Gary Webb

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For other people named Gary Webb, see Gary Webb (disambiguation).
Gary Webb
Gary Webb In His Own Words 623.jpg
Webb, c. 2002
Born Gary Stephen Webb
August 31, 1955
Corona, California, U.S.
Died December 10, 2004(2004-12-10) (aged 49)
Carmichael, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Suicide
Education Northern Kentucky University
Occupation Journalist, investigative reporter
Years active 1980–2004
Notable credit(s) Cleveland Plain Dealer
Sacramento News & Review
San Jose Mercury News
Partner(s) Susan Webb (now Susan Stokes)
Children 3
Awards Pulitzer Prize[1]

Gary Stephen Webb (August 31, 1955 – December 10, 2004) was an American investigative reporter best known for his 1996 Dark Alliance series of articles (about CIA involvement in cocaine trafficking into the US) written for the San Jose Mercury News and later published as a book. In the three-part series, Webb investigated Nicaraguans linked to the CIA-backed Contras who had smuggled cocaine into the U.S. Their smuggled cocaine was distributed as crack cocaine in Los Angeles, with the profits funneled back to the Contras. Webb also alleged that this influx of Nicaraguan-supplied cocaine sparked, and significantly fueled, the widespread crack cocaine epidemic that swept through many U.S. cities during the 1980s. According to Webb, the CIA was aware of the cocaine transactions and the large shipments of drugs into the U.S. by Contra personnel. Webb charged that the Reagan administration shielded inner-city drug dealers from prosecution in order to raise money for the Contras, especially after Congress passed the Boland Amendment, which prohibited direct Contra funding.

Webb's reporting generated fierce controversy, and the San Jose Mercury News backed away from the story, effectively ending Webb's career as a mainstream-media journalist. In 2004 he was found dead from two gunshot wounds to the head, which the coroner's office judged a suicide. Though he was criticized and shunned by the mainstream journalism community,[2] in 2013 Nick Schou, a journalist writing for the LA Weekly who wrote the book Kill the Messenger, stated that Webb's reportage was eventually vindicated;[3] since his death mainstream news organizations, such as the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, have reversed course and defended his "Dark Alliance" series. Esquire wrote that a report from the CIA inspector general "subsequently confirmed the pillars of Webb's findings."[4] Geneva Overholser, who served as the ombudsman for The Washington Post, wrote that major media outlets including the Washington Post had "shown more passion for sniffing out the flaws in the Mercury News '​s answer than for sniffing out a better answer themselves."[5]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Webb was born to a military family in Corona, California. At 15 he began writing editorials for his suburban Indianapolis high school newspaper. At the height of the protests against the Vietnam War, he created his first controversy when he criticized the use of a female drill team to rally students for the war. Webb attended journalism school at Northern Kentucky University, where he was on the staff of student newspaper The Northerner, but dropped out. He started his professional career at the Kentucky Post, then worked as a statehouse correspondent for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland. Webb found a lifelong passion in investigating government and private sector corruption. In 1988 he joined the San Jose Mercury News as a staff writer. There, he helped expose freeway retrofitting problems in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and wrote stories about computer software problems at the California DMV.[6]

Dark Alliance[edit]

In August 1996 the San Jose Mercury News published Webb's "Dark Alliance", a 20,000 word, three-part investigative series which alleged that Nicaraguan drug traffickers had sold and distributed crack cocaine in Los Angeles during the 1980s, and that drug profits were used to fund the CIA-supported Nicaraguan Contras. Webb never asserted that the CIA directly aided drug dealers to raise money for the Contras, but he did document that the CIA was aware of the cocaine transactions and the large shipments of cocaine into the U.S. by the Contra personnel.[7] Per Webb's request, all the documents he used to draw his conclusions were uploaded to the Mercury's website, Mercury Center, for all readers to see. Webb feared that, otherwise, he would be discredited by the government amidst claims of lack of evidence.[8]

