Welcome to Derelict Gunslinger

Odyssey of a Derelict Gunslinger: A Saga of Exposing TV Preachers, Corrupt Politicians, Right-Wing Lunatics…and Me is a gonzo memoir of my journey from a skid row curbside to semi-prominence as a prize-winning investigative reporter. During three decades of muckraking, I collected four Peabody medallions and multiples of every important broadcast journalism prize. Before retiring as CNN’s Senior Investigative Correspondent, I made a career of exposing the misdeeds and misrepresentations of Presidents, Presidential candidates, Governors, Congressmen, televangelists, and an assortment of crooks and scoundrels. 

Derelict Gunslinger is a laugh-out-loud account of traveling with TV preacher Jimmy Swaggart, secretly filming Mafia dons, flying alongside notorious a dope smuggler to a mythical “CIA” operations base in Mena, Arkansas, and defending Bill and Hillary Clinton at the outset of the Whitewater debacle. It was fun while it lasted.

But unfortunately, corporate greed diminished journalism’s commitment to substantive news and ultimately reduced television journalism to drivel and superficiality. For the first time, this book reveals details of events that led to CNN’s cowardly retreat from investigative reporting following a controversial story that accused the U.S. military of using nerve gas during the Vietnam War. The network has never been the same. 

In the course of my odyssey, I encountered dozens of fascinating characters, had many remarkable adventures and made my share of mistakes personally and professionally. At the same time, I endured heartbreaking tragedy, and found a path to redemption and reconciliation.

My story is one of transforming despair, hopelessness and failure into happiness, hope and success. In a parallel world of professional achievements, I tell how a Twelve Step program saved my life and taught me principles that have been the keystone of sobriety, as well as the foundation of my accomplishments as an investigative reporter.

This book is about resilience that came about by trying to keep myself in perspective through the worst and best of situations. Most importantly, it is about searching for truth—as a reporter and as a flawed human being.