Here was our prediction about today’s anticipated Pulitzer Prize announcement: Stories questioning the 2016 Trump campaign’s “collusion” with Russians won’t be on the list of winners.
That’s because the board that presides over the judging process leans heavily liberal and the history of winners in the Trump era favors his critics, including those who got the collusion story wrong.
Now that the awards have been announced, it turns out we were right.
The New York Times won the explanatory prize for "an exhaustive 18-month investigation of President Donald Trump’s finances that debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges."
And the national reporting prize went to the Wall Street Journal "for uncovering President Trump’s secret payoffs to two women during his campaign who claimed to have had affairs with him, and the web of supporters who facilitated the transactions, triggering criminal inquiries and calls for impeachment."
Consider last year’s distinguished reporting award to the Washington Post and New York Times. The Pulitzer read: “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.”
And of the 18 members on the board, sometimes dubbed "the deciders," there are no notable conservatives, but several famous liberals and Trump critics.
Standouts include Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, himself a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize who also writes for the New Yorker. The Pulitzer homepage features this from one of his New Yorker pieces, “President Trump, for all his demagoguery, has yet to marginalize professional reporting. In many newsrooms, investigative journalism is enjoying a renaissance, and it is having a strong impact, within and beyond Washington.”
There’s Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, a Pulitzer winner and regular Trump critic on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe." From a recent column, “The president of the United States gave a rambling and incoherent two-hour speech in which he raved like a lunatic and told crazy, self-serving lies from start to finish. If that no longer qualifies as alarming, we’re in serious trouble.”
March 5, 2019
There are a few judges who keep their opinions in check, like Neil Brown, president of the Poynter Institute and the AP’s John Daniszewski, vice president and editor at large for standards.
But in a review, the conservative media watchdog Media Research Center found nobody from the center-right.
“If this isn't the ultimate evidence of the left — and far left — dominance of the so-called ‘news media,’ what is?” asked L. Brent Bozell, president of the center.
“Eighteen judges and not one — let this sink in — not one anywhere close to a conservative. The Pulitzer Prizes have always been liberal, but this is now not just leftist, it is a mockery of itself. And then they wonder why they're not trusted to tell the truth,” he added.