It's likely that you have heard of the Pulitzer Prizes, and you may even have the idea that they are something very prestigious. If so, take a look at some winners of the current round of these things, announced yesterday. You will likely find yourself asking, is this a parody? A fair characterization of several of the prize recipients for this year is "Who did the most to advance the progressive narrative of the moment?" But can you win the prize even if what you report is completely false, even the most clear-cut of "fake news"? Actually, that seems to be a principal qualification for winning.
Of course the article congratulating the winners is on the front page of the New York Times, and of course it emphasizes the prizes that Pravda itself won. And what was the big prize this year in the main category of "national reporting"? Yes, it went to the Times (and Washington Post) for their many, many articles on the Trump/Russia "collusion" story:
The national reporting prize went to The Times and The Washington Post for their coverage of Mr. Trump’s possible ties to Russia — a recognition of two journalism stalwarts that exposed the hidden activities of the Trump White House while withstanding much presidential ire.
Wait a minute: I thought that the Trump/Russia collusion story had completely blown up in the faces of the Times and the Post. This is the classic bogus story, the story that gave "fake news" its name. After dozens (or was it hundreds?) of articles from Pravda and Izvestia in late 2016 and early 2017 breathlessly screaming that the Trump campaign had "colluded" with Russians to "hack" the 2016 election, the whole thing has completely fallen apart. Instead of actual evidence of Trump/Russia "collusion" (whatever that means), we gradually have learned from other sources that:
- The main evidence of the supposed Trump/Russia relationship was what has become known as the "Trump/Russia Dossier" (TRD), a piece of unverified and unverifiable opposition research funded by the Hillary campaign and the DNC and coming from highly questionable paid sources. As far as anyone knows today, the TRD may have been completely fabricated. We did not first learn of the flimsiness of the TRD or of its corrupt provenance from either the Times or Post.
- It has by now been conclusively established that the TRD was used by the Obama FBI and Justice Department to obtain FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign and transition and to seek to undermine the incoming administration. We did not first learn this from either the Times or Post.
- In what is now a year and a half since the Times and Post articles began, no evidence has ever emerged linking Trump or his campaign to the leak of DNC emails during the course of the 2016 campaign. But at least we do know that it was the Russians who hacked the DNC to get the Podesta emails, right? There have been many assertions of this alleged fact, including in Pravda and Izvestia, and including the claim that the U.S. intelligence agencies have agreed with those assertions. But there is no evidence that a member of the public can examine to verify this claim. And many continue to dispute it. To me, the most credible of the disputers is Steve McIntyre of ClimateAudit, who has several long and credible posts refuting attempts to link the DNC leak to a Russian hack. Here is one. McIntyre's analysis is based on detailed review of the emails themselves, and he has screenshots of relevant emails to support his assertions. You will not learn about this from either the Times or Post.
And what again are the supposed "hidden activities" of the Trump White House relating to Russia that were "exposed" by the brave Times (and Post) reporters who have now won this prize. You won't find that in today's Times article. Actually, I'm trying hard to think of what they could possibly be talking about. Was it that Paul Manafort had had business dealings in Russia long prior to the 2016 campaign? Or that incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had spoken with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition period? (Wasn't that part of his job?) Or that Jeff Sessions had taken a question from Kislyak during a public panel discussion with dozens of people present in Cleveland during the time of the 2016 Republican convention? I really have no idea. Looking now at multiple of the old Times articles from late 2016 to early 2017, I can't find anything on this subject of any significance whatsoever. But hey, those hundreds of articles really drove down Trump's approval ratings in his first year in office, didn't they?
Just a reminder: The most famous (notorious?) Pulitzer Prize of all time is undoubtedly the 1932 prize for foreign reporting that went to Walter Duranty of the Times for his 11-part 1931 series on goings-on in Stalin's Soviet Union. It is fair to call the series highly supportive of the Stalinist project. (Sample headline: "Industrial Success Emboldens Soviet in New World Policy.") By the time the prize was awarded, Stalin had begun the great intentional starvation of the Ukraine of 1932-33. Duranty made the coverup of that famine a focus of his reports during those years. From a Wikipedia article on what is called the Holodomor:
While the famine was raging, he wrote in the pages of The New York Times that "any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda", and that "there is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation, but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition."
Actually, about 10 million people died. A campaign was organized in the 1990s through early 00s to get the Pulitzer Prize Board to revoke the prize to the Times for Duranty's work, but in 2003 the Board declined on the ground that the prize had been awarded before the serious work of the coverup had gotten going. OK then. These are the people we are dealing with.
Were any other prizes of note announced yesterday? Well, there was the one for music that went to rapper Kendrick Lamar for his album "DAMN." The Times insightfully describes the album as "defiant." Are you interested in a sample lyric? This is from the song "Element" on that album:
I don't give a fuck, I don't give a fuck
I don't give a, I don't give a, I don't give a fuck
I'm willin' to die for this shit
I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit
Put the Bible down and go eye to eye for this shit . . .
If I gotta slap a pussy-ass nigga, I'ma make it look sexy
If I gotta go hard on a bitch, I'ma make it look sexy
I pull up, hop out, air out, make it look sexy
They won't take me out my element . . . .
Heavy, man! Definitely Pulitzer material!
Several other awards were for various attacks on the usual soft targets of progressive tribal signaling: an article in the Arizona Republic that came out against President Trump's proposal to build a border wall; an article in GQ that came out against Dylann Roof (of the South Carolina church shooting); and article in the Cincinnati Enquirer that came out against heroin addiction. Brave! You get the picture.
In the one prize that was actually deserved, Ronan Farrow won for his piece in the New Yorker exposing Harvey Weinstein. OK, they got one right. If I were Farrow, I would decline this sorry excuse for a prize. Who wants to be associated with these people?