On the heels of PJ Media’s announcement of the inaugural Walter Duranty Prize — to be given to “the most egregious example of dishonest reporting” for the period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 — it is worthwhile to note the Pulitzer Prize’s recent contribution to the media environment the Duranty Prize is aimed at reforming.
PJ Media actually submitted an entry for a Pulitzer this year: while we certainly did not expect to win, we cannot say we thought we had no chance at a prize. We entered our “Every Single One” series — what the staff here generally considers to be the most successful investigative project PJ Media has completed since its founding — in the National Reporting and Investigative Reporting categories. On April 16, the Pulitzer board announced what had been the more likely result: no award for us. Sigh, slumped shoulders.
However, our biggest disappointment lay within the remainder of the honorees for the other categories. Though we had no basis for assuming this year might be different, the 2012 Pulitzers again proved to be a self-congratulatory ceremony for media champions of a Leftist agenda. Narrative was king, not objective quality.
Were any of the works commendable? Absolutely. But the 2012 Pulitzer Prize committee awarded 14 journalism awards, and not one of them rewarded material criticizing President Barack Obama or his administration.
Recall, for starters: 2011 included bold reporting on a federal gun-running scandal resulting in hundreds of deaths, one of many lawless actions by the DOJ; plus reporting on a war undertaken in Libya without the authority of Congress.
While no juried award can eliminate subjectivity, we did happen to have objective truth on our side with our submission: the 2007 Pulitzer committee awarded the Boston Globe’s Charlie Savage the National Reporting prize for a submission which included an investigation of the exact same topic. Savage found that 58 percent of Department of Justice, Civil Rights Section hires under the Bush administration showed evidence of conservative-leaning political views on their resumes. This finding led Savage (and apparently the Pulitzer Prize committee) to believe that federal law banning politically based hiring had been violated.
However, we found that 100 percent of Civil Rights Section hires under the Obama administration showed evidence of left-leaning political views on their resumes. So you see why we might have felt confident enough to Endust a spot on the office shelf.
I went with the “Brandon Walsh Awards” as a metaphor because a significant portion of today’s younger and mid-career journalists spent at least some of their formative years with Jason Priestley’s character on Beverly Hills, 90210 being pitched by Hollywood as the ideal “do-gooder” liberal of a reporter — one headed to a career of Pulitzers and UN subcommittee participation. (Brandon’s character left the show to take a once-in-a-lifetime job at “The New York Chronicle”. Likely, this was not a reference to the Post.) The character advanced the “liberal implies smart” elitism that lies at the heart of the Pulitzers’ choices, and behind the current generation of youth which cannot comprehend why their soft education has left them unemployable, and which sees student loan repayment as an “unfair” burden.