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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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