"Dark Alliance" received national attention. At the height of the interest, the version on the San Jose Mercury News website received 1.3 million hits a day. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, the series became "the most talked-about piece of journalism in 1996 and arguably the most famous—some would say infamous—set of articles of the decade."[9] Webb reported that many African Americans who had never connected to the Internet before began using the Internet to see the coverage of this story.[10]

Webb supported his story with documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, subsequently including a 450-page declassified version of an October 1988 report by CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz. According to Webb and his supporters, the evidence demonstrates that White House officials, including Oliver North, knew about and supported using money from drug trafficking to fund the Contras, and they neglected to pass any information along to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The 1988 report by the Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations of the Committee on Foreign Relations, led by Sen. John Kerry, commented that there were "serious questions as to whether or not US officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war effort against Nicaragua."[11]

If we had met five years ago, you wouldn't have found a more staunch defender of the newspaper industry than me ... I was winning awards, getting raises, lecturing college classes, appearing on TV shows, and judging journalism contests. So how could I possibly agree with people like Noam Chomsky and Ben Bagdikian, who were claiming the system didn't work, that it was steered by powerful special interests and corporations, and existed to protect the power elite? And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job ... The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress ...

— Gary Webb[12]

Immediately, denials began to emerge refuting assertions in "Dark Alliance". Reports in the Washington Post (October 4, 1996), Los Angeles Times, and New York Times (October 21), tried to debunk the link between the Contras and the crack epidemic.

The total of the Los Angeles Times reportage criticizing the Dark Alliance exceeded the length of the Dark Alliance itself, and the publication used anonymous intelligence officials as sources. The Los Angeles Times criticized the notion that the CIA intentionally tried to addict African-Americans on crack cocaine; the Webb articles did not make this assertion. Shelby Coffey III, the main editor of the Los Angeles Times, had assigned 17 reporters to expose any errors in Webb's story.[13]

Post ombudsman Geneva Overholser agreed with critics that her paper's response to Webb's series showed "misdirected zeal" and "more passion for sniffing out the flaws in San Jose's answer than for sniffing out a better answer themselves."[14] Years later, Richard Thieme argued in an opinion piece that the major news outlets focused on attacking Webb or less relevant parts of the story, leaving Webb's thesis largely intact.[15] Overholser concluded there was "strong previous evidence that the CIA at least chose to overlook Contra involvement in the drug trade ... Would that we had welcomed the surge of public interest as an occasion to return to a subject the Post and the public had given short shrift. Alas, dismissing someone else's story as old news comes more naturally."[16]

Robert Parry wrote that the Post's denunciation of Webb was ironic, because the paper "had long pooh-poohed earlier allegations that the Contras were implicated in drug shipments" but now "the newspaper was finally accepting the reality of Contra cocaine trafficking, albeit in a backhanded way."[17]

Esquire wrote that Webb's stories had "copious citation of documents", while the articles from The New York Times used anonymous intelligence officials as sources.[18]

In response to these attacks, Webb created a web site that contained primary documents, transcripts, and audio interviews. By January 1997, Webb's editors no longer contacted him about his stories. In March, Webb was informed that the paper was going to address the readers about his series. On May 11, 1997, Mercury News executive editor Jerry Ceppos published a column describing the series as an "important work" and "solidly documented" but criticized it on four grounds: reliance on one interpretation of complicated, sometimes-conflicting pieces of evidence; failing to estimate the amount of money involved; oversimplifying the crack epidemic; and creating impressions that were open to misinterpretation through imprecise language and graphics.[19] Webb was reassigned to a suburban bureau 150 miles from his home. Because of the long commute he quit the paper in December 1997.

Webb alleged that the 1997 backlash was a form of media manipulation. "The government side of the story is coming through the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post", he stated. "They use the giant corporate press rather than saying anything directly. If you work through friendly reporters on major newspapers, it comes off as The New York Times saying it and not a mouthpiece of the CIA."[19] In 2004, Webb wrote a long piece, "The Mighty Wurlitzer Plays On", describing the role the Internet played in bringing the "Dark Alliance" story to international attention in 1996, and describing at length the backlash against the story, at first externally through the larger newspapers, later internally by the paper's editors:

I found myself involved in hours-long conversations with editors that bordered on the surreal.

