Gary Webb had an inborn journalistic tendency to track down corruption and expose it. For over thirty-four years, he wrote stories about corruption from county, state, and federal levels. He had an almost magnetic effect to these kinds of stories, and it was almost as if the stories found him. It was his gift, and, ultimately, it was his downfall.
He was best known for his story "Dark Alliance", written for the San Jose Mercury News in 1996. In it Webb linked the CIA to the crack-cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles during the Iran Contra scandal. His only published book, Dark Alliance is still a classic of contemporary journalism. But his life consisted of much more than this one story, and The Killing Game is a collection of his best investigative stories from his beginning at the Kentucky Post to his end at the Sacramento News & Review. It includes Webb's series at the Kentucky Post on organized crime in the coal industry, at the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Ohio State's negligent medical board, and on the US military's funding of first-person shooter video games. The Killing Game is a dedication to his life's work outside of Dark Alliance, and it's an exhibition of investigative journalism in its truest form.
©2011 Eric Webb. 2011 Foreword by Tom Loftus. 2011 Afterword by Robert Parry. (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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"Outlaws and Politicians—Natural Bedfellows"
Gary Webb was one of the last great investigative journalists. He didn’t wait for Wikileaks or Snowden to drop a story in his lap. He sniffed out trouble like a bloodhound. Through relentless research, and a disarming charm, Webb again and again dug up the real dirt.
What Webb found under the shiny surface in America was more corrupt, more fetid, more bathed in blood than even David Lynch could imagine.
This audiobook opens with “The Coal Connection,” a nearly unbelievable look at “exotic international financial swindling” that involved every kind of low-life, from petty crooks to future-president Reagan. It’s infuriating, reads like a thriller—and it’s all true.
Other stories range from “Driving While Black” to “And the Mighty Wurlitzer Played On” Webb’s account of the fall-out from his series “Dark Alliance,” which he wrote for The San Jose Mercury News about the connection between Iran-Contra, the CIA, and the outbreak of crack in Los Angeles that the paper refused to back up. In this essay he concludes,
“Do we have a free press today? Sure we do. It's free to report all the sex scandals it wants, all the stock market news we can handle, every new health fad that comes down the pike, and every celebrity marriage or divorce that happens. But when it comes to the real down and dirty stuff -- stories like Tailwind, the October Surprise, the El Mozote massacre, corporate corruption, or CIA involvement in drug trafficking -- that's where we begin to see the limits of our freedoms. In today's media environment, sadly, such stories are not even open for discussion.”
Anyone interested in the straight dope need look no further.
A word about narrator, Kevin Stillwell, he has the chops to bring these complicated stories to life, to make them fresh, immediate and clear.
"There was once a thing called journalism"
Gary Webb died for our sins.
The stories and opinions in this book reflect a long lost treasure embedded in our Constitution. The press is the only private enterprise so honored. Its role is to protect our democracy from corruption, stupidity and greed. Reporters like Webb did that job, and paid for it.
Gary Webb died because he couldn't stomach the ugly truth that his reporting revealed. Not the corruption, stupidity and greed of government - that was no surprise to anyone who was paying attention. Webb discovered that the constitutionally ensconced press was itself corrupt, stupid and greedy.
Webb's most important story is the one that cost him his career, and ultimately everything else he had or would ever have. That story, by the way, has been confirmed as accurate with each subsequent release of declassified information.
The corrupt, stupid and greedy people who subverted democratic institutions throughout the world have, in Malcolm Ex's words, come home to roost.
If we wish to restore a functioning, democratic government to our country, we must be willing to stand up and fight for it. Not with bombs or guns, but with the truth.
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