Harry Reid cheerleaders

Reporters, editors and columnists at the Las Vegas Sun ought to dress up in cheerleader outfits for as much as they hide the news and, as the old song goes, "accentuate the positive" of Sen. Harry Reid as he faces a tough re-election campaign.

That's what the L.A. Times essentially says in this assessment of newspaper treatment of Reid in the race.

Media critic Jim Rainey says in a blog item entitled: "Las Vegas papers take sides on Harry Reid-Sharron Angle race" that while the R-J "crusades to take down" Sen. Reid "the liberal Las Vegas Sun persistently finds bright spots for Reid, a Senate leader who has long since worn out his welcome with most of the state's voters."

Rainey also recounts how "Sun staffers winced" in February when the Sun's owner wanted to publish an editorial praising Reid on the front page. They talked him out of the editorial, but couldn't talk him out of a headline that said "Double Thank You, Mr. Reid."

"Hardly modeled evenhandedness," Rainey wrote.

Rainey also asked Sun bosses to show him stories critical of Reid, to which they (pathetically, I might add) pointed to a feature on Reid's initial campaign swing through rural Nevada in which Reid was called "widely despised."

Rainey poked fun at that "evidence" saying, "Now that's reporting." If he really wanted to poke fun at the Sun, he might take a long look at how Sun Columnists Jon "I Heart Harry Reid" is covering the race. Totally unbalaced in favor of Reid and Democrats in general.

Rainey gets his digs in at the R-J, too. And I'm OK with Rainey or anyone pointing out that editorially we have heartburn with how Sen. Reid has mismanaged his position for Nevadans who elected him to Washington. His fiscal policies, which are exactly that of President Obama, are wrecking this country. We're not afraid to make that commentary on our editorial pages. We're also not afraid to let others who disagree with us make their defense of Sen. Reid and President Obama on our editorial pages.

But in our news pages we play it straight. I promise you that if I or editor Tom Mitchell walked into the R-J newsroom and told them we were going to pull punches in the news coverage to help a politician -- as Brian Greenspun did at the Sun with his "double thank you" Page One headline (and it wasn't the first time, by the way), we'd get more than a wince from the newsroom. They'd challenge us to justify the journalistic integrity of it. And they'd be right.