Friday, June 19, 2009

R-J Uses AP for Ensign Day 3?

I've laid off on the local media criticism in this space for a while in part because I've learned what it's like to have some half-cocked nutjob misread and distort every little thing that happens and/or that you do. But I did have to make a quick note that the Review-Journal, on only the third day of the John Ensign sex scandal, used the Associated Press' report on its front page and had no staff-generated material on the drama other than a 360-word commentary by columnist John L. Smith.

That is really strange, especially when the Las Vegas Sun obtained the letter sent by Doug Hampton, the cuckolded husband of Ensign's ex-mistress, to Fox News dated several days before Ensign's public revelation of his affair. It's not just that the Sun beat the R-J on this one -- ya win some, ya lose some -- but that the R-J had nothing at all to report today?

I'm also at a loss to understand why Hampton, who explained in the letter that he was sending it to Fox because he didn't want his claims investigated and exploited by what he perceived to a left-wing publication, wouldn't also offer it and the rest of his story to the R-J. The Sun is viewed as a left-wing publication by many; the R-J is viewed as the Vegas print equal to Fox News Channel.

On that front, a Fox News spokesperson tells The Huffington Post that they did not tip off Ensign's camp to the Hampton letter and hadn't gotten to the point of verifying the claim when Ensign broke the news of the affair himself on Tuesday. OK, I'll buy that, especially since my own partner, himself a TV news exec, suggested exactly that scenario this morning when we saw the Sun report.

But that does not explain, however, why Fox News did not reveal the existence of the letter for days AFTER Ensign admitted the affair. How is it Fox didn't post it that day or at least the next day? As most of the media and political worlds were grappling with why Ensign would come out with this at this stage, nearly a year after the affair had ended, how did Fox NOT see themselves as in possession of a major piece of the "why-now" puzzle?


Anonymous said...

I give Fox the benefit of the doubt on this one, especially in light of the hysterical, sub-literate tenor of Mr. Hampton's letter. Also, some of his claims of victimization ring a bit hollow, considering that he's enjoyed sinecures with two Ensign-friendly companies after his wife was evicted from her role as senatorial concubine. Diogenes isn't likely to find an honest person in this whole stinking mess.

David McKee

chuckmonster said...

Could this be related to the flap about the RJ rejecting an advert that made reference to the Ensign affair?


Dave - I don't disagree that the letter is bizarre and that it's understandable it might not have been taken seriously prior to Ensign's admission. But after?

Chuck: I don't believe the R-J is covering for Ensign. I'm baffled, though, why they didn't have their own coverage today. Really strange.

That said, that AP piece also claims the R-J circulation is about 200,000. It's actually about 175,000. See:

Anonymous said...

The R-J can't be the print version of the Fox News Channel. Unlike the dreadfully repetitive R-J, the Fox News Channel is actually entertaining.