Thursday, May 07, 2009

What are they hiding? Las Vegas journo Steve Friess calls us "a**holes" for asking questions about the mysterious death of Danny Gans

It’s one thing for Las Vegas journo Steve Friess to give us an honest reaction to our question about why he and his fellow professionals have done no investigation into the very mysterious and untimely death of local headliner and religious figure-in-the-making Danny Gans.

It’s quite another for him to go online and call us “asshole” and “vermin” and accuse this site of spreading “hatred” by doing basic reporting.

But that’s what Steve Friess is doing this morning.

In a brash and rash move that is bound to do harm to his standing in the national journalistic community, the man who bills himself as a journalist with credits including "Newsweek, The New York Times, Time, Boston Globe, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, US News & World Report, San Francisco Chronicle, People, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, Denver Post, Reuters, Travel + Leisure, Baltimore Sun, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, America West, The Advocate, Out, Genre, TimeOut New York, Editor & Publisher, South China Morning Post, Korea Herald, and others,” has gone into public personal attack mode after we asked privately why local journalists have not investigated the Gans death story.

In a post titled: “From the Files of ICK!” he writes of

“Two gross things popped up today worth being shamed:

"1. Moonlite Bunny Ranch's Disgusting Publicity Stunt…"


"2. DANNY GANS HATE BLOSSOMS ANEW. A man is dead. A family and community is in mourning. Toxicology reports will be finished soon enough to reveal the cause. And what does this asshole want to know? He wants to know why the Pulitzer-winning media in Las Vegas isn't badgering the shit out of Gans' confidants and paramedics to get to the bottom of what killed the man. And in the absence of this pressing use of precious journalistic resources, the same asshole is implying inappropriate relationships Danny did not have and taking words by Robin Leach out of context to imply there's some news on Gans' demise.

"I wouldn't have known except that I think this Perez Hilton wanna be (and I can't imagine why anyone would wanna be one of those vermin) thought I might be a kindred spirit and emailed me to ask me why the Vegas media hasn't dug into this most pressing issue of our time. To which I responded thusly:

"'Uh, because until the toxicology reports come back it would be irresponsible and inappropriate for legitimate reporters to write baseless speculation...'"

You can read the rest of his email here.

But hold on a second: “Badgering the sh*t out of Gans’ confidants and paramedics”? Wasting “precious journalistic resources?" These same journalist resources have gone into overtime to get comments from and fill column inches with laudatory quotes from people like Steve Rossi.

We’d settle for a tape of the 911 call.

Look, we realize that Vegas is a company town and that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but let’s get a few things straight:

Danny Gans was a superstar. According to KVBC, he was a religious leader. A local reporter who boasted of a close personal relationship with him claimed to have been informed of his death within 15 minutes of the call to paramedics. She also claimed to have received many text messages from him in the hours before his death. The first word that comes out of the mouth of every insider we've spoken to is "steroids." Katsilometes in the Sun hinted at it.

Baseless speculation?

We're reporters, pallie. This is raw meat to reporters.

We don’t need to pull out our credentials when it comes to our history with, or love and support of Las Vegas and its headliners from Jerry Lewis to Sam Butera to Cook E. Jarr to Wayne Newton. We simply find it hard to believe that a man who bills himself as a journalist would consider it to be inappropriate or hateful to go beyond official statements from resort owners and police public information officers to bring readers some semblance of the truth.

And Perez Hilton does a pretty good job.

Shame on Steve Friess.