Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. That I’m writing yet another column about media dishonesty calls into question my own mental stability. Climbing on this high horse causes me nothing but grief.
My mostly liberal family and friends subtly accuse me of being a right-wing Trump supporter. (I’m not.) Preaching to conservatives about media dishonesty is akin to warning Sierra Club members about the perils of climate change. I’m a fool to think I can change anyone’s opinion.
Regretfully, the recipients of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes triggered me. I like the “triggered” word because it’s what snowflake journalists and college students use when they read or hear something that makes them uncomfortable and they need to shelter in their safe places. I’m sheltering at home and ranting about media dishonesty and corruption helps distract from my tortured reality that I’ve been removed from human civilization these past two months.
So here goes:
The Pulitzer Prizes are reputed to be journalism’s highest honor. I’ve long regarded the Loeb awards as a fairer and a more credible judgment of excellence, but they are only awarded for business journalism. A Pulitzer is what every journalist covets.
The public service category is the granddaddy of all Pulitzers. This year it was awarded to The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica for their yearlong investigation of sexual violence in Alaska. Sexual violence is an important story, particularly in Alaska. The state’s sexual assault rate is three times the national average.
So, when the News and ProPublica embarked on their project, they were operating from a documented premise. And to their credit, they shed lots of light as to why sexual assault is rampant in Alaska, including the fact that one in three communities in the state have no police protection of any kind.
An important story for the people of Alaska, whose population ranks 46 among the top 50 states. There is a local news Pulitzer category; this year it went to the Baltimore Sun for its reporting on the mayor’s book scandal.
I’m an avid reader of publications. And without question the most deserving of this year’s Pulitzer for public service was the Wall Street Journal’s investigative stories about Amazon. The series of seven stories exposed the duplicity of the company controlled by the world’s richest person and documented how Amazon’s defective and rampant counterfeit products kill people. The revelations were not only of great importance to the good folks in Alaska, but also to residents in America’s 49 other states.
The stories, which are linked to here, were so compelling the Pulitzer judges knew to include the package as a “finalist” in the investigative reporting category if they hoped to give their contest any legitimacy. But the judges deemed a New York Times story about New York City’s taxi industry showing how lenders profited from predatory loans that “shattered the lives of vulnerable drivers,” as being more significant.
Since the Journal’s submission, the publication reported about Amazon’s abusive use of third-party data to develop products, prompting Sen. Josh Hawley to call for a criminal investigation. The Journal is on to Amazon and I’m certain that getting shafted on a Pulitzer isn’t going to stop their aggressive pursuit of the company.
Had the Journal been awarded yesterday with the Pulitzer it deserved, the timing wouldn’t have been better. It would have coincided with the disclosure that an Amazon vice president resigned from the company and forfeited $1 million in options because remaining would have required him to “sign off on actions I despised.”
What sticks in the craw of the liberal media is the Journal is controlled by Rupert Murdoch, and despite all their dire predictions that he would destroy the publication, he actually saved it. Not only that, in the past year the Journal has risen to a standard far higher than it ever achieved when it was owned by the Bancroft family.
As for Murdoch using the publication to further his interests, the Journal exposed Theranos as a massive fraud despite Murdoch having a $100 million interest in the company. You’re fooling yourself if you think the New York Times’ millennial publisher would step aside if the controlling Sulzberger family had that kind of money at stake.
Awarding a Pulitzer for commentary to Nikole Hannah-Jones was another blight on the credibility of the Pulitzer Prize. Hannah-Jones’ piece for the Times’ “1619 Project” focusing on the impact of slavery on America was widely maligned by historians. The Times sneakily inserted a qualifier to salvage its credibility after it was published. In announcing the award, even the Times felt compelled to disclose that five history professors had signed a letter saying the commentary was “flawed in some particulars.” Spin translation: The facts were wrong.
It speaks volumes that journalism’s highest award was given to a “flawed” product. My guess is the Titanic also garnered a slew of design awards. We know what happened to that ship.
Here’s a link to the other stories awarded Pulitzer Prizes for more evidence of liberal bias.