know a little, or my producer does, about grabbing viewers’ attention.)

Alas, no. When the taped piece began with the painfully clichéd strains of “Viva Las Vegas” and the first interview was with Robin Leach, I knew what path we were going down — and it was not paved with good intentions. Leach, to his credit, told Watters that Vegas is “a tale of two cities,” but Watters was only interested in one — the unreal one on Las Vegas Boulevard South.

Watters then interviewed a mélange of tourists, who, shockingly, told him about partying and shopping on the Strip. This was better than Edward R. Murrow on a rooftop in London. Groundbreaking stuff.

Mindlessly intercut between the interviews were movie clips, which had no obvious nexus to the piece (but perhaps they went over my head with Watters’ artistry).

And then the segment turned positively Fox-y.

Watters found someone who lamented that after “Obama said Las Vegas isn’t the place to be, it died for three or four years.” Bingo. Then he played the 2010 Obama clip about Vegas and found a guy to trash the president.

Ridiculously bad journalism. But a great in-kind for the Romney campaign.

After that grating three minutes, complete with faux cleverness and quick editing, Watters appeared back in the studio. That’s where it really disintegrated into a parody and you could see what Ailes Fox. This part, I can’t paraphrase:

O’Reilly: “So who’s not working?”

Watters: “There’s about half a million population in Vegas (not quite, and he was in the county, whose population is four times that), but 40 million visit Vegas each year, so it’s a trickle-down economics situation.”

What? Get me David Stockman, please.

More Watters: “Conservative tycoons run the Strip. You have Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn, and they compete to see who can build bigger fiefdoms here.” Or in Macau? And there are no other companies? Breathtaking insight from The Factor.

O’Reilly: “Can’t you get a job there (on the Strip)? Don’t they need service people here?”

Watters: “They’re hiring, but it’s not like big-time jobs. You’re getting small jobs, menial labor, a lot of illegal immigrants. We saw a lot of illegal immigrants on the street passing out strip club cards, people doing menial labor.”

Finally, some news! No jobs in Vegas except those held by illegal immigrants! So next would be O’Reilly pouncing on Watters, asking him how he knew they were illegal immigrants, right?

But ... no. That wrapped it up. Maybe Watters knew they were illegal because he grilled them. Or maybe he knew because he was told. Or maybe because they, um, didn’t speak English. We’ll never know.

And people say journalism is dead.

One question, though: Where’s the outrage from the Family Goodman. Or the LVCVA? Or the chamber?

I’m waiting.

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  1. Fox News, journalism?? Please.

  2. What else would you expect from Faux News?

  3. I'll wager if you ask most Las Vegans, they have no clue as to the fact that the Strip is not a part of the city of LV and never was. That's not their fault; it's intentional on the part of those who ballyhoo "The Entertainment Capitol of the World." Even Oscar, whom Ralston wants to get on his high-horse and condemn O'Reilly & Watters, didn't seem to get the fact that he was the mayor of LV - not the Strip. My advice to Ralston: grow some skin. Yours seems to be very thin!

  4. Fox News is Nothing but a Tea Party Mouthpiece of dis-information. It's also a division of the Criminal NewsCorp organization that interferes in Politics Globally.
    So when King and Queen Goodman cower before "Republicans" it just shows their political stripes.

  5. Fox News, no big surprise...

  6. The city council has long been in the grips of the malaise strangle-hold of Oscar Goodman. So the other question should be Mr. Ralston, where are the voices of the other councilmen on this issue?

  7. There are a lot of apparent illegals on the strips working. When they know no English, chances are pretty high that they are not birthers. Sleeze pushed by illegals. What an image.

  8. "One question, though: Where's the outrage from the Family Goodman. Or the LVCVA? Or the chamber?"

    The answer to that question is simple, Jon.

    None of those people watch Fox PORNO (Political Organization-Republican News Only) News, the AAA Network, where they get ALL the news ALL wrong ALL the time.

    If anyone believes the so called "news" they report all the time, then unicorns are real, Elvis is still alive and Godzilla wears a bright pink tutu.

    Fox News never ever shows up at award shows. Why? Because they are never nominated. They have no clue who Edwin R. Murrow is, nor do they even know there is a news excellence reporting award in his name. They never even get nominated. They only go for ratings, thinking that the more people that watch their show is the gauge for success.

    I don't watch that crap. Other than to watch snippets of stupidity that MediaMatters catches and reports on. And they never run out of material daily to report on Fox News stupidity.

    Enjoyed the article, Jon, but here's a warning. If you ever go on that morning show on Fox News, DO NOT under any circumstance, sit on that half circular couch.

