Harry Reid cheers unemployment in Las Vegas media!

That, I think, is a better takeaway than the “threat” meme resulting from Harry Reid’s bon mot with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which has been highly critical of the Senate Majority Leader.  Reid went out of his way to be rude to an advertising manager at the LVRJ during a luncheon, then tried clumsily to claw backwards a bit later.  Nevertheless, the LVRJ took Reid to task for his attack:

On Wednesday, before he addressed a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Reid joined the chamber’s board members for a meet-‘n’-greet and a photo. One of the last in line was the Review-Journal’s director of advertising, Bob Brown, a hard-working Nevadan who toils every day on behalf of advertisers. He has nothing to do with news coverage or the opinion pages of the Review-Journal.

Yet, as Bob shook hands with our senior U.S. senator in what should have been nothing but a gracious business setting, Reid said: “I hope you go out of business.”

Later, in his public speech, Reid said he wanted to let everyone know that he wants the Review-Journal to continue selling advertising because the Las Vegas Sun is delivered inside the Review-Journal.

Does anyone dispute that this remark was rude, mean-spirited, and petty, especially considering Reid’s lofty position?   I doubt it.  However, Sherman Frederick at the LVRJ reads just a little too much into it:

But to fully capture the magnitude of Reid’s remark (and to stop him from doing the same thing to others) it must be called what it was — a full-on threat perpetrated by a bully who has forgotten that he was elected to office to protect Nevadans, not sound like he’s shaking them down. …

If he thinks he can push the state’s largest newspaper around by exacting some kind of economic punishment in retaliation for not seeing eye to eye with him on matters of politics, I can only imagine how he pressures businesses and individuals who don’t have the wherewithal of the Review-Journal.

Eh.  What was the threat?  Reid may wish on the next falling star that the LVRJ’s ad dollars dry up?  The US Senate has nothing to do with a local newspaper, so Harry Reid’s ability to threaten Frederick’s paper is extremely limited.  He might have friends in Nevada who can cause them trouble, but even these days, most politicians know better than to strongarm newspapers over editorial policy.  Buying them off works better, at least in Chicago.  Given Reid’s rapidly-dropping popularity in Nevada, I doubt that anyone would take that seriously as a threat outside of the LVRJ’s newsroom.

To me, it’s only slightly more sinister than the oft-expressed sentiment in the blogosphere that certain newspapers go out of business, with the New York Times at the top of the list.  As consumers, we probably have more power in the aggregate to effect that than Reid does with the LVRJ.

Susan Ferecchio has a better take at the Washington Examiner:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could be facing one of the toughest re-election battles of his career and while he has pronounced himself ready and eager for the fight, there is evidence the pressure might be getting to him.

Reid last week fully antagonized the Las Vegas Review-Journal Newspaper, which has been critical of him, by reportedly telling its advertising director “I hope you go out of business” while the two shook hands at a Chamber of Commerce event. …

While Reid may perceive the paper’s treatment of him unfair, it employs more than 100 people. The unemployment rate in Las Vegas, meanwhile, jumped this month to more than 13 percent, according to the Sun.

That sounds like two better angles.  Reid is losing his cool and showing that the barbs are sticking to his flesh — and he wants to see people unemployed in Las Vegas.  One can make the latter argument about his entire legislative agenda of high spending, pork projects, and government control.

I’m certain I’ll get a lot of disagreement on this, so let’s poll Hot Air readers: