Stephanie Grimes, the features editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, announced today that her boss, the newly installed editor-in-chief Keith Moyer, has fired her after she failed to demonstrate sufficient loyalty to the paper’s new management, the members of which were chosen and installed earlier this year by Sheldon Adelson, the conservative billionaire who purchased the Review-Journal last year. The sudden dismissal is the latest in a string of increasingly contentious internal controversies related to concerns about Adelson’s control over the Review-Journal’s coverage.
Grimes initially broke the news of her firing on Twitter:
I'm no longer at @reviewjournal as of today. No explanation as to why.— stephanie grimes (@stephgrimes) May 5, 2016
It's safe to say they're weeding out people who publicly oppose the bad ethics and journalistic malpractice that's been going on at the RJ— stephanie grimes (@stephgrimes) May 5, 2016
Though Moyer refused to clarify the circumstances Grimes’s firing, telling Politico that “this is a personnel matter,” Grimes elaborated on the events that preceded her dismissal in a lengthy essay on Medium:
There were a few weeks during which it felt as if the newsroom was engaging in open warfare with management. ... I found myself involved without intending to become so: I live-tweeted an internal meeting with a GateHouse representative during which we had a tense discussion about the future of Review-Journal transparency.
Last week during an editors meeting, Keith Moyer told us “my job is hard enough without reporters stabbing me in the back” and threatened to fire people he didn’t feel were loyal to the RJ. ... Keith never made me feel welcome in his newsroom and made it clear in every conversation that he didn’t trust me. It was only a matter of time before he pulled the trigger.
Grimes described one of these conversations on Twitter:
I knew I wasn't going to get along with the new regime during my first meeting with craig, when he started to tell a joke about liberals— stephanie grimes (@stephgrimes) May 5, 2016
Grimes’ firing comes ten days after the departure of Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith, who resigned from the paper after Moyer banned him from writing about Sheldon Adelson and fellow billionaire Steven Wynn, both of whom have unsuccessfully sued Smith for defamation. Adelson and Wynn each own several Las Vegas hotels, and the former is currently pursuing plans to build a $1 billion football stadium, whose costs would be largely underwritten by public funds, in hopes of persuading an N.F.L. franchise to relocate to Las Vegas.
As Grimes notes in her post, the Review-Journal has mostly ceased from publishing critical coverage of Adelson’s local business interests. It has, however, meticulously covered the efforts of Adelson’s parent company, the Las Vegas Sand Corporation, to remove a particular judge from overseeing a wrongful-termination lawsuit against the company.