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Cowardice in journalism triumphs when an experienced reporter uses insufficient evidence to accuse a movement leader of being an FBI informer betraying the Black Panther Party and others – after the brother is dead and the crows and worms have already done their work.
Seth Rosenfeld’s dramatic announcement that Richard Aoki was an FBI informant provoked an enormous response from Chronicle readers. Could it be true? Or was this a “snitch-jacketing,” a classic FBI tactic used to cast suspicion on a legitimate activist by spreading rumors and manufacturing evidence?