The Vegas Notion: Papers Weigh in on Ronstadt Casino Flap

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By: Charles Geraci

The media storm over singer Linda Ronstadt getting booted out of a Las Vegas casino reached as far as the editorial page of The New York Times today, but a local daily, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, has been there from the start, even before the fateful show at the Aladdin.

Today, its columnist Norm Clarke, who writes “Vegas Confidential,” declared that Ronstadt’s dedication of her encore song, “Desperado,” to filmmaker Michael Moore was “only the half of it.”

Meanwhile, the other local daily, the Las Vegas Sun, has weighed in with an editorial charging that the casino boss “overreacted” and “Las Vegas should be embarrassed at her treatment here.”

But today, in the Review-Journal, columnist Clarke claimed that Ronstandt arrived at the casino on Saturday “with an agenda,” having told the paper’s entertainment writer Mike Weatherford (in a story published Friday), “I keep hoping that if I’m annoying enough to them, they won’t hire me back.”

At the time, the paper did note that she said this “laughingly.”

Clarke obtained what it called Ronstadt’s “verbatim quotes” to the audience from the casino. They had Ronstadt complaining that the casino had put up a big billboard calling the show part of a “Greatest-Hits Tour,” which was news to her. “That is something they cooked up here in Vegas … They are good at that,” she said, according to the Aladdin.

Though the paper has written several stories and columns on the eviction since Friday, Editor Thomas Mitchell says the incident is no big deal. “It’s a tempest in a teapot,” Mitchell says. “This is just another entertainer mouthing off. It’s no different than Whoopi Goldberg or anyone else.”

Some guests at the Aladdin spilled their drinks, tore down posters, and demanded their money back, in response to the dedication. The newspaper, however, quoted other concertgoers saying they didn’t know what the fuss was all about and that they had no problem with the song dedication.

The New York Times, in an editorial this morning, knocked those who believe that Ronstadt “had no right to express a political opinion from the stage.” As for those causing the ruckus, it noted that “if their intemperate behavior began to worry the management, then they were the ones who should have been thrown out…”

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