Atop this post is the complete show, in chronological order, followed by individual segments spotlighting each presenter, and James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal, who MCed the show and introduced each speaker. First up was Roger L. Simon to to explain the concept of the Duranty Prize, followed by PJM’s Claudia Rosett and Ron Radosh, New Criterion publisher and PJM columnist Roger Kimball, and then finally Roger L. Simon, to present the “Rather Award” for lifetime achievement in journalist mendacity.
Also, if you’d like an audio-only podcast version, click here to play:
A downloadable version is also available by right clicking here. (28.1 MB file size, 61 minutes long.)
As for the individual segments, first up, is PJM CEO Emeritus Roger L. Simon, to explain the concept of the Duranty Prize:
“Why a Walter Duranty Prize?” Speech by Roger L. Simon.
Or, as my ancestors said every year, why is this night different from all other nights? On other nights we celebrate journalistic excellence… as in the Pulitzer Prize… but on this night we celebrate a man who lied about Stalin and won the Pulitzer.
Well, we don’t really celebrate him. We refer to him. We use him as our emblem of something that is all around us — journalistic mendacity so awful, so meretricious, so despicably self-regarding that it is indeed in the tradition of Walter Duranty who — basically for his own self-aggrandizement, he wasn’t even a communist — white-washed Stalin’s mass starvation of upwards of a million Ukrainians, not to mention numerous other atrocities of the Soviet Union from the Gulag to the Purge Trials, for nearly twenty years as Moscow correspondent of the New York Times, while using, as an excuse for totalitarian evil, his oft-quoted phrase “You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.”
So we’re back again, a few months late, but we’re back, for our annual celebration of journalistic mendacity known as the Duranty Prize — and our new award for lifetime achievement called The Rather, of which more later. I think any award of the nature of the Duranty should be judged by its past recipients, don’t you — whether they were really and truly deserving of their honor? That’s how we judge the Nobel Peace Prize, after all …. Don’t we?
Anyway, looking back briefly at last year’s Duranty honorees, we find as runner-up Bob Simon for his 60 Minutes segment “Christians of the Holy Land.” That mini-documentary blamed the Israelis and their infamous security wall, not the Muslim terrorists who engendered its construction, for the plight of Christians in the West Bank. During last year’s ceremony Roger Kimball called this 60 Minutes segment “a textbook case of employing the trappings and authority of objective reporting in order to further the ends of ideology.”
Was Roger correct? And how! Just weeks ago a video surfaced on YouTube from an exceptionally brave young Palestinian Christian woman named Christy Anastas. Christy is living under political asylum in Britain now, an asylum she obtained in a record three days because she is under constant death threat from West Bank Islamists. Ms. Anastas, evidently, appeared with her family in Bob Simon’s segment when she was still in Bethlehem, but she wasn’t particularly pleased by the way it was edited. In an eloquent speech at Upsala University that I commend to all of you, she contradicts literally everything Simon put forth on 60 Minutes about who is responsible for the Christian flight. Of course, she may be biased. Her uncle was blinded for life after being shot in the head at point blank range, not by an IDF soldier, of course, but by an Islamic terrorist — a curious omission, among many, from the 60 Minutes segment.
I should have known better but I was so outraged when I saw Ms. Anastas’ video that, on behalf of PJ Media, I called and emailed the executive producer of 60 Minutes Jeff Fager for a comment or reaction. You may be astonished to hear that I have received, thus far, no reply.
As for our grand prize winner last year — the Duranty itself – as many of you will recall that was awarded to Joan Juliet Buck and editor Anna Wintour for their charming Vogue magazine “at home” with the trendy Assads: “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert.” Where is Asma anyway these days? It seems she’s disappeared from view, for some reason. No more shopping trips to Mayfair apparently.
A hundred and fifty thousand corpses later, it’s astounding that anyone could have ever written such cynical fawning tripe, even for a fashion publication. But that’s why we have the Duranty Prize — to make people stop and think before they do something as horrible as that…. or at least to call attention to it when they do. Duranty’s photo, it is always worth noting, still adorns the wall of the New York Times along with its other Pulitzer winners. Some things never change.
And now on to this year’s prizes. James….
Video and transcript of the presentation by PJ Media’s Ron Radosh, preceded by James Taranto’s introduction, follows on the next page.