By the time Gary Webb reached Carthage in August 1998, once promising career as an investigative journalist had been derailed by the incredible backlash to his series "Dark Alliance," which made its first appearance 10 years ago this week.
The series, written for the San Jose Mercury-News, traced the connection between crack cocaine sales on the west coast and the CIA. At first, "Dark Alliance" was ignored by the rest of the media, then it was virulently attacked, with the attacks centering on mistakes Webb made in his reporting. Eventually, even his own editor, whose hype of the stories contributed to the controversy, stopped supporting his reporter, and it wasn't long before Webb was no longer working for the Mercury-News.
Two years later, he was on the extreme right-wing fringe circuit, which came to Carthage courtesy of Terry Reed, calling itself the American Heritage Festival. Webb, who had been a talented investigative reporter with a long string of successes, was no longer employable at any major mainstream media outlet and in December 2004 he killed himself.
The Los Angeles Times featured an article Friday by Nick Schou, author of the upcoming book, "Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb."
For more information about Webb and his visit to Carthage, check out the Dec. 13, 2004 Turner Report.