Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More
Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Narconews: London Observer Cribs from Bill Conroy

House of Theft: London Observer Cribs from Bill Conroy

December 3, 2006
Please Distribute Widely

Since April 2004, Bill Conroy has investigated and written 41 breaking reports about U.S. law enforcement's complicity with murder in Ciudad Juárez in the "House of Death" case.

Since then, many "Big Media" have picked up the story in various forms, most of the time plagiarizing, without credit, the work of Conroy and Narco News. The London Observer is the latest of the these organizations to pull this act in a story published today titled "The House of Death."

In a letter to the London Observer editors, Conroy writes:

"I just read with great interest the House of Death story published today in the Observer (story here), and it appears you got the 'narrative' straight.

"As you recall, it starts out with this breathless teaser:

"'When 12 bodies were found buried in the garden of a Mexican house, it seemed like a case of drug-linked killings. But the trail led to Washington and a cover-up that went right to the top. David Rose reports from El Paso'

"But your honesty about how the Observer obtained a good share of the source material for this startling story, particularly the reams of documents that you concede were utilized for your story, is not so straight, it appears.

"I have every reason to believe the writer, David Rose, submitted a different version of the story than was finally published, and that he did include proper credit for his sourcing, and that you, the editors, chopped and diced that proper attribution in order to make it appear your newspaper did all the work and to ensure the advancement of your careers and paychecks.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

"I guess that is a not too surprising human weakness, since it surfaces time and again in the mainstream media, but I'm a bit surprised to see it playing out in the London media, even as you slap the U.S. press for its shortcomings -- as the following line from the Observer story illustrates:

"'The US media have virtually ignored this story. The Observer is the first newspaper to have spoken to Janet Padilla, and this is the first narrative account to appear in print.'

"I do concede Rose, to his credit, was the first to interview Padilla, the wife of one of the House of Death murder victims.

"But, in fact, the first story Narco News printed in April 2004 was a narrative account -- as were others that followed.

"But I guess the word in 'print' is how the Observer's claim is justified. Still, it's quite a sleazy defense, and not even entirely accurate. Mexico's news magazine Proceso actually published a long narrative account of the House of Death in late October - 'in print.'

"Are only magazine articles written in the English language considered to be 'in print' by your calculations?

"...In fact, Narco News has published 41 stories on the House of Death since April 2004. And it has aggressively investigated the U.S. government's cover-up of its complicity in the mass murder case -- even during the year or so lapse when no one in the mainstream media, not even the Dallas Morning News, was covering the story.

"...And you also know all those documents mentioned in the Observer story are on the Narco News Web site, some for years, and they were only obtained by Narco News after much dogged reporting work (some through the Freedom of Information Act) and not without a risk, in some cases, to the sources who provided them to Narco News. In fact, some of those documents only showed up in court pleadings as exhibits after they were first published online by Narco News."

Read Conroy's letter in it's entirety at The Narco News Bulletin:

From somewhere in a country called América,

David Briones
The Narco News Bulletin

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Top Scoops Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.