This is Not...


"This is Not... Darts & Laurels" is not written by Gloria Cooper, deputy

executive simulator, whose Colombia Journalism Review showed

desperation in the face of the Authentic Journalism Renaissance

by launching an ad hominem attack on Narco News publisher

Al Giordano this month, calling him, in a caption for a staged (!) photo,

a "worm," accompanied by an error-laden article. We, at Salón Chingón,

thought that was pretty funny, and so now we'll have some fun with

the gatekeepers at CJR who couldn't shoot straight...

LAUREL In the new issue of Columbia Journalism Review

the magazine finally noticed a story it has avoided for two-and-a-half years:

CJR wrote that Narco News contains "solid and incisive reporting."

LAUREL CJR also noted that Narco News publisher

Al Giordano's "watchdog role among journalists in Latin America,

and his recent involvement in a landmark libel case,

have further raised his profile."

DART CJR never covered that "landmark libel case" as it was

happening in the years 2000 and 2001, nor the December 2001 New York

Supreme Court decision extending First Amendment protections to all Internet

journalists, breaking the monopoly of the commercial media protection

under the "Sullivan v. NY Times" doctrine:

A story that ocurred in their front yard.

DART While making much ado about its recent staged World

Wrestling match with the New York Times over a supposedly "staged" photo,

CJR also used "a staged photo" of Al Giordano and a monkey.

How do we know? We staged it! . (Giordano did tell them that it was from his

camera, suggesting it was, duh... Staged!) CJR's stones thrown against

NY Times photographer Edward Keating - exonerating the newspaper

and scapegoating one of the last Authentic Journalists left on 43rd Street

- were tossed from a glass monkey cage. Who's the monkey now?



The Staged Photo in Columbia Journalism Review:

The CJR caption calls Giordano a "worm" and inaccurately

refers to "Ari Fleischer" (right) as Giordano's "pet

monkey." While Ari is the mascot of the Narco News

School of Authentic Journalism, he's nobody's pet.

He roams free in the Amazon jungle, in the Chapare region

of Bolivia: One of the many boneheaded errors by CJR.

DART Notice that the photo is not credited to anybody.

When CJR was seeking a photo of Al, he emailed them this one, with the

line "Credit: Narco News Agency." CJR failed to disclose that it's subject

provided the photo. Without any photo credit, the average reader would

think CJR took the photo. So there are messy intellectual property issues

and questions of respect for photojournalists and overall dishonesty problems

inherent in the CJR staged photo mini-scandal, too. Aha, no wonder CJR

scapegoated NYT photojournalist Edward Keating! CJR's snobbish contempt

for the working class of journalists extends to photographers, too. CJR made

a mountain out of a molehill against Keating, including an over-the-top opening

Editorial in this month's issue. It's obviously not that big a deal. But that CJR

engages in the same kind of behavior it makes a big show of condemning

regarding "staged" photos does very strongly suggest that it's pot-banging

regarding Keating is part and parcel of the simulation of journalism ethics

issues conducted by CJR and the Times in order to distract from the major

journalistic corruptions inherent in the work of both periodicals.

DOUBLE LAUREL New York magazine media critic Michael

Wolff, edited by the fabulous Simon Dumenco, reported on

September 23rd how CJR's publisher, the Columbia University Graduate

School of Journalism, serves the New York Times axis:

"In fact," wrote Wolff, "the real mission, or the highest mission, of the

school may be to prepare its students to work specifically for one paper:

the New York Times (Joe Lelyveld, the former executive editor,

and many Times reporters are graduates, and the Times

has enormous clout at the school)..."

LAUREL VILLAGE VOICE "Press Clips" columnist, Cynthia

Cotts, in her November 6th report, noted that "Columbia's School of

Journalism is the home of the Pulitzers and a training ground for Times

employees," and cited "the Times' cozy relationship with Columbia"

as giving CJR (the mag discloses that it is "published by" Columbia

J-School) phony "ballast" in its coverage of the Times.

