Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb

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PublicAffairs, Apr 28, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 278 pages
Soon to be a major motion picture!

Kill the Messenger tells the story of the tragic death of Gary Webb, the controversial newspaper reporter who committed suicide in December 2004. Webb is the former San Jose Mercury News reporter whose 1996 "Dark Alliance" series on the so-called CIA-crack cocaine connection created a firestorm of controversy and led to his resignation from the paper amid escalating attacks on his work by the mainstream media. Author and investigative journalist Nick Schou published numerous articles on the controversy and was the only reporter to significantly advance Webb's stories. Drawing on exhaustive research and highly personal interviews with Webb's family, colleagues, supporters and critics, this book argues convincingly that Webb's editors betrayed him, despite mounting evidence that his stories were correct. Kill the Messenger examines the "Dark Alliance" controversy, what it says about the current state of journalism in America, and how it led Webb to ultimately take his own life. Webb's widow, Susan Bell, remains an ardent defender of her ex-husband. By combining her story with a probing examination of the one of the most important media scandals in recent memory, this book provides a gripping view of one of the greatest tragedies in the annals of investigative journalism.

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This is the book about Gary Webb, the investigative reporter whose series "Dark Alliance" uncovered the CIA's connection with the introduction of crack cocaine into America's inner cities. The first big Internet news story to "go viral," it also showed how an important news story can be distorted and squelched.
Major news outlets like the Washington Post and NYT sent large teams of reporters to "debunk" a theme that Gary Webb never claimed -- the idea that the CIA was involved in launching a genocidal drug scourge into black ghettos. Gary made no such claim -- but the effect of crack remains a dark chapter in our nation's history. The Reagan administration, eager to fight a war that Congress had not funded, was taking the darkest kinds of money to fund its objectives. Gary's story became a movie by the same name, with Jeremy Renner in the lead role. It has no Hollywood ending, but it's a good counterpoint to "Three Days of the Condor" and "The Post." The big media outlets don't always get it right.


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Book was in great condition and was at me door faster than expected. Read full review


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About the author (2009)

Nick Schou is an investigative journalist who worked with Gary Webb on "Dark Alliance." He writes for the LA Weekly and OC Weekly and lives in Long Beach, CA.

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