The Killing Game: The Writings of an Intrepid Investigative Reporter

Overview

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 ...

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The Killing Game

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Investigative reporter Gary Webb detailed the CIA involvement in the crack cocaine activities of the Contras in "Dark Alliance," a series of articles published in 1996 in the San Jose Mercury News. The series was widely discredited by the government, the mainstream press, and the growing right-wing media. The backlash against the story destroyed Webb's career and life, which ended with his suicide in 2004. In recent years, the facts as reported by Webb have been more widely acknowledged as accurate. In this collection, his son, Eric Webb, a journalism student, pulls together a selection of reporting from his father's first investigation of organized crime's involvement in the coal industry to freelance pieces published after he lost his job. An introduction by journalist Robert Parry analyzes how Webb's political naïveté and the power of right-wing political interests sabotaged his career.Verdict This collection will be of interest to aspiring investigative reporters; the introduction provides a subtle warning about the hazards of pursuing such a career. A welcome addition for readers who followed the controversy surrounding Webb and for academic journalism collections.—Judy Solberg, Seattle Univ. Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583229323
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 728,577
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

An award-winning investigative reporter, GARY WEBB (1955–2004) is best known for his “Dark Alliance” series that linked a Northern California drug ring with the CIA and the United States’ burgeoning crack epidemic. When the story first appeared in 1996 on the website of the San Jose Mercury News, it became an unprecedented internet sensation, receiving up to 1.3 million hits daily. The report was the target of a famously vicious media backlash that ended his career as a mainstream journalist. When Webb told the whole story in the book Dark Alliance, some of the same publications that had vilified him retracted their criticism and praised his courage in telling the truth about one of the worst official abuses in our nation’s history. Others, including his own former newspaper and the New York Times, continued to treat him as an outlaw. Before joining the Mercury News, Webb cut his journalism teeth at the Kentucky Post and Cleveland Plain Dealer. He is the co-recipient of an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award (for a story at the Post about links between the Kentucky coal mining industry and organized crime) and a Pulitzer Prize (as part of a team at the Mercury News covering the 1988 San Francisco Earthquake). Dark Alliance won the 1998 Firecracker Alternative Book Award in the Politics category, and was a finalist for the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award. In 2014 Webb’s story was adapted into the major motion picture Kill the Messenger. His death in 2004 was ruled a suicide.

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Table of Contents

Preface Eric Webb ix

Publisher's Note Dan Simon xi

Foreword Tom Loftus xv

The Coal Connection (1980) Gary Webb Thomas Scheffey 1

I Create Life (1983) Gary Webb Maria Riccardi 119

Doctoring the Truth (1985) Gary Webb 139

Caltrans Ignored Elevated Freeway Safety (1989) Gary Webb Pete Carey 243

Good Cop Bad Cop: The thin blue line (1990) Gary Webb 251

DWB (Driving while Black) (1999) Gary Webb 265

Sex and the Internet (2001) Gary Webb 287

The Mighty Wurlitzer Plays on (2004) Gary Webb 305

The Arnold (2004) Gary Webb 323

The Killing Game (2004) Gary Webb 329

Red Light, Green Cash (2004) Gary Webb 343

Afterword Robert Parry 355

Acknowledgment 377

About the Author and Editor 379

About the Contributors 380

About Seven Stories Press 382

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