Investigative reporting is nearly a crime in the USA. There’s no lack of investigative reporters. What’s missing are investigative editors with the cojones to put the good stuff in print.
I’d never thought of committing journalism until about 1990, when Bob Slattery and his wife, Marianne Dickinson, asked me to write down what I’d learned investigating Public Service Company of New Mexico, a racketeering enterprise masquerading as an electric company.
Bob and Marianne published the Santa Fe News and Review. Among ads for accouterments for New Mexico’s New Age arrivistes, they printed some pistol hot exposÃ©s of the Enchanted state’s rulers, including my report on the power pirates. Bob gave me an entire page in teeny-weeny font because he did not want to cut a word from my beastly long copy.
Ultimately, Bob’s good journalism could not compete with weekly papers with fluffier fare; his periodicals folded. Without moans of regret, Bob took up a hammer and built houses. His joie de vivre stands as object lesson for the career addicted.
We remained friends, allowing ourselves a few laughs at this wicked world and at our sorry selves and our problem in common of pairing with women smarter than us.
In a world of small minds and small souls, Bob was twenty feet tall. Heroic editor, a great father to Brendon, a rare, good man.
Last Monday, Bob, 53 years old, died in an auto accident. I miss him.
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Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Subscribe to his writings for Britain’s Observer and Guardian newspapers, and view his investigative reports for BBC Television’s Newsnight, at www.GregPalast.com.