LAUREL CJR quoted Giordano accurately when he noted that

New York Times Colombian correspondent Juan Forero is "a

US embassy 'Muppet.'" And let's face it, CJR deserves a laurel for

at least addressing the headache to the industry that is Narco News:

After all, it wasn't Forero who got three pages

and a staged photo from 'em!

DART Ex-NY Times Mexico Bureau Chief Sam Dillon,

embittered over the embarrassing loss of his former sinecure of corrupted

journalism, complained of Giordano to CJR, saying ""The guy became like

a stalker." In fact, Giordano never sought or looked for Dillon. It was Dillon

who, in March of 1999, pursued Giordano, via unsolicited phone calls

to his home, and threatened him not to publish "the Banamex story,"

according to Al's sworn affidavit on file in the New York Supreme Court.

DART The rookie freelancer who CJR sent to do this

now-fracased attempted hit-piece against Giordano and Narco News,

never gave Giordano the opportunity to respond that any decent journalist

would give someone accused of a crime like "stalking." Interestingly, when

the inept freelancer mentioned to Giordano that he had interviewed Dillon,

Giordano reminded the rookie that he had pledged, beforehand, to offer

the chance to respond because "Sam Dillon is pathologically

dishonest." The rookie replied, dishonestly, that Dillon said nothing

new and that no response would be necessary. The knowingly false charge

of criminal behavior, of "stalking," is per se libel, and that the CJR rookie

didn't offer the accused the fair opportunity to clear the air displayed

malice and reckless disregard for the truth.

DART Come to think of it, the suggestion, by CJR's photo

caption that Giordano has a "pet monkey," a completely invented fiction never

claimed by Giordano, might also constitute the false suggestion of a crime

against environmental laws and treaties. What if that monkey is part of an

endangered species? Trafficking in endangered species is akin to trafficking in

narcotics: Illegal. The presumption that a "mascot" ("a person or thing believed

to bring good luck, " Oxford American Dictionary) is a "pet" belonging to

Giordano was a real boner. If INTERPOL or PETA raids our offices to

rescue "Ari," the Columbia University endowment is gonna pay!

DART The rookie freelancer, who made numerous bumbling

errors in his report, was also urged by Giordano to interview Mexico's most

honest, courageous and legendary journalist Mario Menéndez Rodríguez to

answer the knowingly false accusations made by the pathologically dishonest

Sam Dillon against him. The rookie freelancer was offered direct contact

with Menéndez, but was too lazy to call him. He then quoted the

professional simulator Sam Dillon calling Menéndez's daily Por Esto!

"a disreputable newspaper" and its report on the narco-banker Roberto

Hernández "trash." (Dillon also said that Giordano makes things up and has

"no credibility," charges that Al would have hit out of the park, considering

the disgraced source, which is probably why the rookie freelancer

refused to give him a chance to reply.) The rookie freelancer, obviously,

was afraid to interview a giant of journalism like Menéndez, as was Dillon

four years ago when he claimed to have investigated the narco-banker

story. Cowards of a feather stick together! (And don't think we didn't

notice the inherent racism in the charges tossed at a Mexican journalist,

and the denial to him of a fair opportunity to respond: Dillon and the

rookie apparently need one of those "sensitivity classes" that are all the

rage at newspapers these days.) In any case, as for reputable vs.

disreputable, New York Times circulation is stagnant. But Por Esto!

keeps on growing: It's 11 years old and already the

third most widely read daily newspaper in all of Mexico.

LAUREL To search engines like, that make it

possible for readers to investigate for themselves the veracity of claims made

by all journalists. For example, the rookie journalist repeatedly tried,

however ineptly, to portray Narco News' Giordano as "an activist

first and a journalist second" and claimed that "mainstream reporters cringe"

at "authentic journalism." But who is the rookie freelancer to make such

judgments? Do a Google search on Al Giordano and the word "journalist,"

and one finds more than 750 Internet pages dedicated to the subject, most

of which refer to Giordano as the journalist. (And this doesn't even count the

more than 100 web reports dedicated, in Spanish, to Giordano as

"periodista," or others that cite his work as a journalist in French, Italian,

Portuguese, German, etc.) But do a Google search on the rookie

freelancer's byline and the word "journalist," and one finds only six

reports - two referring to the journalist Giordano, and none

of them referring to the rookie freelancer as the "journalist."