"How do we know for sure that these drug dealers were the first big ring to start selling crack in South Central?" editor Jonathan Krim pressed me during one such confab. "Isn't it possible there might have been others before them?"

"There might have been a lot of things, Jon, but we're only supposed to deal in what we know," I replied. "The crack dealers I interviewed said they were the first. Cops in South Central said they were the first. and that they controlled the entire market. They wrote it in reports that we have. I haven't found anything saying otherwise, not one single name, and neither did the New York Times, the Washington Post or the L.A. Times. So what's the issue here?"

"But how can we say for sure they were the first?" Krim persisted. "Isn't it possible there might have been someone else and they never got caught and no one ever knew about them? In that case, your story would be wrong."

I had to take a deep breath to keep from shouting. "If you're asking me whether I accounted for people who might never have existed, the answer is no," I said. "I only considered people with names and faces. I didn't take phantom drug dealers into account."[20]

James Aucoin, a communications professor who specializes in the history of investigative reporting, wrote: "In the case of Gary Webb's charges against the CIA and the Contras, the major dailies came after him. Media institutions are now part of the establishment and they have a lot invested in that establishment."[19]

Book[edit]

In 1999, Seven Stories Press published Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, Webb's book complete with extensive source citations.[21] It received mixed reviews.

The book includes an account of a meeting between a pilot (who was making drug/arms runs between San Francisco and Costa Rica) with two Contra leaders who were also partners with the San Francisco-based Contra/drug smuggler Norwin Meneses. According to eyewitnesses, Ivan Gomez, identified by one of the Contras as a CIA agent, was allegedly present at the drug transactions. The pilot told Hitz that Gomez said he was there to "ensure that the profits from the cocaine went to the Contras and not into someone's pocket."

According to Webb, Judd Iverson, a San Francisco defense attorney who represented former Contra Julio Zavala, discovered compelling evidence demonstrating that "agents of the U.S. government were intricately involved in sanctioning cocaine trafficking to raise funds for Contra revolutionary activity."[22] Soon after, members of the Justice Department persuaded U.S. District Court Judge Robert Peckham to seal the documents in the case.

Critics[edit]

Webb's reporting on the CIA's dealings with cocaine dealers was not without its critics. The Nation magazine contributor David Corn wrote, "[I]t is only because of Webb that US citizens have 'confirmation from the CIA' that it partnered up with suspected drug traffickers in the just-say-no years and that the Reagan Administration, consumed with a desire to overthrow the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, allied itself with drug thugs." However, Corn also criticized Webb for overstating his case and for not proving "his more cinematic allegations."[23]

Reason magazine's Glenn Garvin was critical of Webb's sources and of the evidence he presented. Garvin wrote that Webb's evidence that the Contra leadership was selling cocaine is almost entirely drawn from the claims of a few Nicaraguan traffickers facing long jail terms, and argued that they were using the CIA as a convenient scapegoat. Garvin also wrote that every guerrilla group, including the Mujahideen, FARC and Shining Path, has used the narcotics trade as a way of bolstering its funding efforts, and that far from the Contra-related drug trade being widespread it came down to a small handful of Contra pilots and their associates who were involved in narcotics. He also argued that while these covert narcotic relationships were alleged to be most rampant, the Contras had the least need for funds, as the United States was supplying them with millions of dollars a year in support. However, Garvin offers no evidence of his own that directly refutes Webb's documentation, and simply assumes Webb is wrong by relying on second hand mainstream sources. Garvin then states Webb's work is really about "vindicating the American left.""[24]

Supporters and corroboration[edit]

According to historian Mark Fenster,[25]

[T]he common view among unbiased journalists and researchers who have reviewed Webb's research and have expertise on the Contras and the CIA's role in Nicaragua is that the facts are basically correct and that Webb was an outstanding journalist. Webb's basic contention that there was a direct connection between the CIA, the Contras, the White House, and cocaine trafficking is supported by Webb's evidence. The historical consensus -- to the extent that such a thing is possible concerning controversial covert operations -- indicate that the basic outlines of the Mercury News stories were largely correct.

