More Messages: Author, Author

The current issue of the Boulder Weekly contains one of its more bizarre (and dubious) features in recent memory: a sprawling Q&A with Pamela Clare, author of a new romantic thriller entitled Hard Evidence. What's so weird about that? Because Clare is actually Pam White, who just happens to edit... the Boulder Weekly.

There's nothing wrong with publications letting readers know about books or other outside projects involving staffers, as long as there's full disclosure -- and while Clare's name, not White's, appears in the piece's deck, writer Vince Darcangelo spells things out, sort of, via a parenthetical mention in the first paragraph. Moreover, White is an interesting character with a unique approach to the romance genre, which is why Westword profiled her in a 2003 column. Yet that hardly justifies the Weekly lavishing nearly 3,000 words (!) on White's latest opus -- a decision that takes blowing one's own horn to a new and embarrassing level.

Speaking of which: White (who's referred to at the start of each quote as "PC") reveals that her new tome was inspired in part by an article she wrote about David Race Bannon. White notes that Bannon "claimed to have worked as an assassin for Interpol, tracking down and killing the worst perpetrators of child sex trafficking" before adding, "As it turned out, Bannon was a complete fraud."

True enough: Bannon was arrested in January 2006 on a number of charges, including criminal impersonation. However, White fails to mention that the Weekly was taken in by Bannon's tales not once but twice. Here's how Westword detailed the situation in an edition of Off-Limits published shortly after Bannon was busted:

In a 2004 Boulder Weekly article, Bannon claimed that as part of Archangel, a clandestine Interpol wing, he worked as a "cleaner" -- an avenging agent whose job was to "get close to the worst perpetrators of child trafficking and child sexual exploitation, to extract information from them by force and to kill them." (Yeah, sure.) After that story's publication, an Interpol representative informed the paper that the agency had "no record of David Race Bannon having been employed and no knowledge of individuals mentioned in Mr. Bannon's book," and described his assertions as "deceptive and irresponsible fantasy." The Weekly responded by calling Bannon, who reaffirmed his previous employment and suggested that folks at Interpol's press office were attempting to undermine him because of tremendous pressure to bolster the organization's "public image." And not only did the Weekly report that in a follow-up item, but it noted with more than a smidgen of smugness that Bannon "has been featured on Fox News and National Public Radio, in addition to serving as an expert witness in federal court, where, apparently, his 'irresponsible fantasies' are taken seriously."

Granted, Hard Evidence is a work of fiction, plain and simple. But that doesn't mean the Weekly should have spent so much newsprint ballyhooing it, particularly given White's role at the paper. And you thought the Rocky Mountain News goes overboard with self-promotion... -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts