The Washington Post is doing a little house cleaning in the form of correcting two stories, one from 2017 and the other from 2019, that peddled false allegations against then-President Trump regarding the fabricated Steele dossier. The New York Times may follow suit.
But Roger Simon poses this excellent question: When will the Post and the Times return their 2018 Pulitzer prizes for their reporting of the false Russia collusion story?
The Pulitzer committee described the basis for these awards this way:
For deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.
This description of what the Post and Times were up to was clearly rubbish at the time of the announcement. In light of what we now know, I agree with Roger that it reads like something from the Babylon Bee.
I also like Roger’s assessment of what (aside from the prospect of winning a Pulitzer for defaming a president the media despised) motivated the Post and Times reporters to push their false narrative about the Russia-Trump relationship:
[T]o what degree [did] these people knew they were lying at the time? Were they merely victims of extreme Trump Derangement Syndrome? Did they believe the ends, in this instance, justify the means?
They allowed themselves to be conduits for lies. Did they ask serious questions? “Informants, almost always anonymous,” were telling them things. (Collecting those anonymous informants has been the stock and trade of establishment journalists since Watergate.)
The most obvious conclusion is they wanted to believe the lies they were hearing, so they did not question them. To be blunt, they were lousy reporters and remain so because. most of them, all to my knowledge on the linked [Pulitzer] list, have not publicly acknowledged their faults.
As soon as I read the headline of Roger’s piece, I knew that, in answering his question about returning the Pulitzer prize, he would remind us of Walter Duranty. Roger did not disappoint.
Duranty, the paper’s Moscow correspondent in the twenties and thirties, received the prize in 1932 for articles submitted by the Times. In his reporting, Duranty denied the existence of, therefore excusing and encouraging, the widespread Ukrainian famine largely instigated by Stalin, the Holodomor that left a million or more people starving to death (estimates vary). He also white-washed Stalin’s behavior in general. As Duranty put it, “You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.”
Has the Times returned the Pulitzer for Duranty’s sickening work? It has not.
Despite multiple efforts, including one by Bill Keller when he was executive editor of the paper (2003-2011)—he was overruled by the owners—the Times has not returned the Pulitzer won by their reporter you could call the Father of Fake News, Walter Duranty. . . .
Duranty’s photograph still appears on a wall at the Times along with their many other Pulitzer winners.
So no, the Times won’t return its Pulitzer. Neither will the Post. Both propaganda organs are proud of their role in unjustly causing hardship for a president they hate. Both will limit themselves to a little bit of housecleaning — removing the shells of eggs they used to concoct their fake-news, anti-Trump omelet.