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News Junkie Paperback – May 9, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Leopold, one of the reporters who broke the Enron story, is now breaking his own story: how he got addicted to cocaine, committed grand theft, cleaned himself up and found happiness as a "news junkie." While residential rehab programs and an incredibly committed wife were key to his turnaround, what saved his life was his discovery of the adrenaline high of news scooping. After a few small successes, Leopold got lucky when he began investigating insider trading by aides to California's Gov. Grey Davis and stumbled onto the extraordinary scandal of Enron's manipulation of utility deregulation in California. By the time Leopold was pressured into resigning from Dow Jones in 2002, he was one of the few reporters who'd actually interviewed Enron president Jeff Skilling. He then rushed to publish a flawed exposé of the secretary of the army's Enron connections, seriously damaging his journalistic credibility. Disillusioned by the institutional biases of mainstream media, Leopold finally decided to freelance with independent, Internet-based news services. While there's a lot of lying admitted to in this scrappy memoir, from Leopold's hiding of his criminal past to his playing of sources to get his scoops, it's (probably) not an untruthful memoir—indeed, it might become required reading for aspiring journalists. (May 9)
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"Jason Leopold moved to Los Angeles to marry his girlfriend, and kicked a cocaine addiction. But for the investigative reporter and author of News Junkie, sobriety wasn't the simple fix expected ... [An] amazing life story." -NPR
Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
"Investigative superstar Jason Leopold spares no one, least of all himself, in this devastatingly accurate first-hand exposé. News Junkie provides the best account so far of how, and why, current American journalism has become so pharisaical, spineless, and detached from the truth."
T. D. Allman, journalist and author of Rogue State, Unmanifest Destiny, and Finding Florida
"Having told the truth for years as a first-rate reporter, Jason Leopold now comes completely clean about himself and also sheds light on his imperiled profession. A riveting account of just how hard the truth can be."
Mark Crispin Miller, author of Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order
"Frighteningly honest. What Anthony Bourdain did to the world of cooking in Kitchen Confidential, Leopold will do to the world of journalism. It's Sid & Nancy meets All the President's Men."
Rob Cohen, coauthor of Etiquette for Outlaws
"This memoir is one of the most brutally honest books I've ever read. You will grow to believe, and cheer on, this flawed hero as he gains a liberating knowledge of himself."
Joe Loya, author of The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell: Confessions of a Bank Robber
Top customer reviews
This is a story of a guy whose misdirected intelligence and passion totally screw him up for a number of years. Finally, he starts to get on a path where he's doing some good, but he's still stuck with some very nasty habits that get him in trouble and keep him sabotaging himself, in spite of becoming a serial award winning reporter.
As a writer I found Jason's book very inspiring. Not the nasty stuff-- but Jason describes the creative and energetic ways he went after stories. I've written for national magazines, with my own share of cover stories, and I've done some investigative leg and phone work. But Jason's descriptions of his efforts have already inspired me to go the extra distance to dig further into articles. The first article I applied this to rose to the top five articles of the month on my website, where we've published at least 400 articles so far this month.
Jason writes about how he was tough on his reporters, as an editor. insisting that they go out on the street, covering their beat, not waiting for news to come to them. That's inspired me to take a similar approach in my own writing.
If you're a reporter, this book is different than any I've seen. It's wild and wooly and while a bit apologetic, brutally honest.
Recently, post the writing of this book, Jason reported that Karl Rove was about to be indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor investigating the Plame CIA case. It didn't happen. Rove was never indicted. Now you could just write Jason off as an incompetent. But you could also wonder whether Rove got to Fitzgerald, or, that someone fed Jason bad info that was designed to set him up, because he was getting too close to the truth. I don't know what the answer is. Frankly, having published his report, I was embarassed by the article being wrong. When I got the word, I headlined the article. It didn't feel very good. But maybe that's what was supposed to happen-- what was intended by the people who set him up. I'm not apologizing for him. But I'm keeping my mind open to the possibility that the people who brought us the threat of WMDs in Iraq, who pulled one over on Colin Powell, the majority of the senate and most of the US could have also pulled one over on this news junkie.
I see Jason as a man who can make a difference. I'm glad he's working for the progressive cause now. The right wing fights very, very dirty. They lie, cheat, and since they run the mainstream media, they propagandize, cover up and gloss over news that should be covered that isn't.
We need more Jason Leopolds who are willing to do what it takes to dig up the truth. And we should expect that when he uses his enormous cojones to take on incredibly powerful, influential and wealthy players, he will occasionally be set up,occasionally stabbed in the back by editors, occasionally made to look bad, so his good work is questioned.
Bottom line, this gritty autobiography tells a tale of a man who becomes a drug addicted, dealing, thieving criminal who quits abusing, cleans up his act and really achieves some significant successes in his life, not leaving all his flaws behind, but steadily making progress.
It's a great read.
About the inspiring part-- one must be selective about what one is inspired by. I chose to be inspired by his creative, energetic approach to digging up stories. [...].
I find it interesting and extremely unusual that there are, at the writing of this review, a dozen reviews, most of the positive. All the positive, four or five star reviews have been rated as unhelpful by two to one. My guess is that some of the right wingers who have been attacking the author in the blogoverse have decided to "tar" the positive reviews. I expect the same will happen to this one. The fact is, I doubt that these review commenters have read the book, or care to. It is dishonest to take this approach.
This book is a page-turner in the most accomplished sense. There are no cheap tricks or manufactured plot twists here; the suspense is generated by Leopold's empathy and honesty, his ability to bring readers straight into the heart of his story. This is a magnificent book.
Jason Leopold is the quintessential "junkie." Whether it is cocaine or breaking a story he has to have his fix. In his book he discusses in detail the darkest moments of his life and career. From petty theft as a child to grand-theft as an adult. From battling his cocaine addiction to being blacklisted by the journalist community. Jason provides us with a looking glass into the world he has created for himself.
I highly recommend this book for everyone. Addicts, Journalists, and college kids alike. I promise two things with this purchase. You will learn from his experiences and you won't be able to put it down.
Most recent customer reviews
I loved this book.Read more
Jason's story about his life and reporting is indeed a page-turner.Read more