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Sun Nov 2, 2014, 11:05 PM

Gary Webb and Media Manipulation

Gary Webb and Media Manipulation
November 2, 2014

Many Americans still count on the mainstream media to define reality for them, but too often the MSM spins false narratives that protect the powerful and diminish democracy, as happened in the long-running denial of cocaine trafficking by President Reagan’s beloved Nicaraguan Contra rebels, writes Beverly Bandler.

By Beverly Bandler

The sad tale of the mainstream U.S. media’s destruction of journalist Gary Webb for reviving the Contra-cocaine scandal in the 1990s – a story recounted in the movie “Kill the Messenger” – is important not only because of Webb’s tragic demise but because the case goes to the central question of whether the American people are getting information and facts to which we are entitled in a free society, or whether we are being manipulated with half-truths, propaganda and straight-out lies.

What is ironic about the recent patronizing anti-Webb commentary by the Washington Post’s Jeff Leen – claiming that “an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof” – is that the Post was a prime salesman for the Iraq War in 2002 and 2003. And just what “proof” did the Post require for the “extraordinary claim” about Iraq hiding stockpiles of WMD, the chief selling point to the American people? Apparently nothing more than “jingoism,” the beating of war drums and empty assurances from the Bush administration’s neocons.

As journalist Michael Massing pointed out in February 2004 – after the U.S. invasion force failed to find the promised stockpiles – “‘Iraq’s Arsenal Was Only on Paper,’ declared a recent headline in The Washington Post.”

But Leen’s commentary in response to “Kill the Messenger” was just the latest example of the mainstream press covering its own tracks for its failure to pursue the Contra-cocaine scandal and for its complicity in destroying Gary Webb.

It’s now clear that the CIA has long been trying to fend off the reality of the Contra-cocaine scandal, often with the help of what a newly released CIA report described as its “productive relations with journalists.”


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Reply Gary Webb and Media Manipulation (Original post)
Judi Lynn Nov 2014 OP
Judi Lynn Nov 2014 #1
Judi Lynn Nov 2014 #2
bananas Nov 2014 #3

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Nov 3, 2014, 04:00 AM

1. The Washington Post Needs a Bus – and to Throw Jeff Leen Under It

The Washington Post Needs a Bus – and to Throw Jeff Leen Under It

Leen Burst a Spleen When He Saw “Kill the Messenger” on the Silver Screen

By Al Giordano & Bill Conroy
Special to Narco News

October 20, 2014

“A lot of retired DEA agents, a lot of retired prosecutors, a lot of retired people, they all want to do a book about their exploits. First question I ask them is, ‘Okay, you want to make a lot of money with a book? What do you know about the CIA and drugs? What do you got? Put it on the table. We’ll go make a million dollars. We’ll go to Hollywood! We will be stars!’”

•Jeff Leen, 1997

Back in June of 1997 when Jeff Leen debated Gary Webb at the Investigative Reporters & Editors conference in Phoenix, Arizona, he spoke those words, above, that reveal so much about what he thought he’d get out of entering the newspaper business. Make a million dollars. Go to Hollywood. Be a star.

That life plan never worked out for Leen, who now directs the mediocre and forgotten “investigative reporting” unit at the Washington Post.

Leen, at the time of the gathering, was then fifteen years at the same job, a reporter for the Miami Herald, trying to make a name for himself as an alleged expert on the international cocaine trade. But he was stuck at the worst possible place to do so. The Herald is infamous among journalists as the graveyard of foreign policy reporters, because in Miami, they are forced to toe a very narrow ideological line. The newspaper’s advertising base is so dependent on the rabid anti-communist Cuban and Latin American exile business community that it’s long had to be a Johnny One Note on any coverage regarding the rest of the hemisphere. You simply can’t keep a job writing about the Americas at the Herald – what many journos have nicknamed “Oligarch’s Daily” – without pandering to the Miami Mafia. For that reason even many career journalists would prefer to work anywhere else.

And if one was foolish enough to try to use that newspaper as a fulcrum from which to report on cocaine in the eighties and nineties, the biggest story would therefore be untouchable: that the anti-communist paramilitary squads known as the Contras, who were buying weapons to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, were funding their army by shipping planeloads of cocaine to the United States, and that US government agencies were complicit in that venture. That story could never be advanced in the Herald, not even after then-Senator John Kerry’s 1986 committee hearings proved it.


(My emphasis)

On edit, adding paragraph regarding the Miami Herald:

He worked for the Herald, a paper that would never have permitted an expose of anti-communist death squads in Latin America to be featured on its pages. Its advertisers in the Miami Cuban-American chambers of commerce – to whom the guerrillas were heroes – would have gone apoplectic. This was a newspaper whose star columnist, Andres Oppenheimer, authored “Fidel Castro’s Final Hour” in 1989. A quarter century later Fidel is still kicking. But, fantasy or fact, that’s the sort of pandering “journalism” that keeps Miami Herald advertisers writing the checks.

I would imagine any DU'er who has read the Herald, and/or its Spanish version, El Nuevo Herald, got the picture on them long, long ago. It's always great to see your own suspicions, or perceptions confirmed in print, considering the overload of managed "news" we get from corporate media.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Nov 3, 2014, 05:17 AM

2. There are excellent articles on Gary Webb at this site, written by 2 men who were his colleagues

from 1955 to 2004.

They wrote the article The Washington Post Needs a Bus – and to Throw Jeff Leen Under It
By Al Giordano & Bill Conroy
Special to Narco News
October 20, 2014

in post #2.

You might want to scan the other articles on Webb in the list at this website:


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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 3, 2014, 10:04 AM

3. Narco News is an excellent resource.

Al Giordano is an amazing character.

John Kerry and Me - By Al Giordano



I’ve known Kerry through three decades, worked for him twice, covered him as a reporter, argued and fought with him – including many times when he was a guest on my talk radio show – when I thought him wrong and have also had his back when he’s done the right thing.


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