Monday, July 06, 2009

Corporate interest trumped public interest in media coverup of Danny Gans overdose death

Michael Jackson's memorial at the Staples Center tomorrow offers another lesson to the Las Vegas media after its shameful lack of coverage or investigation of the drug overdose death of local superstar Danny Gans. With thousands of free tickets being distributed to Jacko fans, notice that none among of the world's journalists covering the event has expressed amazement that the public has been invited to the service, as some Las Vegas columnists did (dismissing them as "seat fillers") when local fans were invited to Gans' memorial at the Encore Theatre.

The overwhelming expression of admiration and sympathy for Jacko-- and the ability of the public to compartmentalize or dismiss the overwhelming possibility that he was a paedophile who destroyed the life of more than one young boy-- shows that the reporting of his drug habits and faults did not diminish, but in fact, burnished his legend.

The legend of Danny Gans, however, has been permanently dimmed by the actions of the Fourth Estate of Las Vegas-- small timers in a city with a larger cultural shadow than they could possibly understand, trembling in the shadows of the casino magnates and corporate high rollers-- who kept a very suspicious lid on the circumstances of his death, and what is now generally agreed to be, secret life.

One reason appears to be corporate pressure to maintain Gans' previously untarnished image, as evidenced by an article in the Las Vegas Sun this weekend. "New isn't all bad for Las Vegas companies" noted as the leading "positive" example among "layoffs, corporate bankruptcies, lawsuits and commercial loan defaults":

"Cox Communications stepped up and committed to a five-year sponsorship of the 'Danny Gans' Partee Fore Kids!'

"The First Tee of Southern Nevada announced that the 15th Annual Danny Gans’ Partee Fore Kids! will continue in honor of the late entertainer and will be held on Monday, Nov. 2. Cox is sponsoring the tournament to ensure the event will continue in Gans’ name and continue to raise funds to support children in Southern Nevada.

"The tournament draws entertainers and athletes to raise money for The First Tee of Southern Nevada and its Danny Gans Junior Golf Academy. The 2009 Celebrity Pro-Am Memorial Event will honor Gans and will be hosted by Strip headliner Rita Rudner. It will be held at DragonRidge Country Club in Henderson.

"Several years ago, Gans joined The First Tee of Southern Nevada to create the Danny Gans Junior Golf Academy (DGJGA) where all kids are given the opportunity to affordably learn the game of golf and the positive core values that it instills. The DGJGA is operated by The First Tee of Southern Nevada, an organization that positively impacts, through the game of golf, the lives of thousands of youth in Southern Nevada.

"'Our family looks forward to the ongoing outpouring of support for this wonderful community program, which enables young people a chance to learn the great game of golf, which Danny loved so much,' said Gans' widow, Julie. 'It is a sport that helps develop sportsmanship, character and discipline while building potential, encouraging confidence and individuality. We, as did Danny, value the opportunities this program offers the children of the community, their families and what it will mean to their future, whatever path they take.'

"'Danny was an incredible entertainer who was also very dedicated to helping our community, especially children,' said Steve Schorr, vice president of public and government affairs for Cox Las Vegas. 'We wanted to make sure his legacy continued and that children would be able to benefit from the shining example Danny set for years to come.'"

The First Tee is not a religious organization, but relies on corporate partnership and sponsorship, just as the corporations rely on The First Tee to provide them with goodwill publicity.

More valuable dead than alive? Danny Gans is turning out to be like Michael Jackson in more ways than one.

The First Tee's corporate friends (click image to enlarge)

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