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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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