In 2006 the Los Angeles Times published The Truth in `Dark Alliance,' written by Nick Schou, in which L.A. Times Managing Editor Leo Wolinsky is quoted saying "in some ways, Gary got too much blame ... He did exactly what you expect from a great investigative reporter." The article surveys mainstream reporting at the time of Webb's pieces and states that while Webb had committed "hyperbole" and included some unproven allegations, articles by The New York Times "didn't include the success he achieved or the wrongs he righted – and they were considerable" according to Walt Bogdanich, now a New York Times editor, who had known Webb earlier.

The LA Times piece criticizes its own portrayal of Webb—"we dropped the ball"—and notes that "spurred on by Webb's story, the CIA conducted an internal investigation that acknowledged in March 1998 that the agency had covered up Contra drug trafficking for more than a decade" and concludes that "History will tell if Webb receives the credit he's due for prodding the CIA to acknowledge its shameful collaboration with drug dealers. Meanwhile, the journalistic establishment is only beginning to recognize that the controversy over 'Dark Alliance' had more to do with poor editing than bad reporting [on Webb's part]".[26]

Writing in 2005 in the Chicago Tribune, about "the Dangers of Questioning Government Actions", Don Wycliff, the Tribune's public editor, wrote, "I still think Gary Webb had it mostly right. I think he got the treatment that always comes to those who dare question aloud the bona fides of the establishment: First he got misrepresented—his suggestion that the CIA tolerated the Contras' cocaine trading became an allegation that the agency itself was involved in the drug trade. Then he was ridiculed as a conspiracy-monger." [27]

Media critic Norman Solomon's analysis, "The Establishment's Papers Do Damage Control for the CIA", includes various corroborating evidence that an effort to discredit Webb was pursued more vigorously than the truth of some of Webb's allegations, including corroboration internal to one such paper, the Washington Post. Notes Solomon:[28]

The Post's ombudsman, Geneva Overholser, was on target (11/10/96) when she re-raised the question of the U.S. government's relationship to drug smuggling and noted that the three newspapers "showed more passion for sniffing out the flaws in San Jose's answer than for sniffing out a better answer themselves."

Citing "strong previous evidence that the CIA at least chose to overlook contra involvement in the drug trade", Overholser found "misdirected zeal" in the Post's response to the Mercury News series: "Would that we had welcomed the surge of public interest as an occasion to return to a subject the Post and the public had given short shrift."

Investigation timeline[edit]

Facing increasing public scrutiny from the fallout after Webb's "Dark Alliance" series, the CIA conducted its own internal investigations. Investigative journalist Robert Parry credits Webb for being responsible for the following government investigations into the Reagan-Bush administration's conduct of the Contra war:

