With the U.S. economy in rough times, I’ve heard from a number of readers that while they would like to help our mid-year fundraiser – and they recognize how important it is to sustain independent journalism – they are hard-pressed financially.

So, I’d like to make a request on this Independence Day weekend on behalf of independent journalism – and for what we have tried to do over the years to honor the principles of freedom spelled out by the Founders 232 years ago.

Consider forwarding the following letter – modified as you see fit – to people on your own e-mail lists.

Besides helping us meet our financial needs, it might alert more people to the hard work that we put into what we do every day. As you know, we provide our articles free of charge and without requiring people to watch ads before they get access to the Web site.

Draft Letter:

Dear Friend,

At a time when the U.S. news media has so often let the country down, I’d like to recommend what I find to be a valuable source of honest news, Consortiumnews.com.

The Web site was founded in 1995 by investigative reporter Robert Parry, who broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for the Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

By the mid-1990s, it had become apparent to Parry – from first-hand experience – that something was very wrong with the U.S. national press corps. “News” was focusing more on trivia and gotcha-games and less on substance and exposure of serious wrongdoing.

Parry felt that the Internet offered a unique opportunity to combine old-fashioned investigative journalism with modern technology at a modest price. So, with technical help from his oldest son, Sam, Consortiumnews.com was born.

In the nearly 13 years since, this Web site has generated hundreds upon hundreds of investigative articles – touching on national security, foreign policy, the environment, politics, and media criticism.

The site’s signature style is to blend relevant lessons of recent history into the stories of the day, so readers get more than just a superficial understanding of current events.

For instance, in the context of disclosures about the Bush administration’s Iraq War propaganda, a Consortiumnews.com “special report” revealed a suppressed chapter of the congressional Iran-Contra investigation, which had uncovered a similar deception program by the Reagan administration regarding the war in Nicaragua.

However, because Republicans succeeded in beating back that disclosure 20 years ago, the propaganda apparatus survived – and even thrived – to mislead the American people during the run-up to the war in Iraq.

The point of the story – entitled “Iran-Contra’s ‘Lost Chapter’” – was that President George W. Bush’s success in duping the Washington press corps and deceiving the American public wasn’t just an anomaly; it was part of a sustained assault on democracy.

Besides working with talented journalists, Consortiumnews.com collaborates with former CIA analysts, like Ray McGovern, who bring their own special talents to bear in explaining the complex ins-and-outs of foreign policy.

The Web site also serves as a portal to other quality independent journalism, such as the video reports from TheRealNews.com.

All this requires money, of course. But if we as a nation have learned anything over the past eight years, it is that there are few investments more important in a democracy than making sure that the public is well informed.

If a little more truth about Al Gore’s qualities and George W. Bush’s realities were known in 2000, the United States might be in a much better place today. The country can’t afford a replay in 2008.

Consortiumnews.com is now in the middle of its mid-year fundraising drive. So, if you can, please consider a tax-deductible donation to its parent, the Consortium for Independent Journalism, an IRS-recognized 501-c-3 educational non-profit since 1999.

Contributions can be made by credit card at the Consortiumnews.com Web site or by sending a check to:

Consortium for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
Suite 102-231
2200 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201

Thanks so much.

Sincerely,

(Your name)

End of Letter

Thank you so much.

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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