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LA Times Writer Apologizes, Sort Of, For Attacks On Journalist Who Exposed CIA/Crack Connection

Nick Schou writes about Jesse Katz’s “apology” for ruining Gary Webb’s life:

The New York Times, Washington Post and L.A. Times each obscured basic truths of Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series. But no newspaper tried harder than the L.A. Times, where editors were said to have been appalled that a distant San Jose daily had published a blockbuster about America’s most powerful spy agency and its possible role in allowing drug dealers to flood South L.A. with crack.

Much of the Times’ attack was clever misdirection, but it ruined Webb’s reputation: In particular, the L.A. Times attacked a claim that Webb never made: that the CIA had intentionally addicted African-Americans to crack.

Webb, who eventually could find only part-time work at a small weekly paper, committed suicide.

No journalist played a more central role in the effort to obscure the facts Webb reported than former L.A. Times reporter Katz. [...]

“As an L.A. Times reporter, we saw this series in the San Jose Mercury News and kind of wonder[ed] how legit it was and kind of put it under a microscope,” Katz explained. “And we did it in a way that most of us who were involved in it, I think, would look back on that and say it was overkill. We had this huge team of people at the L.A. Times and kind of piled on to one lone muckraker up in Northern California.” [...]

As Katz admitted to Mantle, “We really didn’t do anything to advance his work or illuminate much to the story, and it was a really kind of tawdry exercise. … And it ruined that reporter’s career.”

Full Story: LA Weekly: Ex-L.A. Times Writer Apologizes for “Tawdry” Attacks

See also:

Webb’s original “Dark Alliance” stories from the San Jose Mercury News.

The Crack Up, Webb’s 1998 follow-up for Orange County Weekly.

Prenatal Cocaine Exposure Not Severely Damaging to Growth, Learning, Study Suggests

Crack Babies: The Epidemic That Wasn’t

Children exposed to cocaine in the womb face serious consequences from the drug, but fortunately not in certain critical physical and cognitive areas as previously believed, according to a new comprehensive review of research on the subject from scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. When a pregnant woman uses cocaine, it can interrupt the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the baby, putting such children at risk for premature birth, low birth weight and many other problems.

The new review of multiple major studies conducted on cocaine-exposed, school-aged children found this negative impact significantly affected children in subtle areas such as sustained attention and self-regulated behavior. The research, however, showed surprisingly little impairment directly from cocaine in key areas such as growth, IQ, academic achievement and language functioning.

Many of the children did have low IQ and poor academic and language achievement. The research suggested, though, that these apparent impairments were often caused by the troublesome home environment that goes along with cocaine use, rather than directly from the cocaine itself.

Read More – Science Daily: Prenatal Cocaine Exposure Not Severely Damaging to Growth, Learning, Study Suggests

See also: Crack Babies: The Epidemic That Wasn’t

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