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Why Does The Las Vegas Review-Journal Suck?

Often referred to in this very blog as garbage, rubbish and cancer-bearing feces, the Las Vegas Review-Journal is without question the very worst newspaper I have ever laid my eyes upon.  Being born and raised in the asshole of the universe, Northeastern Pennsylvania, even the shit-kicker rag that is The Times Leader puts the R-J to shame, and to anyone that ever “went up de Eynon to go to da Sugarmann’s and get a sangwich” or has ever Boscov’d and lived to tell the tale, this speaks volumes.

Worth More than the Las Vegas Review-Journal (photo courtesy:

Worth More than the Las Vegas Review-Journal (photo courtesy:

Granted it’s not all bad. Norm Clarke and Doug Elfman do a fine job, but the rest isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.  Riddled with misinformation for the few stories they actually cover in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Review-Journal is a virtual How-To Guide in sensationalized non-vetted journalism that makes the Weekly World News look like the New York Times and fluff pieces that would even make Tony Robbins roll his eyes.

In what may be the most egregious of fails the R-J has, is in the subject matter to which this very blog is devoted; Food in Las Vegas.  Commonly understood (except for those in the New York press) that Las Vegas is one of the premier culinary destinations on Earth, our local rag busts a nut over Olive Garden’s Eggplant Parmigiana or the important Earth-shattering tip that you can get a Ho-Ho in an Albertson’s.

Their Best of Las Vegas Restaurant picks have long been a running joke in town, which makes us all wonder if the staff at the R-J had either catastrophically burned their tongues at a young age, or are boosting their retirement funds in an off-shore bank account with padded Thank You cards from the shit restaurants that get nods.  My only hope is that their horrible picks are due to gastronomic idiocy rather than journalistic corruption.

Recently, there have been three major events to occur, of which the Las Vegas Review-Journal has had little-to-no coverage.  The first was Rick Moonen’s return to Top Chef Masters.  Here we have the number one champion of sustainable seafood in the world and a James Beard Foundation Award nominee that is a RESIDENT chef in Las Vegas on one of the most popular programs involving food on television, and our local paper must have been getting their nails done on that day.  The Border Grill’s Susan Feniger is also on Top Chef Masters, although not a resident of our little twinkle in the desert.

The second event which received little to no coverage was Executive Chef of Joël Robuchon, Claude le Tohic, WINNING a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest.  One of the most prestigious awards that can be bestowed upon a chef in this country, but the R-J felt its importance was equal to the space it provides for tips on where readers can find evaporated milk and Keebler Onion Crackers.

The third and most severe of the offenses was the utter ignorance of the Vegas Uncork’d events of last week.  Vegas Uncork’d isn’t just a bunch of guys gathered around a barbeque and grilling up weenies. Vegas Uncork’d brought together some of the most important culinary minds on the planet and showcased their talents in that Strip of restaurants on Las Vegas Boulevard that the R-J refuses to believe exists.

Instead of embracing the unparalleled treasure this city has in its culinary offerings, the R-J decides to maintain the ridiculous resentment Las Vegas locals have of this city’s spinal cord; The Las Vegas Strip.  Where they could be informing its readers of the great things our city has, the R-J decides to take the low road and wallow in the OutbacksRed Lobsters and the other big business chains with the bucks at hand to still waste on advertising in the dying breed known as the American Newspaper.  It is a disservice to its readers and a disservice to the advancement of this city as one of the world’s great metropolitan centers.

This nonsensical disdain the R-J has for Las Vegas Boulevard has even caused me to be a schmuck and categorize restaurants in town as “Las Vegas Strip Restaurants” or “Las Vegas Locals Restaurants.”  I can only assure you that this will be done no more.  The last I checked, every resort on Las Vegas Blvd. has “Las Vegas” in their mailing address, so they are all locals restaurants.  There is no reason locals shouldn’t enjoy what tens of millions of visitors enjoy each year.  Many of those restaurants should give us as Las Vegas locals something to be proud of.  Also these restaurants so despised by the R-J and uninformed residents continue to offer significant discounts to those with a Nevada I.D. in their wallets.

Fellow (yet obviously much more well-known) comrades in food, Robin Leach and John Curtas have both been quite vocal in their blogs and tweets about our bush league paper’s lack of coverage.  I feel it is important to echo these concerns.  But, the title to this post and ultimate question, “Why does the Las Vegas Review-Journal suck?” is not meant to be a tee for all of us to kick them around (although that can be quite therapeutic); it is a genuine loaded question to the editors and decision makers over at the R-J on why they continue to allow this city’s primary newspaper to be so shitty.

We all assume it is because of ad space and the politics involved in appeasing the lowest common denominator, but by all means, correct us if we’re wrong.  Show us why having over 70 of the greatest chefs in the world in our valley for four days is not newsworthy, or why having one of the most celebrated chefs and champion of a very timely (oil leak, anyone?) subject such as sustainable seafood that promotes our town on a weekly basis on national television, or why having one of the most highly respected chefs in France now be one of the most highly respected chefs in the U.S. and we’ve had him in our backyard for the last five years not be worthy of your paper and your paper’s readers.