    I believe to my very soul there is some kind of alien right wing stupidity parasitical virus in that couch that infects anyone that sits there.

    If you do go on that show, make sure they fumigate that couch first.

    I don't want you afflicted, turn ultra-conservative and reporting dumb right wing junk....

  9. TeaNuttyNess...

    Has an element of Arrested Development.
    It's like a clique from Junior High, where the arrogant, ignorant, none-too-bright bunch mocks & ridicules things of which they have NO CLUE.

  10. It's no wonder Fox panders to certain people, Roger Ailes knows propaganda, and uses it well. After all he put his ideas about starting a right wing "news source" on paper in a memo to Richard Nixon.

    The simple facts are, a new poll just released by Fairleigh Dickinson, shows those who watch Fox as their only source of news, are the least informed.

  11. Yeah, it gives me a stomach ache watching those Lame brained people trying to convince the Lame brain people watching on the other end that they are Journalists!! LIKE GAG ME WITH A SPOON

  12. Author, you present the interview here in bits and pieces. It's hard to make sense of your article. Sorry, not well written.

  13. rusty57 - "Obama done very well following the Bush playbook on Al Qaeda. He even stopped yelling "Jihad, Jihad, Jihad!" on his overseas cellphone calls once he became president."

    It's a shame some people actually believe this sort of nonsense.

    I rest my case about the Fox misinformation agenda.

  14. Hate to say there are millions that want to watch "Fox" for their information. They don't care if it is factual or not, they are just looking for someone to blame for all the countries ills and they want to make sure it is not them. Fox will do that ever time for you.

    Fax, the land of all those that don't feel personal responsibility is an American virtue any longer.

    Mr. Rolston did a great job laying this article out. Most anyone with a 6th grade education would have been able to follow it, surprised someone would say otherwise.

  15. Thanks for the correction, happyleper. My mistake. I corrected.

    But I still stand by my statement. Fox News is not a factual news reporting agency, they only take information and do two things with it. First thing they do is they entertain, with no clear distinction between news reporting and opinion pieces. And second, and most important to them, is the reporting MUST always support an ultra-conservative agenda.

    When an infotainment network masquerading as a news network does what I outlined in the above paragraph, it should be no surprise when there are zero, nada, zilch, absolutely no awards. Nor even nominations for awards.

    Fox News, the network where there is no acclaim for anything. Because they focus more on low information viewership to pad their numbers. Because they tell them what they want to hear. They report, and they decide for you.

    The funniest thing they have done so far this year is, for the longest time, they did everything they could to try to prop up a Tea/Republican Party candidate...someone other than Romney.

    Well, that didn't work.

    So, what's happening now? They are in love with everything Romney.

    And they want all you neo-conservatives to also.

  16. In 1970 Roger Ailes wrote, "Today television news is watched more often than people read newspapers, than people listen to the radio, than people read or gather any other form of communication. The reason: People are lazy. With television you just sit--watch--listen. The thinking is done for you."

    "This is a plan that places news of importance to localities (Senators and representatives are newsmakers of importance to their localities) on local television news programs while it is still news. It avoids the censorship, the priorities, and the prejudices of network news selectors and disseminators."

    This excerpt from a Roger Ailes memo to Nixon explains why Fox is popular. People have a tendency to be lazy. He knew that in 1970 as well as today.

  17. TEA erroneously contends: "Too bad. Soooo sad."

    I am totally confused to your comment which was made, I guess, as some kind of form of way of saying my comment was wrong.

    All those links you put on there are polls, articles from newspapers, viewer ratings, conjecture about the numbers of viewers, Nielsen ratings, and other miscellaneous junk.

    I don't see awards there ANYWHERE.

    My claim still stands.

    If you are trying to make a point which says different, you don't change the definition of what awards are for journalism and news reporting excellence. A poll is a poll. An award is an award. There is a remarkable difference.

    But then you are doing exactly what Fox News does, they report based upon the right wing agenda, molding the facts to fit whatever hogwash they want to sell.

    And that is the exact reason why Fox News viewers are not only misinformed, but you proved how dogged they are in their determination to make up stuff and repeat it in order to attain some form of legitimacy.

  18. Any person of average intelligence is aware of the Fox News record of misattribution. However, the average viewer of Fox News is well below that level of cognitive insight.

  19. Duke...

    As your namesake said,

    "Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid."

  20. gmag: We've had our differences, but I bow to your eloquence.

  21. Jeffie: EXTREME right-wingers don't endorse social welfare. You pick your charities, and I'll pick mine. psst. I'm not extreme anything.