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Je Suis Charlie
"Our republic and its press will rise or fall together." — Joseph Pulitzer

Requiescat in pace
University of Nevada Journalism Prof. Emeritus and longtime Sparks Tribune columnist Jake Highton passed away of a heart attack on Aug. 7, 2017. Adios on Labor Day weekend. More information as it develops. May the great teacher rest in peace from work well done and a life well-lived.

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"Media is the plural of mediocre."
— Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017)

¡Viva Chávez!
César Chávez Celebration XVI / Celebración de César Chávez XVI
Saturday 31 March 2018
/ Sabado 31 de Marzo 2018

Highlights from the record-breaking 2017 event at Circus Circus Reno

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   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes.
Everybody knows...
Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What everybody knows...
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   and a long red rose.
   Everybody knows. Everybody knows.
That's how it goes.
Everybody knows.

I hope you understand I just had to go back to the island.
Leon Russell, 1942-2016

True confessions of Nevada's undercover Republican PR man
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the 8-23-2017 Sparks Tribune / Updated 8-24-2017 / Expansions in blue

Greatest Hits Dept.


Support Don Dondero next
Note: Alas and alack, Dondero did not make it in 2015 or 2016.
Make this the year!

Barbwire wins 7th Nevada Press Association award


6-pack: BRONZE 2014
Hopelessly trying to win an earthquake / 4-18-2013

The 2013 Loony Tunes Legislative Lexicon / 5-30-2013

The politics of media ga-ga boosterism / 3-20-2014

We Don't Need No Education—> Neverending Barbwire Series

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Reruns on Carson-Dayton 226

Additional programs
on Boulder City cable. Go to and then
go to the BCTV link.

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions — new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.

Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


Click here for selected on-demand re-runs from the Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
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My name is Andrew. I'm a political junky and undercover media operative for three Republican presidents.

It all started with Ronald Reagan in 1975 when a radio salesman offered my ad agency exclusive sponsorship of "Ronald Reagan's American Viewpoint," a syndicated commentary feature. I knew that the recently retired California governor could sell some mobile homes and recommended it to a client who promptly wallpapered the region with billboards promoting the show.

The package included transcripts of Reagan's remarks which my client made available free at his office. They did brisk business. I still have them in storage. When Reagan ran for president the second time in 1980, I dug them out looking for some embarrassing contradictions. There were none. The scripts, which Reagan personally penned, were content-free cotton candy.

When Reagan began making noise to challenge President Gerald Ford in 1976, Newsweek Magazine published a report entitled "What Reagan Stands to Lose" featuring his widely circulated and lucrative radio deal illustrated by my outdoor campaign (22 Sept. 1975, page 21).

Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., later hosted a Reagan dinner at Harrah's sponsored by the Reno Philharmonic Symphony Association. (5 Oct. 1975) The late Founder/Music Director/Conductor Gregory Stone liked Republicans. (Ironically, my good friend the late maestro was Russian.) My client bought a table and ordered billboards circling the hotel.

After Reagan spoke, everyone had the opportunity to meet the future president. As with his radio material, Reagan's speech was well-presented Pablum that gave me indigestion. I just went home.

In 1986, one of my clients had tickets to see Vice-President George HW Bush at Reno High. As I stood in line, two wire service reporters walked by. I asked if they had seen that morning's Wall Street Journal. I informed them that the pre-Murdoch bible of conservatism had trashed Bush the Elder on the front page for his cliché-filled campaign speeches.

The next day, the Reno Gazette-Journal and newspapers nationwide all led with stories about presidential hopeful Bush's stale canned remarks.

Once again, I had engineered a major media coup for a Republican president. One would think my reputation would precede me when it came time for Obama and Hillary to campaign in these parts. Perhaps it did.

I was never invited to any Obama event. Hillary Clinton went one better and disinvited me from a face-to-face in 2016.

Maybe she had seen my "Democrats for Trump" lampoon in this and other papers. Alas, the lady exhibited no sense of humor even after I cheekily predicted the identity of Trump's running mate: Jennifer Lopez, based on her most prominent qualification.

I missed Jimmy Carter at Park Lane Mall in early 1976 but got a second chance when he came to Carson City to campaign for his son, Jack, a 2006 candidate for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent John Ensign. Jimmy and Rosalyn showed up on the capitol grounds but the ex-prez said nary a word to the expectant crowd. I treated him as I had treated Reagan three decades before and left along with my carload of likewise disappointed friends.

I've scored major media for three Republican presidents and never got a word of thanks. Despite my impressive track record, Democrats proved worse.

Save one. Sen. Bernie Sanders was afraid of neither the Barbwire nor the mighty Tribune. I interviewed the great man thrice. He even autographed his Rolling Stone cover for me.

So now you know the checkered past of Nevada's Undercover Republican Presidential PR Man. (Links documenting this sordid story may be accessed via the expanded online edition of this column.)

Mr. President, call me when you hit town today. I have a long-overdue invoice to present.

AWAKE FOR JAKE. Appreciation and adios for late UNR journalism legend and Tribune columnist Jake Highton will appropriately happen on Labor Day weekend; 3:00 p.m. Saturday, September 2 in the UNR library rotunda. (Bureaucrats call it a "knowledge center." Remember the great George Carlin's warning about adding syllables and subtracting meaning?)

