Killing The Messenger has been in stores for five days and my first public appearance about the book drew a standing room only crowd and was filmed by CSPAN’s Book TV channel. Diesel Books, a wonderful independent store, sold out its allotment of copies, dozens of which I signed. And an Oakland activist named Marvin X showed up, yelling “snow job!” and promoting his claims that Chauncey Bailey’s real killers were the Mexican Mafia and corrupt cops.
Oakland Post publisher Paul Cobb and Marvin have claimed Bailey was really working on a story about police and political corruption and that the Beys were just pawns in a grad conspiracy. Thursday was the first time I have heard that this alternative theory includes drug cartels. Marvin fancies himself the leader of the “Black Chauncey Bailey Project” as if we are the white Chauncey Bailey Project. Cobb has always been resentful that money that went to the CBP from the Knight Foundation and others funders did not instead go the Post to offset revenue declines after Bailey was killed. And he has claimed police ignored statements he says he gave to detectives that Bailey was working on a corruption story at the time of his death. Marvin’s appearance and subsequent blog posts about the book make for added theatre. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, Cobb writes in this week’s Post. Cobb’s lawyer, Walter Riley, was at Diesel and when I signed his copy for him he told me I had “trashed” Cobb in Killing The Messenger, which is not accurate. Cobb, who wouldn’t publish Bailey’s story about Your Black Muslim Bakery, and who anyone who has encountered him can attest, can be a very difficult person to deal with. Some of his conspiracy theories about Bailey’s murder and what Bailey was “really” working on are in the book. They speak for themselves.
I will be on KQED Public Radio’s Forum with Michael Krasny at 10 a.m. Monday discussing the book and then at 6 p.m. speaking and signing copies at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism library at North Gate Hall on the Cal campus. That event is open to the public.