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Posted by on Dec 14, 2007 in At TMV | 2 comments

A Dark Alliance & A Lasting Shame: Remembering Reporter Gary Webb

Gary Webb

I have worked with a goodly number of great investigative journalists over the years, men and women who risk career, life and limb to get the story, and I can say with some satisfaction that this bunch usually did.

But beyond the glamour of the Woodward and Bernstein portrayed by Redford and Hoffman in All the President’s Men is a dark side: Investigative reporters and their editors can be an intensely jealous lot, and except for the biggest stories (like the Pentagon Papers, Watergate and the My Lai Massacre) rival papers are more apt to ignore an investigative story than mention it in their own pages, and sometimes even dump on it.

This brings me to one of the greatest investigative coups and most shameful episodes in modern American journalism — the August 1996 publication of a three-part series titled “Dark Alliance” by reporter Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News and what then transpired. I tell this story in memory of Webb, who took his own life three years ago this week.

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  • domajot

    A great and timely post.

    The shame and tragedy of the Gary Webb story reminded me of the run-up to the Iraq war period.
    When the press colludes with governemtnt and the ‘popular’ politics of the day, instead of doing honest reporting, the nation is endangered.

    The art of character assasiination lives on today with frightening energy. While the speed and breatdth of internet reporting is being hailed, I note that character assasination and fake discrediting of unwelcome news is booming right along with it.

    Along with burying Webb;s story, the whole Iran-Contra story has died, never to fully see the light of day in the first place. To learn from the past, there needs to be knowing of what the past consisted.
    It never happened in this instance.

  • Sam

    Wow that is an amazing story I’d never heard of. So, we have the CIA to thank for these guys setting up shop and being protected while they sell crack to our communities. Great.

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