Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Conflict of Interest: Steve Friess is covering the Michael Jackson criminal case for The New York Times

Remember this next time you consider The New York Times to be "the newspaper of record":

The Times' coverage of the Michael Jackson criminal investigation in Las Vegas is being handled by Steve Freiss, the Las Vegas writer and comp queen who led the campaign to stop news coverage of the secret life and overdose death of local headliner Danny Gans, who later wrote that Michael Jackson's death was "the best thing that could ever have happened to Michael Jackson's music," and is now producing and promoting a Michael Jackson "tribute" show (with ticket packages at $504) at the Palms casino.

If ever a reporter would recuse himself from a story-- or an editor would take a second look at whom he assigns-- this would seem to be the case.

But it is not.

Times readers: Caveat emptor.

(Well aware that he has been the subject of Tabloid Baby investigation since he [but not because he] made an attempt to shut down our site early in the Gans case, Friess, mentions his Times assignment in his blog today. Unfortunately, he also reveals the closeknit, corrupt Las Vegas news culture when he writes from the scene of a raid at a medical office:

"Happily, I have some connections. The fine folks at Miles' TV station, KVBC, let me chill inside their news van."
("Miles" is Miles Smith, executive producer at KVBC TV News, the local NBC affiliate, and Friess' unofficial second husband.)


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