Investigative reporter Wayne Barrett has died at age 71 of complications of interstitial lung disease in Manhattan.
News of Barrett’s death broke as thousands protested near Central Park against the inauguration of Donald Trump, a man he began covering in the 1970s. His 1991 biography of Trump was republished last year in paperback with the title of “Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention.”
Barrett continued to cover Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign even though he was largely homebound due to lung cancer. Above, watch part of our 2016 interview with him about how Trump profited from public subsidies and political favors.
“I think he represents not just a danger to America, but because we are such an influence in the world, it’s really a shocking threat to the world,” Barrett said in another part of the extended interview on Democracy Now!. “And so, you know, I’m in a sick bed a lot, but he gets me up out of it.”
Most recently Barrett reported for the New York Daily News and The Daily Beast, and before that he worked for nearly four decades at the Voice before he was laid off in 2011. At the Voice he exposed corruption and broke stories on New York’s elected officials, including former mayors Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani. His also wrote books on the two men: “City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York” and “Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11.”
The prolific writer was also a beloved mentor to hundreds of young journalists. “I tell the young people still drawn to this duty that it is the most honorable one in America, and that I have never met a corrupt journalist,” he wrote in his final column for the Voice.
“It makes you live and breathe, a good story,” Barrett told Democracy Now! in 2011.
Watch more of Barrett’s interviews about Donald Trump: