Bananas, Bulldozers and Bullets
Under intense pressure from Chiquita, which threatened to sue, the
Cinncinatti Enquirer’s owners disavowed the story, paid Chiquita a $1
million fine, wrote a front-page apology and fired the story’s lead reporter
Mike Gallagher. Gallagher, a prize-winning veteran reporter, was accused of
misrepresenting the source of internal CBI voicemail tapes. Gallaher claimed
his source was “a high ranking Chiquita executive.” The Enquirer concluded
that Gallagher had stolen the tapes.
Enquirer publisher Harry M. Whipple and editor Lawrence K. Beaupre
apologized to Chiquita for the reporter’s “alleged unethical and unlawful
conduct” and for the exposés “untrue conclusions.” The subsequent media
uproar masked some important facts: The validity of the tapes (which
comprised only a small portion of the extensive report on CBI’s activities)
was never questioned nor has Chiquita challenged the validity of the
disclosures in the Enquirer’s expose.
Since the Cincinnati Enquirer has disowned their report and have removed it