Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Sherman Frederick hyped two debunked myths about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the false claim that the Cleveland Clinic is cutting costs as a direct result of the ACA and that "skinny networks" will limit access to quality care.
In his September 28 column, Frederick claimed the truth about the ACA was revealed when Eileen Sheil, corporate communications director for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, said that the clinic would be cutting its budget and making other employment decisions due to the law. The column continued:
Ms. Sheil announced that in order to prepare for Obamacare, the Cleveland Clinic, one of the world's best health care providers, would slash up to 6 percent of its 2014 budget, put some 3,000 employees into early retirement, hold positions vacant longer and, if necessary, lay off employees.
Let that sink in. Just like that, the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic brought to bended knee by Obamacare. If this law can do that to one of our best medical institutions, what's going to happen to the quality of our local hospitals? How will isolated, rural facilities cope?
The problem with Frederick's assertion is that it's not true. The Atlantic reached out to Sheil who "seemed a bit confused by the emphasis on Obamacare in reports" and explained that the clinic had been "working on reducing costs for years" in order to remain viable, and the ACA was just the catalyst to implement those decisions. Fox News' Greta Van Susteren also debunked this myth when she backpedaled on initial Fox reports after speaking with Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the clinic.
Las Vegas Review Journal contributor Sherman Frederick penned a column claiming that state legislators are pushing a new bill seeking to bolster sex education in Nevada because they believe "Nevada girls are easy."
After discussing one Hispanic legislator's support of comprehensive sex education, which Frederick assumes is just teaching students "how to put a Ziploc bag over a cucumber," Frederick determines that the argument the legislator is making is that Hispanic girls are "really, really easy":
As easy as Nevada girls are, you see, Nevada's Hispanic girls are really, really easy. That comes from the mouth of Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas. According to him, that's because Hispanic parents never talk to their children about sex. So government must do it.
Lest you think I am making this up, take a look at this excerpt from the Reno Gazette-Journal's Ray Hagar, who interviewed Kihuen about AB230, and Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, who testified in favor of the bill and revealed that she got pregnant as a teen and had it aborted.
Instead, we have AB230. Social conservatives on one side. Liberals on the other. And wanna-be leaders unwittingly (I hope) contending that not only are Nevada girls easy, Nevada's Hispanic girls are really, really easy.
Frederick claimed that the "Nevada girls are easy" quote comes from a news report by Reno Gazette-Journal's Ray Hager. However, Hager said in a tweet "That's Sherm's quote. I, or anyone I've quoted, did not say that": (click to enlarge)
In the wake of President Obama's announcement that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan, Media Matters looks back at conservative media who attacked his commitment to fighting terrorism. Since his election in 2008, right-wing media figures have repeatedly suggested that Obama is weak on terror and that he is not serious about defending America from terrorism threats.
Earlier this evening, I pointed out that the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Sherman Frederick has stepped down as the paper's publisher; the same article noted that the paper's editor in chief, Thomas Mitchell, would also be stepping down. The article suggested that Frederick was reducing his responsibility due to health issues.
But Steve Friess, a Las Vegas-based freelance journalist who once worked for the Review-Journal and now often writes for Las Vegas Weekly, has a different theory, reporting on his blog that the "real explanation" is that "Harry Reid won":
An extremely knowledgable source at the paper called this move a "shakeout" and a "head slap" from the top, meaning the owners back in Arkansas. He reminded me that the Stephens family are big Washington D.C. players, with banking interests and other issues to deal with in Congress. They may have supported Republican candidates, but the over-the-top efforts by Sherm Frederick and [Review-Journal editor] Thomas Mitchell to support Sharron Angle and unrelentingly beat up on the Senate Majority Leader was exceptional. It was nasty and personal and harmed the reporters' ability to have their work taken credibly, but even more importantly, if the Stephens clan wanted to make nice with Harry Reid, the only way to do it was to get rid of Frederick and Mitchell.
In a follow-up post, Friess writes that he is "fairly confident" and has "sources that have provided some proof" that Reid's victory "played a pretty big part" in the replacement of Frederick and Mitchell.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that Sherman Frederick is stepping down effective immediately from his longtime position as publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and as CEO of its parent company, Stephens Media:
The Las Vegas Review-Journal today named a new publisher to replace longtime publisher Sherman Frederick.
Bob Brown, advertising director of the newspaper since 2001, was named publisher of the newspaper effective immediately.
Frederick also stepped down effective immediately as chief executive officer of Stephens Media, owner of the Review-Journal. He will be replaced by Michael Ferguson, the company's current chief operating officer.
Frederick will remain with Stephens Media in a consultant role and write a weekly column for Stephens Media newspapers.
Stephens Media owner Warren Stephens announced Frederick's new role today.
"I am pleased that Sherm will remain with the company," Stephens said. "Sherm has had a long and distinguished journalism career. I am glad we will be able to retain his writing talents for the newspaper."
