Thursday, June 04, 2009

"The word is... no word": Tom Mitchell and his Las Vegas Review-Journal team wait obediently to be spoonfed answers to the Danny Gans mystery

Danny Gans, a photo worth a thousand words (Leila Navidi/Las Vegas Sun)

"The word is... no word."

If you've come late to the story and want an idea of what's wrong with the Las Vegas news media and its disgracefully lax and irresponsible "coverage" of the death of its local superstar Danny Gans, look no farther than today's "Breaking News" report on the website of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Here it is.

Right here.

Just click.

Never has a newspaper appeared to be more pleased and smug that there is not an answer in the mysterious passing of one of its city's foremost figures and prime economic generators. Rarely is a newspaper, with a newsroom full of aggressive, competitive reporters who know their ship is on the verge of sinking, so obsequious, obedient and... and... incurious as this gang of civic boosters laboring under the fussy mustache and cartoonish Stetson of editor Tom "McCloud" Mitchell.

"The Las Vegas Sun put more
time, effort and column inches into
investigating the final years
of Las Vegas legend Sam Butera,
who died this week at 81, than the
entire local news media combined
have dedicated to the death
of Danny Gans."

To bring you up to date: Last night, beauty queen-turned-TV entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs, Danny Gans' close personal friend (and, with his manager Chip Lightman, guardian and promoter of his myth) somehow got the news that the Clark County Coroner had finally received the results of the long-awaited toxicology report that might explain why this seemingly robust, athletic, teetotaling, healthy-eating Born Again Christian, clean-living, spiritual family man died in his sleep at 52.

This morning, we spoke to the coroner's office. The spokeswoman there wouldn't elaborate beyond what Alicia Jacobs reported. She wouldn't answer our questions about whether steroids or other drugs were involved.

"We're not allowed to give out any information," she claimed.

The local boys though, they got to speak to coroner Mike Murphy. Their secret? They don't ask questions. They listen. They transcribe. They never, ever challenge an answer. They copy down the party line. Their editors sanitize the story even further so even someone like Steve Wynn would approve.

And then the story is released without a byline.

Tom Mitchell, the cowboy-posing pissant who accused our journalistic team of plagiarism and has yet to apologize, will have to take the blame for this one (from which we excerpt a portion):


Cause of death for Gans will take at least two more weeks

The word is... no word. A medical explanation for the death of entertainer Danny Gans at age 52, which shocked Las Vegas last month, is still at least two weeks away.

“It’s not available for release and we’re still poring over the information,” Clark County Coroner Michael Murphy said today about toxicology reports that have now been submitted to a medical examiner. “We’ve gathered what we believe is all the critical information and now we anticipate an answer within the next couple of weeks,” he said, but added that it could take longer.

“You need to remember that Mr. Gans died on May 1 and we’re just at the beginning of June and it takes two to four weeks just to gather that information, so we’re in the right time frame. And once you get all the information, it could create the need to do other testing. But all the initial information is in, so we have to review it and see where it goes.”

Murphy declined to speculate about possible findings. Gans’ family has said he was on medication to control high blood pressure, but otherwise had no health issues as far as they knew.
As the wait for a conclusive cause of death continues, Gans’ manager, Chip Lightman, said the family is “doing as well as can be expected..."

Lightman added that the coroner had promised Gans’ wife, Julie, that she would be the first to be called when test results come in.

Lightman has said that on the night before Gans died, he had slept poorly. Police responded to a call from Gans’ Henderson home at around 3:45 a.m. May 1. Paramedics arrived but could not resuscitate him...

Fellow journos: Have a field day parsing that one.

We'll stick with the most obvious ringers. Interesting that the crack reporters at the Review-Journal allowed themselves to be lectured on process by the controversial coroner, and then reprinted the late, unsubstantiated claim by Lightman and Jacobs that Gans was dealing with high blood pressure-- yet did not bring up national reports of Gans' steroid use ("steroids" being the first word on anyone's lips when Gans' death is discussed).

Even comp queen, Gay Vegas author, former New York Times stringer and Gans cover-up accomplice Steve Friess (left) admitted "Gans' suspected steroid use has been out there for years."

(Just think, Tom. A simple warning about steroids might save the life of a high school athlete.)

The paper also did not comment on word that Gans' wife Julie would be the first to get the results. With all respect to Mrs. Gans, it is all to obvious that the second person to receive the findings will Lightman, who will then get laundry help from Jacobs.

The Las Vegas Sun? Fughedabout it. The Pulitzer winners are running with an Associated Press story. In the end, the Sun today put more time, effort and column inches into investigating the final years of Las Vegas legend and Tabloid Baby pal Sam Butera, who died this week at 81, than the entire local news media combined have dedicated to the death of Danny Gans.

Don't ask, don't tell?

Shame, guys.

Every one of you hiding behind Alicia Jacob's miniskirts might as well be at the end of one of her leashes or inside one of her controversial doggie purses.

Is it fear? Incompetence? Pressure from advertisers and higher-ups?

We'll place our bet on the chance that there's one reporter in the Review-Journal newsroom who's mad as hell and busting at the seams to get the real story out.

You know where to find us. (Find us by clicking here!)

"The word is... no word?" Ask some tough questions. Follow up what you know. You'd be surprised how many words you'd be able to come up with.

Tom Mitchell and his crew have neglected their responsibility and as result are adding to and extending the Danny Gans mystery. They've set the stage for what is bound to be the most disputed and disbelieved post mortem since the report from The Warren Commission.

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