"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

‘Kill the Messenger’ Movie Reveals the Severity of the Truth

Kill the Messenger

The 2014 movie “Kill the Messenger” is a political drama involving a conspiracy of the U.S. government’s link in the drug scandal of the 1990s. Journalist/Reporter Gary Webb began to look into the CIA’s participation in crack cocaine getting distributed in predominantly Black neighborhoods in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Profits from this, like money and weapons, were given to the freedom fighters in Nicaragua to benefit the U.S. in the Iran-Contra Affair.

Webb produced an article entitled “Dark Alliance” with the things he found out and received immense backlash from the findings. News agencies like the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times truly attempted to suppress or gloss over Webb’s story.

“Kill The Messenger” movie reveals the severity of truth and the power it holds, so much so to the point, people will go to great extents to suppress it.

Another example of the truth being suppressed brought out through Webb in the movie was the reality of America’s crack plagues being rooted in Nicaragua because that is where the drug was brought from. An additional example is when people working with or for the CIA decided to start bringing up Webb’s past.

Along with trying to say his story is just accusations that the CIA was knowledgeable about smuggling cocaine from Nicaragua into the U.S. by dealers. The attempt to bring up Webb’s past was initiated so the public will not focus on the truth Webb brought out but rather on the mistakes he made in the past, seemingly making him not credible regarding his findings. Even some people from Nicaragua, where Webb got a bulk of his information to write the series, stated how they never spoke to him.

‘Kill the Messenger:’ What Is Done in the Dark Will Come To the Light

People like Maxine Waters, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California, talked about the epidemic of crack cocaine that, specifically, targeted the Black community. Others, such as John Cullen, from the movie, decided to confess because he knew what Webb was saying was the truth, and he was once in the reporter’s shoes as well. He explained the kind of people Webb is dealing with in the government and how it is all lies and corruption where people get attracted to power and then get addicted to that power.

Webb has found the CIA asset and refuses to sit on it. In “Kill the Messenger,” he demonstrates his belief that a journalist’s overall job is, to tell the truth despite how “messy it may be.”

Eventually, Webb ends up resigning from the San Jose Mercury News because they were not fully backing up what he stated in the series “Dark Alliance” due to the backlash from the CIA. However, Webb also did this to have a fresh start.

Kill the MessengerAlthough all the cover-up was going on, towards the end of all the chaos initiated by the “Dark Alliance” series, the Director of the CIA took an unexpected step of encountering the citizens of South Central Los Angeles, where an influx of the drugs was being smuggled.

John Deutch, director of the CIA, left in 1996, one month after the encounter with the citizens. In 1998, a 400-page report released by the CIA recognized the agency coordinated with members of the Contra movement that engaged in the trafficking of drugs. Around this time, the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal flooded national media, and the report was ignored.

“Kill the Messenger” puts a big emphasis on the severity of truth and its value. All the way from the CIA to those working with or for the agency, it was revealed how powerful the truth was to the point people were willing to lie and disrupt lives to cover it up. It also revealed the extent some will go to cover up the truth for the sake of sustaining power. The film reveals down to the wire the selfish desire humankind can possess. It shows why it is important for those, like Webb, to look past the temporary fulfillments of this life to reveal the truth for the sake of others around them despite the approval or lack thereof.

Written by: Ke’Lena Thomas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


IMDb: Kill the Messenger
BBFC: Kill the Messenger
Rotten Tomatoes: Kill the Messenger

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Joe Zierer’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Antonio Fucito’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


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