  • On December 10, 1996, Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block announced the conclusion of his investigation into the issue, publishing a summary of the investigation at a press conference. He announced at the press conference, "We have found no evidence that the government was involved in drug trafficking in South-Central." Nevertheless, the report included information that supported some of the charges. Charles Rappleye reported in the L.A. Weekly that Block's "unequivocal statement is not backed up by the report itself, which raises many questions."[29] Much of the LAPD investigation centered on allegations made in a postscript article to the newspaper's "Dark Alliance" series.
  • On January 29, 1998, Hitz published Volume One of his internal investigation. This was the first of two CIA reports that eventually substantiated many of Webb's claims about cocaine smugglers, the Nicaraguan Contra movement, and their ability to freely operate without the threat of law enforcement.[30]
  • On March 16, 1998, Hitz admitted that the CIA had maintained relationships with companies and individuals the CIA knew were involved in the drug business. Hitz told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that "there are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the Contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug-trafficking activity or take action to resolve the allegations."[31] Senator Kerry reached similar conclusions a decade earlier in 1987. (See:[11])
  • On May 7, 1998, Rep. Maxine Waters, revealed a memorandum of understanding between the CIA and the Justice Department from 1982, which was entered into the Congressional Record.[32] This letter had freed the CIA from legally reporting drug smuggling by CIA assets, a provision that covered the Nicaraguan Contras and the Afghan rebels.[33]
  • On July 23, 1998, the Justice Department released a report by its Inspector General, Michael R. Bromwich. The Bromwich report claimed that the Reagan-Bush administration was aware of cocaine traffickers in the Contra movement and did nothing to stop the criminal activity. The report also alleged a pattern of discarded leads and witnesses, sabotaged investigations, instances of the CIA working with drug traffickers, and the discouragement of DEA investigations into Contra-cocaine shipments. The CIA's refusal to share information about Contra drug trafficking with law-enforcement agencies was also documented. The Bromwich report corroborated Webb's investigation into Norwin Meneses, a Nicaraguan drug smuggler.[34]
  • On October 8, 1998, CIA I.G. Hitz published Volume Two of his internal investigation. The report described how the Reagan-Bush administration had protected more than 50 Contras and other drug traffickers, and by so doing thwarted federal investigations into drug crimes. Hitz published evidence that drug trafficking and money laundering had made its way into Reagan's National Security Council where Oliver North oversaw the operations of the Contras.[5] According to the report, the Contra war took precedence over law enforcement. To that end, the internal investigation revealed that the CIA routinely withheld evidence of Contra crimes from the Justice Department, Congress and even the analytical division of the CIA itself. Further, the report confirmed Webb's claims regarding the origins and the relationship of Contra fundraising and drug trafficking. The report also included information about CIA ties to other drug traffickers not discussed in the Webb series, including Moises Nunez and Ivan Gomez. More importantly, the internal CIA report documented a cover-up of evidence which had led to false intelligence assessments.

Aftermath and death[edit]

After quitting the San Jose Mercury News in December 1997, Webb went to work for the California Assembly Speaker's Office of Member Services and served as a consultant to the California State Legislature Task Force on Government Oversight. As a member of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, Webb investigated charges that the Oracle Corporation received a no-bid contract award of $95 million in 2001 from former California Governor Gray Davis. Webb was hired by the Sacramento News and Review, after being laid off in 2003 with the rest of the former Speaker's staff as part of a house-cleaning when the new Speaker took over.[35]

On December 10, 2004, Gary Webb was found dead from two gunshot wounds to the head.[36] Sacramento County coroner Robert Lyons ruled that it was suicide, noting that a suicide note was found at the scene.[36] Webb's ex-wife, Sue Webb (now Sue Stokes) said that Webb had been depressed for years over his inability to get a job at a daily newspaper: Webb continued to write, but financially could not support his family.[36] He had also had his motorcycle stolen (it was recovered from the thief, a Sacramento local who specialized in grand theft, by his family after his death) and lost his home (due to housing-market crash and his inability to get hired at a 'daily' newspaper) the week prior to his suicide.

In April 2011, a second book-length collection of his articles spanning his entire career outside of the Dark Alliance series, entitled The Killing Game: Selected Stories from the Author of Dark Alliance, by Gary Webb and his youngest son, Eric Webb, was released by Seven Stories Press.[37]

Posthumous recognition[edit]

In 2014 the movie Kill the Messenger was released from a Peter Landesman screenplay based on the Dark Alliance series, Webb's 1999 book of the same title, and Nick Schou's book, Kill the Messenger. The movie was directed by Michael Cuesta and starred Jeremy Renner as Webb.[38] The news prompted Scott Herhold, Webb’s first editor at the Mercury-News, to write, "Gary Webb was a journalist of outsized talent. Few reporters I've known could match his nose for an investigative story. When he was engaged, he worked hard. He wrote well. But Webb had one huge blind side: He was fundamentally a man of passion, not of fairness. When facts didn't fit his theory, he tended to shove them to the sidelines." Herhold concluded, "He was no villain ... He was no hero either. Take it from someone who knew him well." Herhold, however, argued with Webb who went over his head drafting a long memo to Herhold's executive editor detailing Herhold's "sins as an editor".[39] As Susan Paterno notes, while the Mercury News tried to distance itself from Webb once they began to be criticized, all of Webb's editors involved in the Dark Alliance series were eventually promoted and refused to discuss Webb or his work with Paterno in 2005.[40]

