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Kill the Messenger (Movie Tie-In Edition): How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb Paperback – September 9, 2014
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*Starred Review* Schou personally knew Gary Webb, the reporter with the San Jose Mercury News whose 1996 series of articles linked the CIA to the nation's crack-cocaine plague. Schou, who had spent eight years following a similar story, worried that Webb's suicide in 2004 would cause reporters to shy away from uncovering government involvement in drug trafficking. Schou offers a portrait of a dogged reporter, a motorcycle-driving rebel who was occasionally arrogant and had a history of depression. But Webb, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, also had a reputation for meticulous research. Schou retraces Webb's exhaustive research, which connected crack cocaine sold on the streets of L.A and CIA operations in Nicaragua. Schou also recalls other reporters who faced attacks by the government, lack of support by editors, drug-possession setups, and death threats for investigating CIA involvement in drug trafficking. He also details the personal ruin Webb suffered when his series was greeted first with silence by the journalistic community and later attacked, a series that Schou maintains was on target. An impressive look at the intersection of clandestine government operations and a free press. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums
Gary Webb took on a historic task, to investigate a subject that is forbidden and secret. He glimpsed an essential truth, and two years later the CIA admitted even more. By then, Webb was discredited, disrespected, and destroyed by his own journalism community. His epic story, faithfully examined by Nick Schou, will never die until all the secrets he tried to probe are revealed.”
Kill the Messenger is a great book -- smart and eminently fair -- about the pitfalls tough, aggressive journalists like Gary Webb face when breaking stories that question the myths that the mainstream media feeds us. If America's major newspapers had spent ten percent of the time they did going after the CIA as they did in destroying Gary Webb's career, journalism could once again be a profession to be proud of.”
Joe Domanick, author of To Protect to Serve: The LAPD's Century of War in the City of Dreams
Top customer reviews
for his courage in continuing his investigation. The media is supposed to inform the public not lie to it. Everybody that was with him on this journey was promoted and Gary died by "2" gunshots to the head. I know he made the arrangements and wrote the letters but who could shoot themselves in the head twice? I came of age in the 60's and our media has never been more evil. They lie, lie, lie.
Also it was great that the author talked about the journalist life before and after his seminal piece. He even discussed all the previous investigative reporting that he did before he got his big scoop.
I really thought I needed diagrams and charts at some point to keep track of the players. There are so many ex-CIA agents, sort of CIA hangers-on, pretend CIA agents, and so on it is about impossible to keep track. Bottom line is an unsavory bunch ran drugs, sometimes funded the Contras, and the CIA *at best* did a Sgt. Schultz ( I see Nothing I hear Nothing).
What the book DID do right was show how utterly venal the establishment press was. The NY Times, LA Times, and Washington Post all decided that some combination of hating to be scooped and fearing for loss of CIA inside contacts made it imperative to utterly destroy Gary Webb. They succeeded at it quite well and the Washington Post *is even now* still at it. The really weird thing is how old school this all seems. Just a few years later and Gary Webb would be the star of some anti-government web site and the media wouldn't think twice about tabloid style coverage of anything and everything. Look what MONICA is doing in the OVAL OFFICE OMFG! Anyone seen the President's birth certificate? Poor Gary was born 10 years too soon.
My message to young reporters is: gets the facts straight, shout down poobahs, and throw yourselves in front in the train, for yours is a higher calling and we need you. Never back down.
May Webb's tribe, embodied in people like Glenn Greenwald, increase exponentially.