Gary Webb, R.I.P.


Gary Webb, the Pulitzer-winning reporter whose 1996 series for the San Jose Mercury News "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion" put him into a career-ruining controversy, is dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound (or wounds). I never got hot and bothered over either the original series of stories (which suffered from overstatement, the chronic ailment of hot-scoop journalism) or their subsequent debunking by the mainstream media. But "Dark Alliance" was a country mile more interesting than what you usually find in the Merc (which ungraciously didn't even bother to write its own obit), and the series' long-lost web page was an early masterpiece of melodramatic web design and promotion. Continuing in De Mortuis mode, here is a defense of Webb's journalism overall, and a defense of his "Dark Alliance" findings. Since, at a time like this, conspiracy-mongering feels less like an idle pursuit than a civic duty, you can also try here, here, here, and here.