"It's been a hard summer for me," said Frederick, who underwent back-to-back prostate and heart bypass surgeries. "I'm looking forward to a more measured pace for a while, as well as my new duties with the company."
In March, Media Matters documented how Frederick's blog posts and columns have been rife with smears, factual errors, and conspiracy theories about Democrats. Media Matters' Joe Strupp subsequently reported that members of the Nevada journalism community responded to the report with harsh criticism for Frederick, with Jon Ralston, a former Review-Journal columnist who now writes for the Las Vegas Sun, saying, "It is one thing for someone to be a local embarrassment; it is another thing to be a national embarrassment."
Yesterday FoxNews.com reported that a former low-level staffer allegedly lied to federal investigators about her marriage -- prior to going to work for Reid's office. In that article, FoxNews.com gave no indication that Reid or anyone in his office had any knowledge of the investigation or the alleged wrongdoing.
Enter the Review-Journal. While pushing the Fox News smear, Frederick adds:
The Reid folks ain't sayin' much other than to suggest it's a GOP trick. Only problem, it happened on Obama's watch and involves several federal agencies.
In fact, Reid's spokesman are saying that Reid and his office did not know about the allegations until being informed by Fox News, at which time Reid's office conducted an investigation and severed its relationship with the staffer, Diana Tejada. The allegations never resulted in criminal charges against Tejada.
Moreover, contrary to Frederick's claim that "it happened on Obama's watch," the marriage in question occurred in 2003, and Tejada reportedly issued the false statements to federal investigators in 2004 and in 2008. According to the FoxNews.com article Frederick links to, Tejada "broke down and confessed that her marriage was a lie" in November 2008 and filed for divorce in December 2008 -- prior to Obama's inauguration.
In a blog post headlined "Is Sen. Reid physically up to the job?" Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick compiled a devastating case to support his assertion that "something's wrong with Sen. Harry Reid." For example, did you know that during a recent debate, Reid "mixed up the Department of Energy with the Department of Education"? And what happened when "Sharron Angle told him to 'man-up' " in that same debate? Reid "had no retort," according to Frederick. (I'd suggest it's possible that Reid had "no retort" because he didn't expect to be told to "man up" during a campaign debate for a seat in the United States Senate, rather than, say, during a pickup basketball game.)
When you're talking about a public figure whose words are catalogued almost constantly by the press, it's not difficult to pick out instances of misspeaking. It seems pretty low to turn Reid's misstatements into evidence that there's something "wrong" with him, especially considering that Frederick's blog post pivots on the mini-stroke that Reid had more than five years ago.
Frederick didn't limit his attack on Reid's fitness for office to misstatements -- ridiculous right-wing talking points came into play, too.
Right-wing media have attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her statement that unemployment insurance stimulates the economy and creates jobs, calling her remarks "laughable" and "lunacy." In fact, economists agree that extending unemployment insurance has a strong stimulative effect on GDP and employment during a recession.
In a June 3 blog post, Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick demonstrated that his daily reading consists primarily of the Drudge Report. Frederick picked up on an article linked to by Drudge from the New Scientist reporting that there are some islands in the Pacific that are growing in response to rising tides. In a post titled "More global warming debunked," Frederick reprinted portions of the article and concluded: "Paging American liberals: Isn't it time for a little public confession on this spectacularly wrong environmental bed time story?"
Of course, nothing in the article debunks global warming. And putting aside the validity of the study, the article itself states that the scientists behind the study "warn that while the islands are coping for now, any acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise could overtake the sediment build up" and "no one knows how fast the islands can grow." And the article also quotes an expert stating that "it's not possible to simply move people living in urbanised areas to new land."
But other than that, this one article obviously proves that global warming is a "spectacularly wrong environmental bed time story."
Sherman Frederick is the publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He is also a columnist and a blogger.
More than anything, he is a hack.
Take Frederick's latest (lack of) effort. He's still trying to squeeze blood from a stone in his continued war on Sen. Harry Reid. In his first attempt to suggest Reid was guilty of colluding with disgraced governor Rod Blagojevich, Frederick reprinted an entire email attack from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
In a May 1 blog post titled "Obama affair?" Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick wrote:
The Internet is re-exploding today with a story about an alleged affair in 2004 between Sen. Barack Obama and a bombshell campaign worker by the name of Vera Baker.
Inquiring minds may Google (or Bing) "Obama Affair Vera Baker".
Frederick is proving once again that he will publish any smear of Obama and the Democrats no matter how poorly sourced and dated it is. For the publisher of a major American newspaper to be engaged in spreading salacious rumors is disgraceful.
(Side note: Why does Frederick call Baker a "bombshell campaign worker"?)
But the funny thing is, Frederick encourages his readers to search Google for more information about the affair. In fact, Media Matters' Jeremy Schulman did just that:
A quick Google and Nexis search, for instance, reveals that the story is little more than years-old, rehashed rumors that have long been denied and have never been supported with anything approximating credible evidence.
