‘A Very Different Journalist’: John Pilger’s Tribute to Bob Parry

A memorial for the late founder and editor of Consortium News, Bob Parry, was held on Saturday in Arlington, Virginia. A video of the event will be posted. Among the many tributes made to Bob was this sent by the legendary journalist and filmmaker John Pilger, who was in Australia and was unable to attend.

By John Pilger

I would like to thank Diane and Bob’s family for this honour of paying tribute to Bob. I am on the other side of the world but I am with you in spirit.

I first heard of Bob Parry in the wake of Iran-Contra. The unique element about this scandal was its revelation of the criminal nature that exists at the heart of great power.

Bob’s support for Gary Webb, for Sy Hersh’s extraordinary work, and other courageous journalists who dared to step outside the mainstream was expressed in his own journalism — which seemed to grow even more passionate and incisive as the years went on.

His founding of Consortiumnews was a landmark. He was saying, in effect: We must not lie down in the face of the media monoliths: the Murdochs, the liberal pretenders: the censors and collaborators. In Consortium, he offered a refuge to those of us cleansed from a system that now embraced extremism.

Last June, in London, I had the privilege of presenting Bob with the 2017 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism — given in honor of the great American reporter Martha Gellhorn and open to journalists anywhere in the world, writing in English. It took the judges several months to read and assess the entries; there were so many, and the standard was remarkable.

Bob Parry was the clearest winner we’ve ever had.

Why? Because of his insistence that journalism was the voice of facts and truthfulness, not a form of public relations: not the propaganda of power.

These qualities stood out in Bob Parry’s work.

All of us at the prize-giving dinner were stunned by the address Bob gave, off the cuff, in which he demystified and laid bare the rise of rapacious, criminal power in Washington. His original thought, his eloquence, wit and grace and his acute

Bob receiving Gellhorn award from Pilger in London, June 27, 2017.

historical understanding so distinguished this very different journalist.

It’s hardly surprising that perhaps the greatest award he wore, like a reporter’s badge of honor, was the fear and loathing of the kind of people in power today.

Even his valedictory piece – written after he suffered the first stroke in December — lacked none of his incisiveness and passion as he described, in both sorrow and anger, the decline of journalism: a craft he clearly loved.

In today’s media landscape of distortion and collusion — which, as Bob pointed out in his last piece, is undermining what’s left of democracy — Bob Parry was a beacon.

I salute him, and I suggest we make his memory a beacon, too.

Thank you.

John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com. His new film, “The Coming War on China,” is available in the U.S. from www.bullfrogfilms.com

28 comments for “‘A Very Different Journalist’: John Pilger’s Tribute to Bob Parry

  1. Doug Vaughan
    April 17, 2018 at 14:35

    Bob will be truly and sorely missed. Already is. Sorry I couldn’t attend this
    memorial in tribute to his life and work.

  2. JanJ
    April 16, 2018 at 13:38

    I agree with all the above tributes to this extraordinary man. I only wish Mr. Parry’s writings and this site were more widely known. Kudos to his family and friends for continuing his work, and to all who spread the word.

  3. Nancy
    April 16, 2018 at 12:59

    It’s hard to believe this amazing man is gone from this earth. He had the unusual combination of intelligence, honor and courage so lacking in most of the media lackeys we are subjected to these days.

  4. xun Pomponio
    April 16, 2018 at 12:38

    I am extremely grateful for Bob Parry, John Pilger for the great journalism you are upholding. I discovered CN several years ago and has been hooked ever since. I hope that that Bob Parry’s spirit will live on and also it will tranform other journalists to follow. My solute to John Pilger also!

  5. backwardsevolution
    April 16, 2018 at 01:20

    While reading the wonderful articles at Consortium, my eyes are always drawn to the right-hand side of the page, towards the smiling face of the honorable Robert Parry. Each time I look at his picture, I get the sense that he is not far away at all, that he is right beside us, urging us on to follow the truth. We must not let him down.

  6. Skeptigal
    April 15, 2018 at 22:29

    I thank Mr. Parry for his contributions to true journalism. I hope there will be a new generation of journalists who will have the dedication and integrity that would have made Mr. Parry proud. To those journalists, never give up on finding the truth, as stated in this proverb: “A lie runs until it is overtaken by the truth.”

  7. tina
    April 15, 2018 at 21:50

    Dear Bob Perry’s Family,

    This time is so hard. Your Robert, has done so much to inspire us all, whether we are professional journalists, or citizen journalists. My family knows your name because of the integrity and honesty that Robert has displayed in his life. My kids are 28. and 23. They know of Mr. Robert Parry because I introduced him to them. My heart goes out to your family, Robert, or Bob, will live on. His work will keep going. Love, Tina

    • tina
      April 15, 2018 at 21:55

      so sorry about the “e” I was emotional , I did not mean any disrespect, just typing too fast.

  8. Known Unknown
    April 15, 2018 at 20:09

    Very eloquent and heartfelt tribute.

