4 - Oklahoma road
Sergeant and I spoke on a pay phone to the famed rebel reporter
J.D. Cash. Cash was reluctant to give me any dirt on Pete
Slover, the reporter who broke the news about Hatfield having
a criminal past, just as the cocaine arrest story began
always suspected that Slover got tipped off by Republican
insiders. At this moment in Oklahoma, I was trying to do
research on whether Slover has a past for being used by
the power establishment to discredit deviations from the
accepted "truth.ä It turned out Slover did in 1997 get a
scoop on Timothy McVeigh's "confession" before McVeigh was
willing to take the fall for the entire operation. J.D.
Cash was reluctant to talk about Slover, but at the time
of the 1997 "hoax" confession Cash had plenty to say about
Slover to the Dallas Observer. What happened? Why suddenly
is everyone protecting Pete Slover? Texas journalism is
such a tight little cabal.
then I put John Sergeant on the phone. Sergeant had interviewed
Cash for a piece on the real story behind the Oklahoma City
bombing, and Cash warmed up. It turns out Slover was arrested
earlier in his career for breaking into a public records
office to obtain information. Is this the sign of a good
reporter? Or one willing to do anything to achieve and succeed?
5 - Dallas
bleak desolate insanity of Texas " - John Sergeant
trying to shift the focus of the investigation. Iâm trying
to find a way to substantiate that Hatfield was set up by
Bushâs campaign manager Karl Rove - on the original Bush
cocaine arrest story that originally landed Jim in such
hot water. Trying to find the "accountant" that Jim said
his records were kept with.
thing to look forward to, for certain, seeing the lovely
and smart Pam Colloff tomorrow in Austin. She was a reporter
who accused Hatfield of ripping her off, plagiarizing her
work. At the time, I counter-accused her of making an allegation
that was, upon examination, "pretty thin." These days, I'm
between my stubborn initial defensive posture about Jim
and realizing that he was a scam artist, and not a good
one. He probably did become guilty of a small intellectual
property ethical violation there. I just remember how this
blew up into another odious thing that sank his reputation.
I need to go over the accusation and evidence with Pam.
I need to revisit all assumptions.
I am feeling beat. I ate 20 chicken McNuggets and now I
feel like a python who ate a pig. I am in a hotel again
because the rest of the crew from Channel 4 UK finally showed
up to get in on the story. I read them some of these journal
entries. Maybe that was what was so exhausting: reliving
the initial hubris and sunshine at the outset of this trip
a week ago. (An overnight delivery of the truth? What a
pompous ass. Somebody smack this punk.) Here it is Friday
night, the 5th. A week ago I was watching us on 60 Minutes,
on video, at the press conference, foundering. I'm still
was something really clear about visiting the site of the
JFK assassination. A simple white X in the traffic marks
where he took the final blow, our car slowing down to 3
mph. [Why? Was the driver in on it, or just panicked? Why
was a black umbrella raised in the crowd on this rainless
day, was that a signal? The black umbrella strikes me as
at least symbolic. Bad luck. It's the end of idealism in
America, that moment in November 1963. Or was it the birth
of a new era, in which the Civil Rights struggle turns into
the Poor People's campaign and is then destroyed, power
consolidates but exposes its obvious evil to the people
who will eventually smash it?
7 - Austin, Texas
blown off by Pam Colloff. Texas journalists. I had lunch
with Lou Dubose, who, like everyone else, speaks warmly
about Pam, great reporter, one of the best. Yeah, yeah,
yeah, it's all about reputation to these media pros. It's
the same story in DC. But do they ever have the guts to
break with the pack and do something that might risk their
reputations or their cushy salaries? Have they ever slept
in a van for a week to get the story? Breaking into a records
office or getting inside scoops from political campaigns
it looks like the trip is over now there's only the hell-drive
of three days back to NYC.
7 - McNeill, Mississippi
no it isn't a hell ride that was just raw negativity. It's
all a question of attitude and pills. I just drove nine
hours out of the Southwest and into the Deep South. Screaming
along to old Who songs and Billy Joel's anti-Catholic song.
The Brits left herbal uppers in the van and they are great.
That mixed with chocolate and Advil makes a long haul effortless
and smooth. Well, nothing's effortless.
the reason the Austin entry was interrupted was because
I found my man Lou Dubose. Lou was cool. The co-author of
Shrub, the book about Bush written with Molly Ivins, Lou
gave me a ton of leads for my research on Karl Rove. I bought
him lunch. Financially it wasn't smart, because I'm going
to need every penny for gas, but spiritually, I had to do
it. He really helped me out. He gave me a reason to be in
pretty Austin. He had heard of me being the super with a
publishing company in NYC, and we got along well. I found
him to be principled, soft-spoken and thoughtful. He threatened
to sue to get Bush's governor's records out of his fatherÕs
knows about several smoldering scandals from the Bush governorship,
the details of some of which are only now emerging or being
submerged. How Rove often launched FBI investigations on
people his candidate was running against. How he hides the
dirt on Bush as governor by scuttling the candidacy of a
clean Independent for Attorney General. I'm newly inspired
to research Rove and pull out the truth from this diseased
body of American politics. Rove is a telling symbol.
told me something great about Rove. Lou spoke publicly about
Rove at a liberal think tank's seminar and joked about the
possibility of someone monitoring him from Rove's camp.
Lou later got a note that said, "Hi Lou" and in so many
words, said Yes, we are. We're out here. We're watching.
How many other people have gotten creepy notices of surveillance
from Rove? Someone should document them all. I'll do it.
this investigation has to conclude that Hatfield most likely
committed suicide alone, the two years that lead up to this
were not all Hatfield's doing. At lunch with Lou, I practiced
telling Jim's story without the tangents: Rove set Hatfield
up and then Rove broke him. The blood of a good writer is
on his hands.
Hicks is founder and director of Soft Skull Press, publisher
of Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American
President, by J.H. Hatfield. He sings in White Collar Crime
and writes plays. He is currently at work on a biography
of Karl Rove. For more info on any of this, go to www.softskull.com.