Las Vegas Review-Journal Takes Hits from “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal and its owner Sheldon Adelson took some jabs on the most recent installment of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.”

Host John Oliver devoted a portion of his Aug. 7, 2016 episode to the challenges facing the world of journalism, and broached the subject of problems arising from newspapers being owned by bajillionaires.

One of those bajillionaires, Sheldon Adelson, purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and ever since there’s been an exodus of experienced reporters as well as concerns about the publication’s ability to cover stories related to Adelson’s business concerns.

Adelson Last Week Tonight

We would make a sharky comment about Sheldon Adelson were it not for the fact he currently employs more lawyers than China, France and Germany combined.

Sheldon Adelson is the Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns Venetian,
Palazzo and the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

During the journalism segment, “Last Week Tonight” explains Adelson’s “businesses are at
the center of a lot of the stories the Review-Journal covers.”

John Oliver goes on to state, “There could not be a worse owner of a paper in Vegas than
Sheldon Adelson, with the possible exception of Cirque du Soleil. Because they wouldn’t
even give you a newspaper, you’d just have a fistful of glitter thrown in your face by a
90-pound man in a thong.”

Last Week Tonight Cirque

We are not aware of any Cirque show in Las Vegas that utilizes glitter, but let’s not get bogged down in details.

A highlight of the segment, though, is a satirical commercial for a “Spotlight”-inspired film. The piece shows a news team balancing hard-hitting news with Web-friendly fluff pieces that strive to get lots of clicks, “likes” and retweets. (A scenario, we should say, which plays itself out in local Las Vegas media daily.)

The mock movie trailer includes a review of the movie by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Last Week Tonight Review-Journal

Fun fact: Before appearing on SNL and in awful movies like “We’re the Millers,” Jason Sudeikis used to perform with Second City in Bugsy’s Celebrity Theater at Flamingo.

Here’s video of the segment on “Last Week Tonight.” Skip to 12:20 for the Vegas stuff.

While delivered with a humorous bent, the “Last Week Tonight” segment about the dilemma faced by newspapers made some thoughtful, nuanced points we didn’t entirely understand.

But we really enjoyed the part about the raccoon cat. Totally sharing it on Facebook.

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  • Oscar

    “Comedians” like Oliver, Bee, Noah, et al are just fine when a lefty guy like Jeff Bezos buys a major newspaper. But when some big mean businessman buys a mid-size newspaper, they clutch their pearls all of a sudden because journalism. They can all take a flying you know what.

    • NHBill603

      Bezos was mentioned in the Oliver piece too but you would not know that hiding in your bunker cleaning your guns.

    • That’s because Bezos has by and large kept his hands off the journalism side of the Post, while Adelson maintains tight control over what the LVRJ publishes. But you go on thinking it’s liberal bias, bless your heart.

      • Oscar

        And you can verify this how champ, from your board meetings at the WaPo?

      • Truth. This isn’t opinion, it’s been confirmed by staffers. Related: If I ever start a band, you know it’s going to be called Liberal Bias.

  • Bouldersteve

    Newspapers all over the country are going out of business. Even big city papers like the New York Times lose money. These billionaires buy newspapers like you and I would buy a sports car..its not a investment..its just a toy. I read Adelson bought the RJ as a birthday gift for his wife. Adelson will sell it after he gets tired of losing money.Unfortunatly there may be no one interested in buying it by then.

  • I was thinking

    Journalism is dead. There are a few honest journalist left though. All newspapers have a bias and are not even hiding it now. WSJ is the closest media outlet to not having a bias but the opinion editorial page is a whole different story.

    The blogger is a hard core leftist. Follow for awhile now, I dont care if he is or not but its obvious he goes out of his way to bash the right when he can. Dont delete this comment – i still like your site.

    • I don’t think I’m a hardcore anything, but I definitely have leftward leanings. (I can’t remember an instance of expressing my political views on this blog, though, or in social channels related to this blog. Examples?) That’s not what this article is about, though. It’s about how our local paper is perceived in the world. Mostly it’s about funny jokes.

