Monday, March 10, 2003

The return of Gary Webb. My former Phoenix colleage Al Giordano, the publisher and editor of the Narco News Bulletin, has taken a sabbatical. His temporary replacement: Gary Webb, the legendary investigative reporter whose work for the San Jose Mercury News demonstrated pretty convincingly that the Contra rebels in 1980s Nicaragua, backed by the US government, funded their activities by selling crack in the United States -- and that the CIA, under the best possible interpretation, looked the other way.

Webb's reporting ended up in a journalistic limbo. His editors apologized for some of the series' excesses, yet Webb claimed that those excesses were stuck in by those very same editors, over his objections. At the very least, it seems that the Mercury's editors, feeling intense heat, were only too happy to use the series' flaws to discredit Webb's entire body of work.

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