On Wednesday afternoon, Clark County, Nevada Public Administrator and Democratic Party official Robert Telles was arrested in connection with the death of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German following a series of stories German had penned about what sources told him was an abusive culture in Telles’s official and an inappropriate relationship with a colleague.
Of course, ABC, CBS, and NBC refused to mention Telles’s party ID in their Thursday morning news programs. If Telles had been a Republican, it’s a safe bet we would hear lectures about how the GOP had made reporting dangerous, democracy died in darkness, and that it was the latest example of right-wing violence after January 6.
“Breaking overnight, an arrest in the murder of an investigative journalist found stabbed to death outside his Las Vegas home. A local politician in custody,” reported ABC’s Good Morning America co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos in a tease.
Co-host Michael Strahan later said that there had been “an arrest” of “a local politician” as part of the investigation into “the murder of a Las Vegas investigative reporter[.]”
Which party was that, Michael.
Correspondent Alex Presha said from Las Vegas that Telles was “waking up behind bars in connection with the murder of a local investigative reporter” following “a standoff on Wednesday” in which Telles allegedly stabbed himself (which led to “non-life-threatening...wounds”).
As for German, Presha explained that he “was found fatally stabbed around 10:30 a.m. Saturday after writing several articles critical of the public administrator's office” amid “allegations of emotional stress, bullying, and favoritism.”
Presha later concluded by footnoting the fact that “Telles is an elected official and lost a primary earlier this year.” But again, no word on which party’s primary that was.
Over on CBS Mornings’s “Watch to Watch” host Vladimir Duthiers shared off the top of the show that “a journalist is murdered in Las Vegas and an elected official he wrote about is arrested.” Again, Telles was merely “an elected official.”
Co-host Tony Dokoupil and correspondent Mark Strassman both called the story “ugly” with Strassman saying that “in a city that is hard to shock, this killing is the talk of Las Vegas” as Telles allegedly murdered German for having published “stories” that “helped end his political career.”
Strassman continued (click “expand”):
STRASSMAN: Earlier, police released footage of their suspect and this vehicle, a red GMC Yukon Denali. Telles was seen with the car matching the description in his driveway, which authorities towed away Wednesday afternoon. Telles had been the subject of a newspaper investigation spearheaded by German in May, describing “allegations of emotional stress, bullying, and favoritism...in the public administrator's office.” That story included further allegations that Telles had an inappropriate relationship with one of his staffers, purportedly seen in this video. He disputed the claims in an interview with German, accusing others of trying to sabotage his office.
TELLES [on 05/19/22]: I am about nothing but justice, fairness, and just being a good person.
STRASSMAN: Back in June, as Telles appeared poised to lose his re-election bid, he appeared to go after German on social media, preemptively calling a followup story a “lying smear piece” and joking that German was “going through our trash” to report it. Police interviewed him Wednesday afternoon.
STRASSMAN: Once Telles was arrested, the executive editor of German's newspaper issued a statement. It reads in part, “we are relieved Robert Telles is in custody. Now we can begin mourning and honoring a great man and a brave reporter.”
Going finally to NBC’s Today, co-host Hoda Kotb dubbed it “mystery in Vegas”: “A local reporter stabbed to death. A Nevada politician, who was the subject of his investigations reportedly in custody in connection with that case.”
Co-host Savannah Guthrie later added that it’s already “a mysterious case” before going to correspondent Erin McLaughlin, who said German was both “an award-winning” and “well-known investigative reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal” whose reporting preceded Telles “los[ing] a primary race in June.”
Even though they couldn't mention his party, all three networks made sure to mention that, prior to police returning with a SWAT team to arrest him, “Telles showed up at his house wearing a white hazmat suit” following an initial law enforcement search of his house.
McLaughlin closed with more on German, but no further details on Telles’s ideology (such as his support for Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 presidential primary) (click “expand”):
MCLAUGHLIN: German was known for uncovering political scandals and corruption. A colleague said the reporter never mentioned any concerns for his safety.
REVIEW-JOURNAL COLUMNIST JEFF KATS: Jeff did not convey that he was in any danger as far as sources who might — or contacts who might want to do him harm.
MCLAUGHLIN: Overnight, the Las Vegas Review-Journal editor saying in a statement, “we are relieved Robert Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official. Journalists can't do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution” and calling German “a great man and a brave reporter.” The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that Jeff German was working on a potential follow-up story about Telles before he was killed. NBC News has reached out to Robert Telles’s team for comment. Police are expected to release more information about the case later today.
Thursday’s case of bias by omission was brought to you by advertisers such as Chevy (on NBC), CVS (on CBS), and Nature’s Bounty (on ABC). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant transcripts from September 8, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).