I finally saw the 2014 docudrama “Kill the Messenger,” which completed—I hope—the passenger list for a 30-year-old Ethics Train Wreck.
The film purports to be the true story of Gary Webb, the San Jose Mercury News reporter who wrote the sensational “Dark Alliance” series of investigative reports in 1996. The series attributed the inner city crack cocaine explosion in part to Nicaraguan anti-government Contra rebels in the 1980s funding their efforts by drug smuggling and sales, all with the knowledge and assistance of the CIA. The agency, the series claimed, was acting to support the Contras despite Congress rejecting the Reagan administration’s request for aid. Like most Hollywood accounts of anything, the film distorts and misrepresents facts to make a better story. Unfortunately, Webb’s story is made more dramatic by making him out to be a tragic hero and victim of a sinister alliance between the mainstream media and the U.S. Government. That’s not exactly true, fair or accurate, and in this matter, affirmatively harmful.
The fastest way to survey this particular Ethics Train Wreck is to list the distinguished passengers, more or less in order of boarding: Continue reading