Russian collusion 'false reporting:’ Is Trump right NYT and WaPo Pulitzer Prizes be rescinded?

Gage Skidmore

Fact Box

  • Founded in 1917 and named after newspaper editor Jospeh Pulitzer, the Pulitzer Prize is an annual award for “outstanding public service in journalism, letter and music” given by Columbia University “on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board, composed of judges appointed by the university.” 
  • The Trump-Russia saga in short: Congressional Democrats and the media began investigating/reporting on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton when DNC emails were hacked in July of 2016. Soon after Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017, Democrats accused Trump and his campaign of colluding with Russia to sway the 2016 election, even though no voting polls were tampered with. FBI director Robert Mueller’s report on the controversy concluded “the investgaton did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
  • On Octorber 3, 2021, Donald Trump sent a letter to Dr. Kliment demanding the revocation of 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting given to The New York Times and The Washington Post asserting the coverage about the alleged Trump-Russia collusion was based on “false reporting” that “was no more than a politically motivated farce which attempted to spin a false narrative that my campaign supposedly colluded with Russia despite a complete lack of evidence underpinning this allegation.”
  • A 2019 Reuter/Ipsos poll reveals “nearly hafl of all Americans still believe President Donald Trump worked with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.”

JessiRae (No)

Donald Trump is clamoring to strip the Pulitzer Prize from both the New York Times and The Washington Post (WAPO). The reporters covered Trump's alleged covert discussions with Russia, in which the aim was to unfairly give Trump an advantage in the 2016 election. The reports in question were lauded by judges who said the coverage 'dramatically furthered the nation's understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.' Some still see the evidence as suggesting Trump was largely involved in questionable discussions with Putin revealing classified US information. Because of this, Trump was consequently investigated for 'obstruction of justice.' 

Further complicating matters, Micheal Flynn, who served as Trump's national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI regarding communications between the Trump administration and Russia. Trump pardoned Flynn of his crimes in November of 2020.

In light of the presumed evidence against Trump's secret communications with the Russians, stripping the Pulitzer Prize from the NYT and WAPO appears to serve as punishment for bringing any misconduct to light. Trump accuses both publications of making 'extremely sensational' headlines that did not accurately portray events.

The incident in question began in 2016, yet Trump has waited until 2021 to make his move against the NYT and WaPo. Trump's delayed proceedings cast doubt as to his true intentions. Trump has not been excused for his suspected involvement with Russian authorities in his presidential term. Trump does not have the authority to strip the NYT or WaPo's Pulitzer Prizes. The Pulitzer Prize winners are chosen by the board of 102 juries and receive no compensation. Trump is in direct benefit should these publications be stripped of their awards.


Curtice (Yes)

Much like Andrew Cuomo had his Emmy Award rescinded, Donald Trump rightly believes that the New York Times and Washington Post (WaPo) should have their Pulitzer Prizes for journalism revoked. The Pulitzer Prize was established in 1917 to honor exceptional achievements in journalism. Not only was the media reporting on the Trump-Russia collusion story not exceptional, it arguably isn't even journalism. 

The Trump-Russia collusion hoax began with the expensive Mueller Report, which lasted two years, wasting away $32 million taxpayer dollars and finding no evidence of collusion. It was then followed by the Steele Dossier, authored by ex-British spy Christopher Steele and commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign. It was based on hearsay and gossip from a couple of low-level sources, none of which was verified.

Steele himself testified that his sources were unverified. Yet the media, led by the New York Times and WaPo, wanted the claims in the Steele dossier to be true, so they reported on it as if it were, hoping the facts would eventually catch up to them.  

Well, the facts did catch up to them, but not how they expected. Not only was the Steele dossier unverified and counterfactual, the FBI was complicit in peddling these falsehoods. A subsequent report issued by Inspector General Michael Horowitz further shows how the Steele dossier was phony and that certain FBI actors acted inappropriately during its investigation.

Through it all, the media dutifully reported the false allegations contained within the dossier that fit the narrative it wanted to push while avoiding any discussion of questionable sources and who paid for the dossier. This obvious partisanship masqueraded as “objective journalism” deserves no award.

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