Inquiring minds may instead want to Google "Sherman Frederick conservative misinformation."
If there's any lingering doubt that the Las Vegas Review-Journal -- and specifically publisher Sherman Frederick's columns and blogs -- are little more than a dumping ground for conservative misinformation, Frederick's latest attempt to smear Sen. Harry Reid should end the debate.
Frederick is playing guilt by association, linking Reid to discredited former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich because of a phone call the two shared on the subject of Illinois' open Senate seat. And in order to do so, Frederick reprints an entire email from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Frederick says, "Republicans are licking their chops in hopes the wire-tapped conversation will make Reid look bad. Here's an e-mail from the GOP spin headquarters tee-ing up Reid for that day." Frederick also says, "here's the GOP side of things. Enjoy."
Let's stop right there.
The "GOP side of things"?? This is all just a GOP-driven baseless smear campaign against Reid. This isn't a he-said, she-said debate.
It is not news that Reid and Blagojevich spoke. Even the email Frederick reprints acknowledges this has been reported before.
So what's new?
Well, Blagojevich spoke to Fox News' Greta Van Susteren earlier this week and mentioned that he spoke to Reid.
That prompted the GOP to put out a press release -- reprinted in its entirety by Frederick -- baselessly suggesting that Reid has done something wrong.
Frederick's continued smear campaign against Reid is embarrassing for the state of Nevada and for the profession of journalism.
Last month, Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick responded to criticism from Media Matters in part by writing:
The good news is that Media Matters doesn't mean much when it comes to actual readers. They've posted their bile for several days and only garnered five comments. Five comments? Hell, I can get five comments by posting a blog that says "the sky is blue."
We responded by noting that Media Matters ranked far higher in traffic than the website of the Las Vegas Review-Journal in the "several days" after the item was published. But since Frederick apparently thinks reader comments are extremely important, it seems worth pointing out how his readers have utterly savaged his latest attack on our partner organization, Media Matters Action Network.
In his April 11 column, Las Vegas Review Journal Sherman Frederick is yet again taking his cues from Fox News and the Drudge Report, highlighting an AP article which reported that "about 47 percent [of U.S. households] will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009."
Frederick's reaction: "This, folks, is socialism, American-style. If not corrected, it threatens to end America as we know it."
He also quotes a CPA friend of his who says: "Obama is getting what he wants. A Marxist state. Shame on us for letting this happen."
In two separate blog posts and a weekly column, Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick responded to criticism from Media Matters by attacking the organization as "intellectually criminal" and "little more than a tool of government." However, he has yet to actually rebut any of the substance of the original item documenting his falsehoods and smears.
Frederick claimed that "'Media Matters' criticism should be a badge of courage for any non-Kool-Aid drinking journalist." And he suggested that there is some sort of conspiracy involving Media Matters, Sen. Harry Reid and the IRS:
The more troubling question that should interest independent minds is why Media Matters reaches all the way out to Nevada to squirt its partisan poison.
Might it have anything to do with Sen. Harry Reid's election woes? He has already said he hopes the Review-Journal, his chief critic in Nevada, goes out of business. And then Media Matters pops up to help? Maybe it's just a coincidence. You'll forgive me, however, if I brace myself for a "random" IRS audit and maybe a couple of unannounced federal inspections down at the newspaper.
Frederick also wrote in his latest column:
The good news is that Media Matters doesn't mean much when it comes to actual readers. They've posted their bile for several days and only garnered five comments. Five comments? Hell, I can get five comments by posting a blog that says "the sky is blue." For the curious, you can catch my blog and other Las Vegas news at "lvrj.com."
Actual readers? Let's see:
The original item cataloguing Frederick's falsehoods was posted on March 22. As you can see, Media Matters ranked far higher in traffic than the website of the Las Vegas Review-Journal in the "several days" since the item was published.
Frederick also responded to Joe Strupp's blog post today, which noted criticism from observers and former employees of the Review-Journal, including this comment from Jon Ralston:
"Those who are critical of the Review-Journal were thrilled to see someone assemble many of his inflammatory pieces in one place," said Jon Ralston, a former Review-Journal columnist who now writes for the Las Vegas Sun. "It is one thing for someone to be a local embarrassment; it is another thing to be a national embarrassment."
Frederick responded to Strupp and Ralston:
It is worth noting that after calling everybody they could, the only working journalist they could get on the record was Jon Ralston, a competitor who likes to think he's the king of political reporting in Nevada. In fact, he's a cracked bell journalistically -- very unreliable when it comes to the big stories in which certain "sources" seem to be able to get to him and spin him.
Frederick also wrote:
I invite you to take a look at the Media Matters site, to view for yourself how this intellectually criminal outfit tries to pass itself off as a journalism site. In fact it is all about politics they don't agree with. I'm surprise [sic] they haven't taken issue with my movie reviews and restaurant recommendations.
Not yet, anyway.