Notable stories[edit]

  • 1980 – "The Coal Connection" (with Thomas Scheffey), Kentucky Post (organized crime in the Kentucky coal industry)
  • 1983 – "I Create Life" (with Maria Riccardi), Cleveland Plain Dealer (early surrogate parenting arrangements)
  • 1985 – "Doctoring the Truth", Cleveland Plain Dealer (ongoing malpractice and collusion concerns on the Ohio Medical Board)
  • 1989 – "Caltrans Ignored Elevated Freeway Safety" (with Peter Carey), San Jose Mercury News (detailed CalTrans negligence in construction of the Cypress Structure in Oakland which collapsed during the Loma Prieta Earthquake)
  • 1990 – "Good Cop, Bad Cop", San Jose Mercury News (police brutality)
  • 1996 – "Dark Alliance", San Jose Mercury News (CIA-crack cocaine-Contra connection)
  • 1999 – "Driving While Black", Esquire (racial profiling in traffic stops)
  • 2001 – "Sex and the Internet", Wired (investigation of the online sex industry)
  • 2004 – "The Mighty Wurlitzer Plays On", from Into the Buzzsaw (retrospective on the media's handling of the "Dark Alliance" story)
  • 2004 – "The Killing Game", Sacramento News & Review (military's use of first-person shooter video games as recruitment tools) [6]

Awards[edit]

Reporting[edit]

  • 1980 — Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Award, small newspaper division.
  • 1980 — Laurel, Columbia Journalism Review.
  • 1980 — Gerald M. White Memorial Prize for Investigative Reporting, Cincinnati SDX.
  • 1980 — Investigative Reporters and Editors Award(IRE), for co-authoring a 17-part series at the Kentucky Post in Covington, Kentucky with Tom Scheffey on organized crime in the American coal industry. [7]
  • 1981 — First place, investigative reporting, Kentucky Press Assn.
  • 1981 — Second place, deadline news reporting, Cincinnati SDX.
  • 1981 — Third place, investigative reporting, Cincinnati SDX.
  • 1982 — Third place, investigative reporting, Kentucky Press Assn.
  • 1983 — First place, municipal reporting, Kentucky Municipal League.
  • 1983 — Reporter of the Month, Scripps Howard Newspapers.
  • 1984 — Second place, series, Ohio Associated Press Assn.
  • 1984 — Third place, series, Ohio Associated Press Assn.
  • 1985 — Laurel, Columbia Journalism Review.
  • 1985 — First place, investigative reporting, Northeast Ohio SDX.
  • 1986 — Honorable mention, enterprise reporting, Ohio Associated Press Assn.
  • 1986 — Honorable mention, series, Ohio Associated Press Assn.
  • 1986 — First place, investigative reporting, Northeast Ohio SDX.
  • 1986 — Gold Medal, health reporting, American Chiropractic Assn.
  • 1987 — First place, legal reporting, Ohio Bar Assn.
  • 1987 — Second place, spot news, Central Ohio SDX.
  • 1987 — Third place, projects, Central Ohio SDX.
  • 1987 — Honorable mention, features, Central Ohio SDX.
  • 1987 — Freedom of Information Award, Central Ohio SDX.
  • 1987 — First place, investigative reporting, Ohio Associated Press Assn.
  • 1988 — First place, investigative reporting, Ohio Associated Press Assn.
  • 1989 — Honorable mention, features, Central Ohio SDX.
  • 1989 — First place, series, Central Ohio SDX.
  • 1990 — Pulitzer Prize for General News Reporting, awarded to the San Jose Mercury News staff for its detailed coverage of the October 17, 1989, Bay Area earthquake and its aftermath.[1]
  • 1993 — Second place, series, Peninsula Press Club.
  • 1994 — H.L. Mencken Award, by The Free Press Association for the series in the San Jose Mercury News on abuses in the state of California's drug asset forfeiture program.
  • 1995—California Journalism Award, Center for California Studies, CSU.
  • 1995 — Honorable mention, Gerald Loeb Award, UCLA School of Business.
  • 1995 — First Place, local news reporting, Peninsula Press Club.
  • 1996 - James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, Hunter College, City University of New York.
  • 1996 — Freedom Fighter Award, California NAACP.
  • 1996 — Journalist of the Year, Bay Area Society of Professional Journalists.
  • 1997 — Media Hero Award, from the 2nd Annual Media & Democracy Congress.