The Reader has to, as always, consider the messenger.

LAUREL To Google's new wire service, Google News, which

features Narco News as one of its primary news sources, but, interestingly,

doesn't consider CJR to be as worthy a news source.

LAUREL To veteran Boston Globe reporter Brian McGrory,

the only "mainstream journalist" to ever mention the rookie

freelancer's name who on January 16, 2001, referred to the rookie

freelancer as a "wannabe writer," and as a member of the "notoriously

persnickety salad fork crowd, a group that often confuses

being obnoxious with being informed." McGrory described CJR's

"wannabe writer" as one who "declared in The New York Observer

last month, 'Boston is a small town with many astoundingly bad restaurants.'

Perhaps he's still sore about being fired from Boston magazine in November."

LAUREL To our Salón Chingón collaborator and

photographer Kaia Porter, 21, who monitored much of the

CJR rookie freelancer's "interview" with Al Giordano - while

the rookie helped himself to large quantities of free beer from the

newsroom fridge - who upon observing the rookie freelancer on the

job, commented: "He's a journalist? He seems like such a

non-entity. He seems more like a gerbil than a journalist."

DART To the CJR rookie freelancer, who confessed

to being a US Embassy "diplomat brat," a Columbia University

alumni (¿ya ven?), who chose to stay in one of the most expensive

posh hotels - a dozen free brands of luxury colognes and perfumed

soaps with each room! - of the impoverished Third World City where he

met up with our News Team, who took a cheap shot at Giordano's "crooked

teeth" in his failed CJR attack piece. The fact is, Giordano's teeth aren't so

much crooked as they are chipped, from a fall from an automobile when he

was eight. And coming from modest roots, Giordano's family never had the

money for braces or dental surgery. What Giordano's family did have, though,

in place of money, was character, ethics, creativity in the face of economic

obstacles, and dignity. The poor little rich freelancer, who has set himself up in

high-rent New York City to suck his way up into the media establishment,

may have been born with a silver salad fork in his mouth, but can't hide his

contempt for those not born into his "salad fork crowd" spoiled brat privilege.

Artist's Portrait of a CJR "Reporter"

DART Again, to the rookie freelancer, for thinking himself

qualified after six years of roaming the wilderness of journalism looking for

mercenary work, who thinks he can judge who is a "journalist" and who is not.

Here are the facts he knew but denied to CJR's readers: Narco News

publisher Giordano spent seven years as a full time beat reporter - cops,

courts and politics - for the Springfield Advocate and the Boston Phoenix.

He spent three years as a daily AM radio host. He has filed more than

1,000 stories in the commercial press, never missing a deadline. He has

published in the Washington Post, American Journalism Review

(When it was WJR, under legendary editor Bill Monroe), The Nation,

Evergreen Review, and scores of newspapers and magazines. He was

declared a journalist by the New York Supreme Court. All of this

information was directly reported, additionally, to CJR's fact checker

(who did correct some inaccurate statements originally made by the rookie).

DART The rookie reporter has also lost any credibility

he might have had in the future writing about the drug war - a story

that readers around the world recognize as valid and led by the work

of Authentic Journalists who take major risks to report it.

That was the story, but he couldn't see it even as it bit him in the ass.

DART CJR committed a bumbling inconsistency in this

month's issue. On the one hand, the rookie reporter's article contained

multiplie complaints about the length of Narco News stories

(could it be that Narco News has proved that long-form journalism

isn't dead, and that it is precisely Narco News that has picked up

the torch once lit by Rolling Stone in reviving the genre that so

many had feared disappeared?). On the other hand, the same issue

of CJR has a 6,000-word article praising the long articles in Atlantic

Monthly, including "an extraordinary 70,000-word series." So which is

it? We say, what's good for the Atlantic is good for the Caribbean, kids!

