Pulitzers' liberal legacy
Conservatives often ponder why more young conservatives don't go into journalism. Here's one easy reason: The path to prizes and prestige doesn't come from fierce investigative probing into liberal sacred cows or sharp-eyed conservative commentary. It comes from pleasing liberals with stories that advance their agenda.
The 2007 Pulitzer Prizes must have been a sad affair, what with no major prize for exposing and ruining an anti-terrorism program and no major natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina to blame on President Bush. But that doesn't mean the Pulitzers weren't typically political. After all, the panels of judges are stuffed with longstanding figures in the liberal media establishment.
Let's start with the commentary prize, awarded to Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The official Pulitzer Prize Board's press release hailed Tucker's "courageous, clear-headed columns that evince a strong sense of morality and persuasive knowledge of the community." Translation: She's liberal, and she hates George Bush.
Stephen Spruiell of National Review quickly found one recent column that complained: "There are plenty of unindicted liars walking the halls of the Bush White House. ... The Bush team knew they could never have sold American voters on an invasion of Iraq just because Saddam had illicit weapons. So they decided to distort, dissemble and lie."
What precisely is noteworthy in that• Hasn't that been said by every radical left-wing blogger with a modem?
What is noteworthy, perhaps, is the Pulitzer Prize committee standards. As with every other radical left-winger, Tucker can't deliver a shred of evidence to support the accusation of a presidential "lie."
Any conservative student who aspires to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist should really try another line of work. Here's the list since George Will won in 1977 and William Safire won in 1978: Charles Krauthammer in 1987, Paul Gigot in 2000 and Dorothy Rabinowitz in 2001. That's five conservatives in 30 years.
Three of the last five winners -- Tucker, Leonard Pitts and Colbert King -- were leftist black columnists. William Raspberry and E.R. Shipp have also won. But the Pulitzer Prize glorifiers have never honored Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams or other black conservatives.
Since 1992, eight of the 16 commentary prize winners have been women. Rabinowitz is the only conservative. Anna Quindlen, Maureen Dowd, Eileen McNamara and Shipp are on the liberal list. Mary McGrory (1975) and Ellen Goodman (1980) also won that prize. But there's been no Pulitzer for Mona Charen or Michelle Malkin or Linda Chavez or -- the Pulitzer people will faint -- Ann Coulter.
There's never been a Pulitzer for Bill Buckley or Pat Buchanan or Cal Thomas or Robert Novak. Need we say more?
Perhaps the strangest honor, the one revealing the typical liberal attraction to the edgy and anti-American, is the feature reporting award given to Andrea Elliott of The New York Times for a three-part series lauding the Brooklyn-based imam Reda Shata.
Let's once again consult the gooey Pulitzer press release: They hailed Elliott "for her intimate, richly textured portrait of an immigrant imam striving to find his way and serve his faithful in America" -- even though Elliott glossed over and made excuses for how the imam and "his faithful" support the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas as a "powerful symbol of resistance."
The press release kept underlining the judges' liberal agenda. The National Reporting Prize was handed to Charlie Savage of The Boston Globe "for his revelations that President Bush often used 'signing statements' to assert his controversial right to bypass provisions of new laws." This indicates that heavy usage of a story on left-wing publicity machines such as Air America and the Huffington Post apparently wins you major Pulitzer considerations.
The International Reporting Prize was awarded to The Wall Street Journal "for its sharply edged reports on the adverse impact of China's booming capitalism on conditions, ranging from inequality to pollution." It might seem odd that this seemingly capitalist newspaper, "the daily diary of the American dream," is winning prizes for muckraking through the social evils of "booming capitalism," but it is certainly some flashy Pulitzer bait.
So when you hear a liberal-media person crow about someone's excellent journalistic qualifications, such as his Pulitzer Prize, it's fairly safe to assume that hallowed journalist wrote something that would make a Hillary Clinton smile from ear to ear -- and would make a Rush Limbaugh grimace.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center.