Literary[edit]

  • 1998 — Firecracker Alternative Book (FAB) Award, politics, Dark Alliance
  • 1998 — Nominee, Best Nonfiction Book, Bay Area Book Reviewers Association, Dark Alliance.
  • 1998 — Finalist, PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award, Dark Alliance.
  • 1999 — Oakland PEN First Amendment Award, Dark Alliance.
  • 2002 — 25 Books to Remember, New York Public Library, Into the Buzzsaw (contributor)
  • 2003 — Rouse Award for Press Criticism, National Press Club, Into the Buzzsaw (contributor)

College journalism[edit]

  • 1975 — First place, specialty column, Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Assn.
  • 1977 — Third place, specialty column, Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Assn.
  • 1977 — Third place, non-editorial cartooning, Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Assn.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "General News Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
  2. ^ Simon, Dan (January 2005). "The Tragedy of Gary Webb". The Progressive. 
  3. ^ "Ex-L.A. Times Writer Apologizes for "Tawdry" Attacks." Los Angeles Weekly. May 30, 2013. Retrieved on July 27, 2014. "Webb was vindicated by a 1998 CIA Inspector General report, which revealed that for more than a decade the agency had covered up a business relationship it had with Nicaraguan drug dealers like Blandón." (italicized portions of article were written by Jesse Katz and quoted by the Esquire article)
  4. ^ "Gary Webb, 1955 - 2004." Esquire, 2004. [1]) Retrieved on October 12, 2014.
  5. ^ "Gary Webb, 1955 - 2004." Esquire. p. 1 at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2004). (Archive) Retrieved on December 15, 2013.
  6. ^ Portner, Jessica (December 12, 2004). "Gary Webb, 49, former MN reporter, author". San Jose Mercury News. p. 10B. Archived from the original on December 15, 2004. 
  7. ^ Webb's 1999 book, Dark Alliance, substantiated these allegations with copious references.
  8. ^ Webb, Gary (1998). Dark Alliance. Seven Stories Press. p. 439. ISBN 978-1-888363-93-7. 
  9. ^ Kornbluh, Peter (January–February 1997). "The Storm over "Dark Alliance"". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  10. ^ Webb, Gary. "War on drugs has unequal impact on black Americans" at the Wayback Machine (archived April 9, 1997). (Archive) San Jose Mercury News. August 20, 1996. Retrieved on December 15, 2013.
  11. ^ a b U.S. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations. Drugs, Law Enforcement, and Foreign Policy. (S. Rpt.100-165). Washington: Government Printing Office, 1988. [2] PDF (9.47 MiB) (9.5MB)
  12. ^ Borjesson, Kristina (Ed.) (2002). Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-972-7.  Includes chapter 14 by Gary Webb.
  13. ^ Schou, Nick. "Ex-L.A. Times Writer Apologizes for "Tawdry" Attacks." LA Weekly. Thursday May 30, 2013. p. 1 (Archive). Retrieved on December 15, 2013. "Katz seems to be referring to the fact that Times editor Shelby Coffey III assigned a staggering 17 reporters to exploit any error in Webb's reporting, including the most minute. The newspaper's response to "Dark Alliance" was longer than Webb's series. It was replete with quotes from anonymous CIA sources who denied the CIA was connected to contra-backing coke peddlers in the ghettos." and "Much of the Times' attack was clever misdirection, but it ruined Webb's reputation: In particular, the L.A. Times attacked a claim that Webb never made: that the CIA had intentionally addicted African-Americans to crack."
  14. ^ Bowden, Charles (September 1, 1998). "The Pariah". Esquire. Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  15. ^ Thieme, Richard (2004-12-14). "My Last Talk with Gary Webb". CounterPunch. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  16. ^ Solomon, Norman (Jan./Feb. 1997). "Snow Job" at the Wayback Machine (archived February 11, 2005). Extra!. Retrieved 2006-07-20 from the Internet Archive.
