How the FBI Tamed Muckraking Reporter Ned Day, as related to me by Mike Kent

Ned Day was groomed into the news business by anti-establishment legend Bob Brown and his North Las Vegas “Valley Times.” The Valley Times was legendary for breaking stories The Las Vegas Sun and the Review Journal wouldn’t touch, stories embarrassing to the local establishment, including the FBI.

Ned became a champ at digging out the dirty laundry — and so well-known for his exploits that someone blew up his car. So well-known that he was hired away from the Valley Times by the Review Journal in 1981.

It was clear that Ned had connections inside the FBI. AND inside the “mob.” He used them, they used him.

Mike Kent — of computer gang fame — was somewhat of a fan. He’d been remarking that Ned seemed to have lost his anti-establishment edge.

Secret Empires: How th... Peter Schweizer Best Price: $9.41 Buy New $14.90 (as of 10:05 EST - Details) Doc Ivan Mindlin was pimping Mike during those days, teaching him the social ropes. Doc was team doctor for the UNLV Rebels and so got some gonzo invites. As it turns out, Doc also had mob connections but that’s a different story.

Mike ran into Ned at an ACLU fundraiser. And, not yet being completely conditioned into proper etiquette, asked Ned straight out, ~”What’s up with that?” That being his kinder gentler handling of the FBI.

Apparently Mike caught Ned in the right frame of mind. The conversation, as Mike related it to me, went something like this – – –

“Well Mr. K, to make a long story short, I had a very good FBI inside source. I’d buy him lunch, sometimes dinner, and he’d talk. Sort of a cheap trick. At least that’s what I thought.”

“Like the wiley boar in the Black Forest hunter fable, I got lazy and dependent on his inside information, dropped other lessor contacts and didn’t develop new ones. Inside FBI whistle-blowers aren’t that easy to find.

“I remember the day things changed. He called me. Said he had a scoop on Spilotro — the guy I’m pretty sure had my car bombed.

“And, for the first time, he bought me lunch.

“Things had changed. ‘You didn’t think all those inside tips were free did you Ned? The higher-ups want something in return now.’

“I didn’t like the way things were going. ‘What do you mean?’ I asked.

“‘I mean the higher-ups want more favorable coverage for us.’

“‘I’m not going to change my style or slant, if that’s what you’re getting at,’ I told him.

“‘Suit yourself Neddy, but you got your career jump-started on your FBI coverage, and we both know where you got the information.

“‘Don’t worry, the tips will keep coming but every once in awhile, they’ll want you to soft pedal this or that. From critical to neutral maybe. And now and then, they may want you to plant some bait or a red-herring.’

“‘I’m not going to compromise my reporting,’ I told him.

“‘They don’t expect you to, they just want to be handled more gently. You can continue on the inside track or there are other reporters who would like your advantage. And you can go back to pounding the pavement like you did in your earlier career.’

“I hate to admit it, Mr. K., but he had me sized up just right. I was the cheap trick. I was hoping my readers wouldn’t notice.”

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