The Pulitzer Prize Has Become a Bad Joke
Pulitzer Prizes were handed out on Monday to the newsies who wrote the biggest stories of the year. Unfortunately, one story was entirely made up and the other simply demonstrated that Hollywood is an amoral mess.
The Pulitzers are awarded in several creative categories including commentary, public service, local reporting, drama, poetry and music. This time, the aware for public service, went to both the New York Times and the New Yorker magazine for their pieces on the sexual abuse allowed by multi-millionaire Hollywood stars.
As for the national reporting prize, it went to both the New York Times and the Washington Post for their coverage of possible ties between Trump and Russia.
The problem here is that Trump had nothing to do with Russia, and the feds agree. The only people charged with Russian interference during the 2016 election were 13 Russians, and zero Americans. And with the attacks on Syrian bases harboring Russians, it’s hard to defend that Trump was installed by Putin.
So what happened to turn the Pulitzers into such a joke? While they were invented by a Democrat, they generally claw back prizes that are given to people who earned them on fake news.
Who was Joseph Pultizer?
The American newspaper editor Joseph Pultizer (1847-1911) was born in Hungary and moved to the United States as one of the emigrants joining the Union Army during the Civil War. Arriving in 1864, Pulitzer later moved to St. Louis where in 1868 he worked at a German language paper. After becoming a successful business and a reporter, Pulitzer was elected to Missouri’s state legislature for 1869.
The previous year’s election saw Republican Ulysses S. Grant win following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865. During this election, Missouri voted for Grant.
In 1871, Pulitzer worked to organize a Liberal Republican Party, but after it collapsed due to lack of public support he became a lifelong Democrat.
Pulitzer Invents News As Entertainment
Starting in 1874, Pulitzer sold and controlled several different Missouri papers, but after one of his editors shot and killed a political opponent of the paper, he moved to New York City. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Pulitzer entered into a competition with newspaper man William Randolph Hearst, who would become the inspiration for the character of Citizen Kane:
“Pulitzer combined exposés of political corruption and crusading investigative reporting with publicity stunts, blatant self-advertising, and sensationalistic journalism. In an effort to further attract a mass readership, he also introduced such innovations as comics, sports coverage, women’s fashion coverage, and illustrations into his newspapers, thus making them vehicles of entertainment as well as of information.”
Sports coverage and comics may be the last remaining good thing about papers.
During the escalation between Hearst and Pulitzer, the term ‘yellow journalism’ was coined to describe the sensationalism of each paper, both trying to sell more papers covering the Spanish-American War of 1898.
Soon after, Pulitzer retired due to poor health. In his will, he gave money to open the Columbia School of Journalism and to establish the Pulitzer Prize, first awarded in 1917.
Famous Pulitzer Winners
In the past, Pulitzer Prizes were handed out to people whose works are still read and appreciate including Robert Frost, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams (who wrote the plays A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) and Norman Mailer.
Downfall of Pulitzers
In recent years, Pulitzer Prizes are becoming more and more political and less about doing interesting, original stories.
In past years, there have been winners who were later found to have won on false pretenses.
Janet Cooke wrote a famous article for the Washington Post (now owned by Jeff Bezos) called “Jimmy’s World” about an 8-year-old addicted to heroin. Her story fell apart when the mayor of DC ordered a police response to find the boy. Cooke later resigned, gave back her Pulitzer and confessed that she had made the whole thing up.
In 2006, photographer Bilal Hussein was arrested and held by American Forces for two years due to security concerns over his photographs which showed rockets being fired and the execution of people in the streets in the middle east. His Pulitzer Prize was given to him for the photos, but the fact that he just happened to stumble across executions and actions by the enemy wasn’t a good enough excuse for the authorities.
Last summer Rush Limbaugh railed about Eric Lichtblau, a New York Times writer with a Pulitzer Prize in his pocket was in deep trouble for authoring a fake news story handed to them by Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren. Lichtblau and three others were forced to resign for knowingly publishing the false story, which dealt with the fake news of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
A few weeks ago it was found that there were no Americans involved in Russian collusion during the 2016 campaign. They should’ve investigated the journalists who helped spread the news!
Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, New York Times