On the Anniversary of Reporter Gary Webb’s Suicide, a Colleague Pays His Annual Tribute

Author and former AP-Newsweek reporter Robert Parry clocks in at his venerable ConsortiumNews.com investigative site with a long, provocative piece about the way he and deceased colleague Gary Webb were thrown under the proverbial media bus for their leading-edge Iran Contra reporting. Today marks the sixth anniversary of Webb’s Sacramento suicide.

Parry makes a point of revisiting the topic on each and every anniversary of his colleague’s tragic death, but says he can make no more sense of it all today  than he could in 2004. He sees a great parallel between the way the mainstream American media rushed to the implicit defense of Reagan in the wake of Webb’s 1996 reporting for the San Jose Mercury News and the manner it toed the Bush WMD line.

Parry also remembers how confused Webb was when he warned, based on his own mid-1980’s Contra reporting experience, that the powers that be at the LA Times, New York Times and Washington Post would likely ignore the new allegations:

Webb sounded confused by my account, as if I were telling him something that was foreign to his personal experience, something that just didn’t compute. I had a sense of his unstated questions: Why would the prestige newspapers of American journalism behave that way? Why wouldn’t they jump all over a story that important and that sexy, about the CIA working with drug traffickers?

It’s a hell of a story and a hell of an article by Parry. One that ends in both cases with a distraught, blacklisted journalist being swept under the obituary rug. (Webb shared a General News Pulitzer in 1990 for reporting on the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.)