Narconews: A Bouquet from George Sanchez
"Proof that Investigative Journalism Isn't Dying" A Letter from George B. SanchezJuly 7, 2005
It's back. He's back. Here it is. Presente!
I was too young to appreciate the original Dark Alliance website when it debuted. Nor was I then inclined to appreciate the amount of information presented as supplementary for those doubts that linger with a story as explosive and inflammatory as Dark Alliance. By the time I did care and could appreciate all that Gary had done, the website had long been wiped from the net and its thousands of CDROM copies burned. Dan Feder's mention of this as the Internet's first book burning is an astute one.
Narco News has resurrected one of the great feats of contemporary journalism, one that otherwise seemed to have been scurried away by the puppet masters behind Knight Ridder.
Funny that the logo – the CIA crest superimposed over a young man smoking a crack pipe – would be the excuse to take down the site and burn the proof. Too suggestive; I am told. Such a comment reminds me of a passage from the poet Ray Durem:
"I know I'm not sufficiently obscure
to please the critics – nor devious enough.
Imagery escapes me.
I cannot find those mild and gracious words
to clothe the carnage.
Blood is blood and murder's murder.
What's a lavender word for lynch?
Come, you pale poets, wan, refined and dreamy:
Here is a black woman working out her guts
In a white man's kitchen
For little money and no glory.
How should I tell that story?"
If Dark Alliance's logo was merely suggestive, its text was not. Its messages were loud and clear and the reverberation of this single man's indictment of the United States government rang across the North American continent like an air raid siren on a beautiful summer afternoon: you couldn't miss it. As Bill Conroy once wrote, Gary Webb drew blood.
Gary's ghost haunts us all. It certainly hasn't left the halls of traditional corporate newsrooms. The guilt still lingers. Hence American Journalism Review's piece from its June/July issue entitled "The Sad Saga of Gary Webb."
Wherever Gary is, maybe it's a comfort to him that his work has been resurrected at the one place that offered a chance at a resurrecting his work as an authentic journalist. The Dark Alliance project, which took Gary a year to complete, has found a new home here at Narco News, alongside the investigative work of other reporters from around the globe, including Bill Conroy's latest on the House of Death Case along the Tex-Mex border. Proof again that investigative reporting isn't dying. It's just going to where it's appreciated (and distributed).
Please make a donation for Narco News to continue this work, online, at this link:
Or by sending a check today to:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
P.O. Box 241
Natick, MA 01760
I.F. Stone always said he read the newspaper from cover to cover because he never knew on what page he'd find an A1 story. Every story at Narco News is A1. Lets help keep 'em coming.
- George B. Sanchez
2004 Narco News Authentic Journalism Professor