      • I was thinking

        Followed for years, some sentences you throw in shows signs of your leanings. I am not going to go through all of your updates, it will take forever to point it out. I dont think its intentional on your part but you can tell if you are a political junkie. I love Las Vegas and go every quarter. No biggie Scott, I like your site and you and enjoy your updates.

        • Fair enough. If you see other mentions you think exhibit my political views, please let me know. I’ve been careful not to bring those opinions separate and distinct from this blog. While it’s a forum for me to have any opinions I want to express, political views tend to be the most boring, so I avoid them.

      • Oliver

        Also, Wally uses multiple pseudonyms.

    • “I don’t care if he is or not”, he says, after typing multiple comments indicating the contrary.

      • I was thinking

        I pointed out who he is. Giving context on the reasoning for his post. I dont care if he is or not. You must believe everything the media tells you.

      • I. Love. The. Internet. So. Much. Thanks, Adam.

  • Bill B

    As a Brit that reads all things Vegas, I look at the LVRJ & see a less politically biased publication than it’s competitor the LV Sun.
    Sometimes news is so distorted by journalists it appears to be their personal blog rather than a news medium.

    • All papers are run by humans, who have their biases, of course. It’s just weird when an owner is so involved in the industry being covered by the publication. It casts doubt on everything.

  • Wally Marshall

    Articles like this put a bad taste in my mouth and about Vital Vegas as they seem to be developing a political bias.

    • I appreciate the sentiment, but what was the bias shown here, btw? There’s nothing political in here, I don’t think. Am I missing something? this is about journalism and the media, not politics, despite Sheldon Adelson having a stellar track record for choosing losing candidates. But that fact isn’t even in the post. “)

      • I was thinking

        It was an obvious hit piece. Oliver is a leftist and puts a slant in his show. Do you see how Oliver portrays Sheldon as a rich “Republican” but does not put any labels on Bezos. MSM does this alot, it creates a narrative. A host of a show has a panel of 4 and has 3 Dems but introduces them with no labels and then there is 1 person that will be introduced as a “Conservative Republican.” I guess he is the evil one lets gang up on him. I guess Bezos is a great guy with no influence and bias and WP are the good news source without no bias. The team at WP are happy of Bezos because most are all the same and very bias. It is obvious with their reporting before and after Bezos. Lets not talk about Carlos Slim with the NYT or the Saudis with their influence with media. I can go on and on about MSM with their bias and the executives who all have ties to Dem leadership. Creating a narrative is what they do and Oliver is no exception. You should check out Newsbusters to get some examples.

        Anyhow, I dont want to get into a political war on your site. Election season brings out alot of narratives, many here probably want to get away from the political world and visit a fun site like yours.

        I have no hard feelings, I enjoy your site and will continue to visit.

        • I completely missed the hit piece element of this. It’s a statement about the state of journalism. Adelson is a great example of the potential problems.

      • Oliver

        Scott, the post was great. Wally has been trolling the LVRJ comment section for yearsssss [that’s the depressing part]

        He has a peculiar objection to marijuana legalization, calls non-smoking supporters “dopers.” Anyone left of Ted Cruz is immediately disregarded as a “libtard.” And anyone that disagrees with him is called a “poster.” He has a “put the lotion on the skin” way of talking… [that’s the creepy part]

        Sheldon Adelson’s hindrance on LVRJ is irrefutable. I noticed the “Pot News” tab under the “News” tab coincidentally vanished from LVRJ 5 months before the vote for legalization. Hmmmmm

        http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/pot-news still works, just no updates at a time when there are A LOT of updates out there.

        • Thanks. Wally’s always been a great commenter here and hope he’ll continue to be. (Although any variant of “tard” in these comments will be deleted immediately.) Wasn’t aware of that removal of that tab! Very interesting, thanks.