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30 Jan, 2018 13:50

Oliver Stone leads tributes to Robert Parry as shady US lobbyists PropOrNot dance on his grave

Oliver Stone leads tributes to Robert Parry as shady US lobbyists PropOrNot dance on his grave

The anonymous anti-Russia lobby group PropOrNot has stunned social media users with an outrageous attack on the memory of Robert Parry, the crusading journalist who died last weekend.

Clearly forgetting the usual convention by which polite society never “speaks ill of the dead,” the smear-merchants weren’t willing to bury their enmity towards the writer, even in the immediate aftermath of his untimely death.

He is, no doubt, hot-bunking it in hell with Lord Haw-Haw. Good riddance,” the activists wrote, after accusing Parry of “spreading lies in the service of brutally corrupt regimes that are at war with us.”

Not content with those ungracious words, the obsessives escalated matters with a follow-up tweet.

“Robert Perry died mad about the fact that people were calling him what he was. The truth is poison for a guilty mind,” they wrote, neglecting to spell his surname correctly. 

Colleague remembered

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Hollywood legend Oliver Stone dropped a touching tribute to his late friend. The three-time Oscar winner opined how Parry’s passing “leaves a giant hole in American journalism.”

“As audiences, we're inundated with the surface of events but seem unable to interpret them correctly; with intelligent, common-sense repetition (not the continual Russia-bashing of NY Times and WaPo), we learn and remember,” the ‘Wall Street’ and ‘JFK’ director wrote. There's a critical need for Parry's Consortium News to continue as a foundation for progressive, independent journalism. I hope, as the years go, you'll follow and contribute to this legacy and come to appreciate its importance in our present condition.”

Stone also paid tribute to Parry’s bravery, noting how “to my mind, he exists now alongside I.F. Stone, Drew Pearson, George Seldes, Gary Webb, and others as seekers of truth at the steep price you seem to have to pay to follow your common sense and your integrity when they are in direct opposition to the tyranny of mainstream media conformity.”

PropOrNot was made famous when the Washington Post legitimized its agenda in late 2016 by reporting its (evidence-free) findings that  around 200 US alternative-media outlets were operating on behalf of “Russian Propaganda.” The Post’s role in the outrage was widely slammed. The Intercept described it as “McCarthyite”, and Rolling Stone as “shameful and disgusting,” while the New Yorker classified it as “propaganda” in itself.

The Washington Post later tried to distance itself from the organization, appending an “Editor's Note” to its piece in response to the widespread criticism. For its part, PropOrNot refuses to reveal the identities of its operatives, only stating that around 40 individuals are involved. This is a statement that has to be taken with a pinch of salt, much like blogosphere speculation about the smear artists’ alleged ties to the Washington establishment. 

A fine legacy

PropOrNot wasn’t alone in anonymously showing disdain for Parry. The Twitter account ‘Soviet Sergey’ weighed in with “good, he was a vile liar.” While a “parody” account wouldn’t usually merit mention,  this one has been heavily promoted by Jakub Janka of the George Soros-backed ‘European Values’ in Prague. The activist regularly includes it alongside figures such as Times of London columnist Edward Lucas, Atlantic Council lobbyist Ben Nimmo and Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum in his tweets. 

Parry was born in 1949 in Connecticut and worked for the Associated Press, PBS and Newsweek. He won a George Polk Award in 1984 for his stories on how the CIA helped the so-called contras, right-wing rebels who were fighting the socialist government in Nicaragua. The journalist later revealed the involvement of National Security Council officer Oliver North in a clandestine operation to support the same contras with revenues from secret arms sales to Iran.

However, by 1995, he’d become disillusioned with the mainstream media and established the Consortium for Independent Journalism.

“The people who succeeded and did well” in the popular press, he told media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting in 1993, “were those who didn’t stand up, who didn’t write the big stories, who looked the other way when history was happening in front of them, and went along either consciously or just by cowardice with the deception of the American people.”

Bryan MacDonald, for RT

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article described Edward Lucas as an Economist Editor. However, Mr. Lucas is no longer employed at that magazine, which he was associated with for many years. We were happy to correct the record.