Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

July 27, 2005

An Indictment of Las Vegas Journalism

Posted by Hunter

I stumbled across this interesting story that skewers both the Las Vegas Sun and Review Journal for their year 2000 coverage of the 'merger' between MGM Grand and Mirage Resorts.

Interesting perspective on this stuff that you don't usually get to see.

Columbia Journalism Review: Big Deal in Vegas

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Read archived comments (2 so far)
July 28, 2005 2:16 AM Posted by Mike C

Well, they've got it right and wrong. The media does seem to be in the pockets of the casinos. From my observations of the MGM/Mandalay buyout onwards, it seems that TV is less so than print. However, even the LVRJ and Sun are getting their act together and beginning to be a little more critical. RJ's article about that Caesars exec heading to Trump's venture earlier this month contained numerous paragraphs of criticism about the direction Harrah's will likely be taking Caesars Palace, even though they've hardly done anything yet.

The Wynn/MGM thing is being blown way out of proportion, though. For all this article's talk about the LV media putting a happy face on the whole deal for preserving Wynn's ego, the negotiations were fairly brief and amicable. Kerkorian agreed to pay $x per share, the board could either accept or reject it and begin an internal political campaign to try and convince shareholders that it was a bad deal and vote against it. Except that Wynn decided some time back to be his own financial representative to the investor world and did so poorly that he lost the trust of Wall St.

Due to the situation, they simply accepted without any real resistance and hostilities. And Kerkorian kept a lot of Mirage top brass in the combined company, the same of which can't be said for their deal with Mandalay, which I feel was more hostile. In fact, there's such a number of Mirage guys in the company that I can't understand why the resorts are losing their identities so very fast.

July 28, 2005 9:05 AM Posted by detroit1051

Interesting article. Las Vegas is a one industry town, and as such, media are very careful not to step on any toes. It reminds me of Detroit media's relationship with the Big 3 auto manufacturers before the Big 3 lost so much of their clout. Newspapers were always afraid to be too critical. "The Money and The Power", the book Denton and Morris wrote five years ago is interesting if not entirely objective.

I believe it is true that John L. Smith became very gun shy after the Wynn episode. Smith has written a new book, "Sharks in the
Desert: The Founding Fathers and Current Kings of America's Gaming Mecca," coming out next month. It will be available from Barnes and Noble starting August 1.

Mike C commented on the number of Mirage execs who stayed with MGM after Wynn. I believe Bobby Baldwin helped Bellagio maintain as much of its identity as it has, but after five years, he's now such a key person in the MGM hierarchy, with such a high compensation package, he's not going to stand on old principle any more.