Better there than that firetrap theater atop the student union. (Barbwire 12 Dec. 2013)

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)

ONLINE EXTRAS —> Updates from last week

Barbwire Molly Ivins Memorial Columniator Hall of Flames
(As of 8-16-2017 in order of induction)

Ned Day
Hank Greenspun
Guy Richardson
Bob Brown
Mike O'Callaghan
Travus T. Hipp
Jake Highton

Tribune Columnist, UNR Journalism Professor Jake Highton Dies at 86
By Kayla Anderson
Sparks Tribune 8-16-2017

JAKE: Memories, accolades and occasional aspersions
Remembrance gathering Sept. 2


MR. EQUALITY AND JUSTICE IS DEAD. Jake Highton died of a heart attack on August 7.

I recently placed Jake in the Barbwire Molly Ivins Memorial Columniator Hall of Flames, an exclusive club with just two entry requirements. Your writing must have serious impact. And you gotta be dead.

"Only six Nevadans stand immoralized therein," I wrote last April 4. "It's time to waive the rules for a lucky seventh, my longtime Sparks Tribune colleague in columny Jake Highton.

"His widely published and prolific writings pale in comparison to his impact on generations of UNR journalism students. Every one I've met or labored alongside remarked upon Jake's awesome influence.

"So welcome aboard, old son. You're Lucky No. 7 while still around to enjoy it. We'll work on the Nevada Press Association HOF right after Don Dondero gets voted in."

Jake now rides eternally with the Magnificent 7. Long may he run.

YOUR DON THANKS YOU. My sincere gratitude goes to readers who called or wrote the Nevada Press Association Board of Directors ahead of the Aug. 4 hall of fame vote. It's my sincere hope that erstwhile Tribune and world-famed photographer Dondero (1920-2003) finally receives long overdue respect. We'll know soon if there will be a larger than usual delegation to the NPA state convention next month in Carson City, Dondero's home town.

I hope so because we have to work for Jake's installation next year. He will nonetheless be honored at the event.

You will find remembrances, selected Highton columns and articles from other publications linked to the expanded online edition of this column at

NVEnergy SECURITY BREACH? After I paid my July power bill, I awaited the usual confirmation. Just before it arrived to an unpublished e-mail address, I got two pieces of spam to that same address.

The subject lines stated "Second Attempt Your July Electric bill is zero" and "Study Reveals The #1 Tiny Device SAVES Electricity Bills In Your Home."

Too close for coincidence. I contacted NVE. Stay tuned.

As of 8-23-2017, Warren Buffet's Electric Valhalla LaLaLand has yet to respond. In hizzoner, I continue to include the following warnings from the Barbwire Golden Oldies Monopoly File.

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY: FEEL UP YOUR FIRE METER. The Reno Gazette-Journal did big spreads on three consecutive Sundays (Sept. 14, Sept. 21 and Sept. 28, 2014) on NV Energy smart meter fires. Welcome aboard. Barbwire readers were two years ahead on the fire meter issue. (Touch a Smart Meter, Go to Jail — 11 October 2012)

FIRE METER UPDATES: THE NEVADA FIRE MARSHALL'S INVESTIGATION concluded "don't worry, be happy." I'm still worried and will continue fondling NVE's precious equipment —> If your smart meter feels very hot, not just from sunshine, call 911. In its Sunday 21 Dec. 2014 front page headline major story, the Reno Gazette-Journal published results of the NVEnergy-commissioned "don't worry, be happy" echo study. On 1-27-2015, the RGJ published an analysis based on veteran reporter Anjeanette Damon's review of more than 1,000 pages of documents.

bottom line: NVE handles this like auto manufacturers handle defects —> It's cheaper to pay legal settlements after people are injured or killed than to fix the problem.

Don'tcha worry 'bout a thing! If you can't trust your power company, whom can you trust?

Smoking guns: Rooftop solar assassination Energy War Room

DIDN'T THEY MAKE A MOVIE CALLED "THE INCREDIBLES"? On 2-6-2015, the RGJ reported that the Public Utilities Commission has ordered NVE to hire an independent laboratory to review the material.

UPDATE: The report said all is well. I still recommend feeling up your fire meter on a regular basis.

ANTE INTO THE GAME: Support the new season of Barbwire.TV by putting your money where my mouth is. A thousand thanks to those who keep sending show suggestions.

Top-down Democrats haven't learned
By Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 8-10-2017

More Faux than Fox? Corporate octopus Sinclair moves to dominate Nevada and U.S. television
By Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 8-3-2017

  Stay tuned.

  I encourage you to donate to the cause at Barbwire.TV/ The medium that shapes public opinion needs at least one refuge where it is not filtered through the distorted green eye shades of prissy corporate accountants for whom profit is the only priority; where self-censorship is the journalist's normal work environment and where all sins of omission are tacitly encouraged and forgiven with the wave of a balance sheet.

  This is important. We've got a lot of work to do.

END OF TIMES SURVIVAL KIT. Defend yourself with humorous or humorless but always-peerless predictions for 2017 by subscribing to the Barbwire Confidential News Service. Hush Hush!

"Media is the plural of mediocre."
— Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017)

Last year's dark foreshadowings unfortunately became reality. I thus suggest inoculation by signing onto the HushHush! list at BallotBoxing.US/

It's cheap as well as enlightening entertainment.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)

Andrew Barbano is a 48-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of and BallotBoxing.US and and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

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Copyright © 1982-2017 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 48-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Betty J. Barbano
2-7-1941 / 12-27-2005

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