With what impatience does the man of spirit and ambition, who is depressed by his situation, look around for some great opportunity to distinguish himself? No circumstances, which can afford this, appear to him undesirable. He even looks forward to the prospect of foreign war, or civil dissension, and with secret transport and delight, sees through all the confusion and bloodshed which attend them, the probity of those wished-for occasions presenting themselves, in which he may draw upon himself the attention and admiration of mankind. -- Adam Smith, The theory of moral sentiments (1759)
Al Giordano is a journalist and the publisher of Narco News. An admirable project, Narco News seeks to provide "authentic journalism" on the subject of the so-called war on drugs in Latin America. But the problem with Narco News -- it's a small problem, but one that should not be overlooked -- is the same problem one encounters in each project in which Al Giordano is involved: it is or becomes a vehicle that Al Giordano uses for the purposes of personal self-promotion. That is to say, readers of Narco News learn as much on the subject of Al Giordano -- where he has been and what he's done, the problems he's encountered, the people who have inspired him -- as they learn about the "war on drugs." We would never think of denying someone proper credit for their work. But Al Giordano doesn't simply seek or encourage others to give him credit for what he has accomplished: he wants to be a star, which he thinks requires that he endlessly brag about himself, refer to himself, quote himself and praise himself and the validity, popularity and effectiveness of his efforts. His name is mentioned no less than five times on the main portal to his web site (a .com and not an .org, for some reason), which he proclaims has been visited X number of million times -- as if his site were McDonalds, boasting about the number of burgers they've sold.
Despite its admirable qualities -- a "nose" for a good story, persistence and resiliency -- Al Giordano's politics of relentless self-promotion can get quite tiresome at times. But don't you dare try to say so. If you do, you open yourself to being virulently attacked. With the same force and bravado that he praises himself, Al Giordano will insult you, both personally and politically. According to him, you will never have done anything worthwhile, and will never do anything worthwhile -- or at least at his level of effectiveness. Al Giordano will call upon whatever rumors or slanders or outright lies he has heard or read about you to bolster his personal experiences with you to create as negative a portrait of you as he can. Not only will you fail to recognize yourself in this portrait, you will wonder how someone who praises himself for practicizing "authentic journalism" could stoop to the level of the mean-spirited, evasive, lying little weasels whom he skewers so well in Narco News, just so that he could tell "the truth" about someone who has dared to call him out for a good reason.
Same for the sycophants who are attracted to Al Giordano's cult of personality. For example, on 5 April 2001, "Truth in Sarcasm" posted the following in response to a posting about Al Giordano that included numerous incidences of Al quoting himself and referring to himself, over and over again:
Got that name? It's Al Giordano. A-l G-i-o-r-d-a-n-o. He mentions it as often as he can.
Note well the hysterical, self-righteous and vindictive tone of the response made later in the day by "Free Press," one of Al Giordano's admirers:
Ignore spin doctors concerning NarcoNews.com
I see that right-wing spin doctors, COINTELPRO veterans, and drug warriors have found a place to play at IndyMedia.org
Nice try, dumb-ass, on the divide-and-conquer tactics, but we anti-drug-war activists have seen all these infiltrate-and-disrupt techniques before, pinhead.
I posted the NarcoNews info, and I am not Al Giordano. And many people support NarcoNews.
In other words, anyone who dares to question any aspect of the Narconews.com thing -- especially Al Giordano's well-known predilection to toot his own horn -- is attacked as right-wing, COINTELPRO, a drug warrior, etc etc. This holier-than-thou attitude -- it's enough to make you puke.