LAURELS To all the "mainstream journalists" who, contrary to

CJR's invented fictions, have not "cringed" at all regarding Narco News

and Giordano's renaissance in Authentic Journalism. They have mentioned

us, pro and con, but all have been accurate, fair and professional:

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, Mark Jurkowitz of the Boston

Globe, Alexandra Marks, of the Christian Science Monitor, Ken

Layne, of the LA Examiner, Cynthia Cotts, of the Village Voice,

Dan Kennedy and Clif Garboden of Giordano's alma mater, the Boston

Phoenix, Danny Schechter, of the Media Channel, Amy Langfield,

of Online Journalism Review, Mim Udovitch, of Rolling Stone,

Jim Romenesko, of the Poynter Institute's Media News, Sean

Dodson, of the Guardian of London, Mexican national political columnists

Carlos Ramírez, Pepe Martínez, Beatríz Fregoso, Alvaro Cepeda

Neri, and Juan Pablo Becerra Acosta, Pulitzer prize winner Gary Webb,'s Jan Shreve, and of course Mario Menéndez, Mexico's

grandest daily newspaper editor and founder of the Authentic Journalism

Renaissance, not to mention the rest of The Faculty of the Narco News

School of Authentic Journalism. , and SO MANY OTHERS.

All of them got the facts right. Columbia Journalism Review is the only

publication that distorted instead of reported. And still, even with their

malice and reckless disregard for the truth, we come out smelling like a rose.

THE BIG DART The biggest dart, though, goes not to the

rookie freelancer, but, rather, to Mike Hoyt, Executive Simulator of

Columbia Journalism Review.

Michael Hoyt. simulator, we will address these comments to you:

You have prostituted yourself (again) to the agenda of the corrupted

New York Times - embarrassed time and time again by the new scrutiny

offered by Authentic Journalists to its correspondents' misbehaviors in Latin

America - in your magazine's efforts to marginalize our work.

Yes, they have their panties all up in a bunch up at 43rd Street:

The First Amendment monopoly by commercial media is over:

It now belongs to us, and to all journalists everywhere.

That would have been a great story for your rag. But, alas...

You screwed up royally, Mike, and here's why: You sent a cub reporter,

incompetent for even a hit-piece, to do the job of a professional. You didn't

send an experienced drug war reporter who would know the complex beat at

issue. You didn't send an experienced court reporter who would understand

the significance of our New York Supreme Court victory. You didn't send a

reporter who could speak Spanish in Latin America (maybe that one would

not have feared his or her duty to interview a Mexican journalist of 1,000 times

the rookie's stature). Those would have all been interesting stories.

But you didn't send anyone with any gravitas at all!

For the details on your magazine's factual errors and ethical lapses, see our

accompanying story on how an Authentic Editor might have rescued this story.

When is Columbia Journalism Review going to break the shackles

of its servitude to the petty interests of the uptown Media Establishment?

When are you aspiring gatekeepers of journalism going to realize

that in December 2001 we took the hinges off the gates?

When will you declare independence from the NYT-Pulitzer-CPJ-CJR-

Columbia University clique and stop trying, in vain, to circle the wagons?

It doesn't matter when!

We already have more readers than you do!

CJR, review thyself!

Throwing darts while resting on your laurels, Hoyt?

Y'all tried to hit us, and you just made us stronger.


Add your darts and laurels:

Today, in the Student

Assembly Hall...

What if Izzy Stone had Edited

the CJR Story Instead?

Authentic Journalism Review

Volume I, Issue 1

A Special Presentation by the...

Banner donated by David VandePanne

Publisher's Postscript, November 27: Columbia Journalism Review finally posted this disaster of an article to its website. Executive Simulator Mike Hoyt was so proud of it, he waited until the day before Thanksgiving to publish it online! Precisely when the fewest people would see it! Way to go, Mike! Sometimes people are transparent even when they try not to be.

For More Narco News, click here

Authentic Journalism vs. Authentic Gerbilism