  9. April 15, 2018 at 19:51

    The best tribute to Robert Parry is to keep this site going by contributing financially, however each can, and by spreading the word in order to awaken others.

  10. Abe
    April 15, 2018 at 19:44

    In his December 31, 2017 piece on Consortium News, Robert Parry discussed the matter of “staging chemical weapons attacks in Syria so the atrocities would be blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad”

    Parry noted that the “Western media and the bulk of international agencies and NGOs were committed to gin up another case for ‘regime change’ and any skeptics were decried as ‘Assad apologists’ or ‘conspiracy theorists,’ the actual facts be damned.”

    Parry specifically investigated the “regime change” efforts of “NATO-friendly groups like Bellingcat, whose conclusions always fit neatly with the propaganda needs of the Western powers”.

    With the world having witnessed yet another staged chemical weapons attack in Syria and another military response from the U.S. and its NATO enablers, fueled by propaganda supplied by Bellingcat and “regime change” groups like the Atlantic Council, it is time for other independent journalists to follow the lead of Robert Parry and carry forward in-depth investigations of the fake “citizen journalists” and bogus “researchers” who continue to fabricate “regime change” war propaganda.

    The best possible tribute to Parry will be for real independent investigative journalists, documentary film makers, and researchers to focus their efforts, fully investigate, and report on the “open source and social media” war propaganda churned out by Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council, and other “regime change” disinformation groups.

  11. jose
    April 15, 2018 at 18:55

    I believe that when Mr. Parry passed away; We all lost a true giant of journalism. His honesty and incisiveness when reporting was hard to match, let along to surpass. Luckily for us that appreciate truthfulness when trying to be informed adequately, Consortiumnews.com will be there to illuminate the true path. Mr. Parry will be dearly miss.

  12. April 15, 2018 at 18:31

    A good tribute to Robert Parry, a principled journalist who kept writing and speaking out; would be for all of us to: “Never give up exposing the corruption that is happening.”

  13. Bob Van Noy
    April 15, 2018 at 18:23

    Perhaps our best honor to Robert Parry will be the care and nurturing of this wonderful site that he has established…

    • jose
      April 15, 2018 at 18:58

      I could not agree more. Mr. Parry’s endeavor regarding honest and true reporting must shine the true path. Good point Bob.

  14. Andrew
    April 15, 2018 at 17:55

    Could Consortium news publish Robert Parry’s Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism acceptance speech that Mr Pilger refers to?

    • Consortiumnews.com
      April 15, 2018 at 18:04

      As Pilger says, Bob made off-the-cuff remarks, so sadly a copy of his remarks does not exist. But John Pilger’s tribute above does contain a link to Pilger’s presentation of the award.

  15. Lois Gagnon
    April 15, 2018 at 17:46

    I agree with Jim. The best tribute to Bob is to keep this site up and running by funding it.

  16. April 15, 2018 at 17:21

    Thanks for this tribute.

    If you could not attend the memorial, as unfortunately I could not, leave a donation for Bob’s memory.

    I am hoping that Consortium News continues as a tribute to Bob’s memory and of what good journalism can be.

  17. Drew Hunkins
    April 15, 2018 at 17:06

    Pilger honoring Parry, two absolute giants of humanity.

    Two men any young person today should feel proud to emulate in any way possible. Informal mentors extraordinaire.

  18. Gregory Herr
    April 15, 2018 at 16:59

    A touching tribute to an honorable man–a beacon for truth, justice, and standard bearer for excellence in journalism.

    • jose
      April 15, 2018 at 19:10

      Everything you have stated in your post is accurate. In order for someone to appreciate Mr. Parry’s decent and truthful reporting, all one has to do is to compare his work against the national media one to realize the dishonesty and lack of journalistic integrity of the latter. Also, Mr. Parry’s support for other great reporters such as Webb and Hersh are worthy of mentioning. I would like to finish my post by quoting Bernard of Chartre from the 12th century. Its most familiar expression in English is by Isaac Newton in 1675: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Robert Parry was one of those US true giants of American journalism. I am very confident his legacy will live on.

  19. April 15, 2018 at 16:36

    Send a postcard of encouragement to Julian:

    Julian Assange c/o
    Embassy of Ecuador
    Flat 3b, 3 Hans Crescent, London SW1X 0LS

    • rosemerry
      April 15, 2018 at 16:47

      Marvellous idea. I wondered how we could get in touch with him.

    • Lois Gagnon
      April 15, 2018 at 17:44

      Thank you for the suggestion. I will carry it out tomorrow.

    • backwardsevolution
      April 16, 2018 at 00:19

      Ted – thank you.

    • john wilson
      April 16, 2018 at 04:30

      Don’t send an open post card it can and will be read by our criminal UK government and then destroyed. Send you support to Assange in a sealed envelope which the prying eyes of our very own Stasi can’t get at.

      • rosemerry
        April 17, 2018 at 17:15

        Perhaps they will assume it has poison powder (novichok mk 2) inside.

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