Telling Truth Early
Editor’s Note: As we start our spring fundraising drive – so we can continue to produce the independent journalism that you see at Consortiumnews.com – we thought you’d be interested in some of the reasons we do what we do.
(Click here to make a tax-deductible donation.)
One of our top goals at Consortiumnews.com – and what I’ve tried to do throughout my three-decade career in national journalism – is to give readers important information that they haven’t encountered elsewhere, what you might call telling truth early.
There is always a danger in doing this, because many people tend to reject what they haven’t heard before. Sometimes, the information is unwelcome because it goes against a preconception or it disrupts a favored point of view. It might cause discomfort or anger.
That was the case in the mid-1980s when my work at the Associated Press helped expose Oliver North’s secret operations supplying the Nicaraguan contras as well as the even darker secret – that many contras were collaborating with cocaine traffickers and that senior officials in the Reagan administration covered up this reality for political reasons.
That truth was so objectionable that many Americans didn’t want to believe it – and many powerful people in Washington were determined to hide it. Because of the harsh denials and the determined counterattacks, the full story of the contras and cocaine is still only hazily known to this day.
Since I founded Consortiumnews.com in 1995, many of our stories have encountered similar resistance despite solid evidence.
That was true with our original series which disclosed hidden government records that supported allegations of a clandestine Republican collaboration with Iran’s radical Islamists tracing back to 1980 – carried out behind President Jimmy Carter’s back and arguably bordering on treason.
And we have continued to ruffle feathers to the present, especially when we describe disturbing trends in the Iraq War.
From the war’s earliest days – when we went against the grain and reported that the U.S. invasion was careening toward disaster – to more recently when we explained how loose rules of engagement have given U.S. troops license to kill Iraqis with little or no provocation and little or no accountability.
Those stories drew angry e-mails from some Americans, who don’t want to think of their country as an imperial aggressor (and incompetent to boot) or of their soldiers as murderers – even though that is the reality that George W. Bush and his neoconservative advisers have left us with.
We’ve drawn complaints, too, for our reporting on the Bush administration’s encroachments on constitutional rights as it laid the foundation for what looks like a full-scale national security state, waiting only for a new excuse.
And we’ve annoyed some readers this year for writing critically about the behavior of presidential candidates from both parties, citing questionable assertions that they’ve made and harmful tactics that they’ve employed.
For instance, an article that I wrote at the time of the New Hampshire primary cited Hillary Clinton’s attempt to save her campaign by playing the gender card, a move that I warned could push the Democrats into an ugly battle over identity politics and arguments over which group – women or blacks – had the greater claim to victimization.
Some Clinton supporters were angry. They either didn’t want to believe the story or didn’t want others to see it. However, it was – like many of our other articles – simply an attempt to give our readers important information in a timely fashion.
So, that is what we hope to continue doing. And we need your help to do it.
For our spring fundraiser, we have set a modest goal of $25,000. But we must reach it if we are to continue functioning through the months ahead.
Even if you’re one of the readers who’s been miffed about something we've written, I hope you’ll understand that our goal is simply to tell you the truth as best we can – and to tell it to you early.
To make a tax-deductible donation by credit card, click here.
Or you can send a check to: Consortium for Independent Journalism (CIJ); Suite 102-231; 2200 Wilson Blvd.; Arlington, VA 22201.
(For readers using PayPal, address donations to our account, which is named "firstname.lastname@example.org".)
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
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