  17. ^ Parry, Robert. (1996). "Contra-Crack Story Assailed". ConsortiumNews.com. Retrieved 2006-07-21.
  18. ^ "Gary Webb, 1955 - 2004." Esquire. p. 9 at the Wayback Machine (archived May 18, 2006). (Archive) Retrieved on December 15, 2013.
  19. ^ a b c Osborn, Barbara Bliss. (Mar./Apr. 1998). "Are You Sure You Want to Ruin Your Career?". Extra!. Retrieved 2006-07-21.
  20. ^ "The Mighty Wurlitzer Plays On", reprinted in The Killing Game, Seven Stories Press, 2011.
  21. ^ Webb 1999.
  22. ^ Webb 1999, pp. 92-95.
  23. ^ Gary Webb Is Dead
  24. ^ Hooked on Fantasies Glenn Garvin| Reason Magazine|January 1999
  25. ^ Fenster, Mark (2008). Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture (revised edition). University of Minnesota Press. pp. 2–3. ISBN 0-8166-5494-8. 
  26. ^ Schou, Nick (August 18, 2006). "The truth in 'Dark Alliance'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  27. ^ Chicago Tribune - Dangers of Questioning Government Actions
  28. ^ FAIR - Snow Job The Establishment's Papers Do Damage Control for the CIA
  29. ^ Rappleye, Charles (December 13, 1996). "Sherman's Contra-Diction". LA Weekly. Retrieved copy of original article 2006-07-21 from California State University Northridge.
  30. ^ s:CIA Inspector General Frederick P. Hitz
  31. ^ Pincus (March 17, 1998). The Washington Post.
  32. ^ memorandum of understanding - item 24
  33. ^ [3]
  34. ^ Michael R. Bromwich, THE CIA-CONTRA-CRACK COCAINE CONTROVERSY: A REVIEW OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT’S INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS, USDOJ/OIG Special Report, December, 1997, "[4]",
  35. ^ The Ultimate Gary Webb - American History Information Guide and Reference
  36. ^ a b c Stanton, Sam (December 15, 2004). "Reporter's suicide confirmed by coroner". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on May 7, 2008. 
  37. ^ Library Journal review of The Killing Game. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
  38. ^ McClintock, Pamela. "Berlin 2013: Jeremy Renner's Gary Webb Biopic 'Kill the Messenger' Sells Out". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  39. ^ Herhold, Scott (02/10/2013). "Herhold: Thinking back on journalist Gary Webb and the CIA". San Jose Mercury News.  Check date values in: |date= (help) (Archive)
  40. ^ Paterno, Susan (June–July 2005). "I Don’t Want to Talk About It". American Journalism Review.  (Archive)

Bibliography[edit]

  • Borjesson, Kristina (Ed.) (2002). Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-972-7.  Includes chapter 14 by Gary Webb.
  • Celerino III Castillo & Dave Harmon (1994). Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War. Sundial. ISBN 0-8095-4855-0. 
  • Alexander Cockburn & Jeffrey St. Clair (1999). Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press. Verso. ISBN 1-85984-258-5.  Cites 116 books.
  • Frederick P. Hitz (1999). "Obscuring Propriety: The CIA and Drugs". International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 12 (4): 448–462. doi:10.1080/088506099304990.  Note: Hitz, then CIA Inspector General, was the person who first mentioned the secret agreement between CIA and the Department of Justice, in March 1988, when testifying before the House Intelligence Committee.
  • Robert Parry (1999). Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & "Project Truth". Media Consortium. ISBN 1-893517-00-4. 
  • Nick Schou (Charles Bowden, preface) (2006). Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Gary Webb. Nation Books. ISBN 1-56025-930-2. 
  • Peter Dale Scott & Jonathan Marshall (1991). Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07312-6. 
  • Webb, Gary (1998). Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1-888363-93-2. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Commentaries[edit]

Bibliography[edit]