If he was your traditional type of newspaperman, having slogged it out in journalism school for years prior to occupying a cubicle at any one of hundreds of humdrum dailies across the country, he probably would have won a Pulitzer Prize or two by now.
That’s because Frank Parlato, publisher of the Niagara Falls Reporter, a small, but ambitious and widely read Western New York weekly soon to celebrate its 20th year of existence, has broken two monumental stories over the past decade, either of which would have made the career of the average investigative reporter.
Starting in 2008, Mr. Parlato began a series exposing the crooked contractual agreement between the famed Maid of the Mist boat excursion of Niagara Falls and the Province of Ontario, Canada. The expose’ by Mr. Parlato, appearing in these pages over two years, resulted in a shake-up of massive proportions, reaching the highest levels of the Ontario provincial government.
The Canadian Niagara Parks Commission chairman and general manager both resigned in disgrace, its business development director along with four commissioners fired, and the remaining four members of the board “replaced” for secretly gifting a new lease to Maid of the Mist owner James Glynn, and then attempting to cover it up. Needless to say, the corrupt Maid contract was cancelled and the Glynn family enterprise was unceremoniously given the boot out of Canada, to be ultimately replaced by Hornblower Cruises.
The net result to the tourism industry of Ontario was a much classier boat tour below the falls, on larger, sleeker, newer boats that serve refreshments and feature restroom facilities, as well as tens of millions of additional dollars accruing to the people of Ontario as the result of the fair and competitive bidding process that had allegedly been subverted by James Glynn and his cronies across the border.
If Mr. Parlato’s landmark revelations had also effected any changes here in New York State, where Maid boats still ply the waters of the cataracts thanks to a no-bid contract extension gifted the Glynn family by Gov. Andrew Coumo, along with state land in the Niagara Gorge listed on the National Register of Historic Places but demolished to make way for their private dry dock and winter storage facility after relinquishing their Canadian foothold, he’d get the accolades he’s due, but it wouldn’t be the first time the politicians and the mainstream media have ignored Mr. Parlato’s writings to the detriment of the public interest, and it almost didn’t turn out to be the last.
That’s because it has only been over the past couple of months that spectacularly lurid and disturbing accounts of the practices of a secretive cult called NXIVM, masquerading as a “self-help organization” and led by a New Age charismatic guru named Keith Raniere – in which women are branded with a red-hot cautery tool after allegedly being extorting to supply naked photos or other material to be used for subsequent blackmail or worse – has splashed all over the world in international headlines. The New York Times was the first among mainstream media outlets, with an Oct. 17, 2017 story headlined, “Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded.”
Since the Times story was printed, hundreds of headlines, TV news reports and cable shows in more than 114 countries have laid bare the cruel and barbaric branding torture inflicted on these women, searing the flesh of their pubic regions with a symbol that appears to be an amalgamation of the initials of evil Pied Piper Keith Raniere and his angel-from-hell second in command at the NXIVM cult, Allison Mack.
From New York to Hollywood, London, Warsaw, Poland, Russia, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Austria, Australia, China, Nigeria, Switzerland, Canada and more, in People Magazine, on CBS News, Fox News, the Huffington Post and dozens of other media outlets, the ghastly and revolting story has been told and retold.
To its credit, the New York Times referenced Frank Parlato’s June 5, 2017 posting on his website “The Frank Report” in which he revealed to the world, for the first time anywhere, the hideous and brutal branding ritual.
So from June 5 until October 17, four months, one week and five days, it was there for all to see, broadcast to the entire planet on the world wide web, courtesy of Frank Parlato. Women, here in New York State in the United States of America, were systematically pinioned, and then branded by monsters as part of an initiation into a twisted and perverted personality cult.
And over those four months, everybody, including the international and U.S. news media, and the administration of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, ignored it.
Because it was Frank Parlato who wrote and published the story, not the New York Times.
It took a news story in the vaunted Times to elicit the condemnation of civilized society of Keith Raniere and NXIVM, and trigger an investigation by the Cuomo administration. A news story which, if broken by one of its own reporters, probably would garner not only widespread recognition by the journalistic profession, but considerable job security as well.
Mr. Parlato’s compensation, on the other hand, comes from satisfaction at knowing the truth is finally out there for all to see.