News Release

Robert Parry, ConsortiumNews Founder Who Challenged the Establishment, Dies

The media watch group FAIR writes: “Journalism lost one of its most valuable investigators when Robert Parry died from pancreatic cancer on January 27, at the age of 68. He was the first reporter to reveal Oliver North’s operation in the White House basement (AP, 6/10/1985), and the co-author of the first report on Contra drug-smuggling (AP, 12/21/1985). He did some of the most important work investigating the 1980 Reagan campaign’s efforts to delay the return of U.S. hostages held in Iran, a scandal known as the October Surprise.

“After breaking his first big stories with the Associated Press, Bob moved on to Newsweek and then later PBS‘s Frontline. Frustrated with the limits and compromises of corporate media — he was once told that a story on Contra financial skullduggery had to be watered down because Newsweek owner Katharine Graham was having Henry Kissinger as a weekend guest (Media Beat, 4/23/98) — Bob launched his own online outlet, ConsortiumNews.”

See also New York Times obituary.

NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive at gmail.com
Executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Solomon writes in The Nation: “No one knew better than Bob Parry how intelligence agencies and major media outlets can create a cascading frenzy. Beginning in late 2016, Bob was prolific as he debunked the torrent of hyperbolic claims about Russia that became an ever-present flood across the U.S. media landscape. Some progressive sites went from often posting his articles in 2016 to rarely or never posting them in 2017.”

Some of Parry’s pieces over the last year at ConsortiumNews include “The Lost Journalistic Standards of Russia-gate,” “Trump Falls in Line with Interventionism” and “Why Not a Probe of ‘Israel-gate’?” After suffering a stroke on Christmas Eve, Bob Parry wrote a piece titled “An Apology and Explanation.”

NAT PARRY, ndtparry at gmail.com, Skype: natparry76, @ConsortiumNews
Nat Parry co-authored Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush with Bob Parry and is one of his sons. He will be leaving the U.S. on Tuesday for Denmark, where he is based. He recently wrote a widely circulated overview piece on his father’s work, including how journalist Gary Webb (who committed suicide) built on Bob Parry’s work on Contra cocaine and was harshly attacked by establishment media; the Obama era and “Political Realignment and the New McCarthyism.” Nat appeared on the radio program “Flashpoints” Monday night with journalists Dennis Bernstein and John Pilger (who presented Bob with the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism last year). The program was devoted to Bob’s work.

DIANE DUSTON, dduston429 at aol.com
Duston was married to Bob for over 30 years. They met working at the AP in the 1980s. She is Nat’s stepmother. She said today of Bob’s work as an investigative reporter: “He had this incredible capacity to dig through documents and find the threads of truth there. I was more of a breaking news reporter, I enjoyed managing people and helping young reporters. … It all ended too soon.”

In 2015, Parry was awarded the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University. See his remarks which include a description of how he found top secret documents about the October Surprise in an abandoned ladies room in a U.S. Capitol building. These documents were what initially compelled him to start ConsortiumNews on the Internet. In his address, he stresses the importance of not having preferred outcomes for stories: “I don’t care what the truth is, I just care what the truth is.”

This in-depth interview with Mark Ames from 2017 includes a description of how Parry dug up parts of the Iran-Contra scandal, including by playing different factions of the Contras against each other. Parry also talks about the necessity of funding truly independent media outlets.

Parry’s books include Fooling America: How Washington Insiders Twist the Truth and Manufacture the Conventional Wisdom, Trick or Treason: The 1980 October Surprise Mystery and America’s Stolen Narrative: From Washington and Madison to Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes to Obama.