Explain to we-the-curious why it is so important to tell your readers where they can find a jar of Cheez Whiz yet you refuse to tell your readers where they can find a world-class macaron or a responsibly sourced piece of Alaskan Halibut.  Explain to my simple mind why a wait staff can come just short of wiping their ass with your napkin in front of you, yet they still get an “A” for service. Most importantly, explain to us how on God’s Fucking Green Earth that Beso was the Best New Restaurant* on the Las Vegas Strip!

Shame on you, Las Vegas Review-Journal. Shame.

But in all honesty, part of me must thank the R-J.  If the R-J wasn’t such an unmitigated disaster, then people wouldn’t have as much of a reason to turn to blogs to get the information they’re thirsting for.  Without the impenetrable suck of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, our little bubble gum and duct tape operation here at Tasting Las Vegas would not be having the honor of thousands of people reading our little bits from all corners of the globe just 4 1/2 months after our birth.

So, Las Vegas Review-Journal, as a blogger; thank you.  As a Las Vegas resident; eat me.


* – (Update: thanks to commenter Brock Radke for pointing out Beso was Reader’s Pick and Pink’s Hot Dogs was the Staff Pick.  Silly me for giving the R-J the benefit of the doubt of picking the better of two shitholes)

Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas.

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10 comments to Why Does The Las Vegas Review-Journal Suck?

  • stacey

    Norm Clarke totally plugs the Palms and why not? He is comped there all the time including his birthday bash. It is so funny that you claim he is the most honest one.

  • Well, technically I said he does a fine job….but I do find Norm to be a good and honest man. Keep in mind that the Palms is the most celeb-centric resort in town, and with Norm covering that beat, it would make sense that the Palms PR department would be constantly feeding him information for his daily column. Whether he gets comped or not for events is beyond the scope of my knowledge, but I will say that there isn’t one writer in town, including yours truly, that isn’t shown a great deal of generosity from PR firms looking to grease the wheels and get the clients they represent to the forefront of the respective writer’s mind.

    It would make sense for the Palms to do something for his birthday as he is the chief celebrity gossip writer in town, which is precisely what their brand is.

  • Consider it sung! LOL

  • it is easy and fun to criticize rj restaurant coverage and especially best of las vegas. but beso won best new restaurant in the readers’ pick, which means rj readers voted that way. (i’m sure the people at beso loaded the ballots somehow.) the rj staff pick for best new restaurant was pink’s. (not a much better pick.) bolv seems to get worse every year, but at least take some time to understand it before the shit-talking commences. eating and blogging may entitle one to his own opinions about food and restaurants, and the vegas food media world would be best served by more of that and less complaining. food critic or media critic, pick one. tlv, elv, leach … don’t work for the rj and you don’t know how things work there. bloggers have a lot less to contend with than newspaper reporters, columnists and critics (ie editors). you have readers so you are doing something right. why get caught up elsewhere?

  • Hi Brock,

    My bad with Beso, I knew one it was either Pink’s or Beso and (silly me) I gave the R-J the benefit of the doubt of picking Beso.

    I think it is important, as a Las Vegas resident, to call out the only major newspaper in town when they aren’t servicing the residents they represent properly. I’m lucky to have a venue where I have a good number of readers that can now take my little rant and turn it into a conversation that will hopefully build and build until this metropolitan area is serviced with a newspaper it deserves. You know the phrase, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” This was just one big squeak. I’m thankful that both John and Robin are squeaking too.

    Quite frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass with “how things work” at the R-J or any other paper. The only thing I’m concerned with is the end product. The R-J’s end product (and we all know which end it comes from) inhibits the growth and success of any culinary advancement in this town.

    And by the way, since we’re here….can’t we extrapolate your “Why get caught up elsewhere?” line and ask why you commented here? The answer you find for that question might also be part of the answer why I wrote the post in the first place.

  • i’ve commented on your site only to point out a couple of small inaccuracies (the kinds of things editors do) and throw my 2 cents into a conversation that has been developing for years on sites like yours, among many other places real and virtual. i’m not wondering why you wrote a long post about the rj’s suckosity. i’m just distinguishing between criticism of food (which everyone feels qualified to express) and one media outlet criticizing another, which seems to happen a lot regardless of qualification.

  • Meh…editors aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Some allow lines by writers to slip by like saying something would be good to eat after a night at the clubs when the restaurant the food is cooked in closes by midnight (or sometimes 11pm), or say that Oaxaca is a Mexican state in the south Pacific.

    Just sayin’

  • ha. nice. glad to know you’re reading. keep it up, it will only help you get better.

  • LOL….I’ll make sure I take copious notes!

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