“CRUMBLED,” PAST TENSE: The Crumbling Foundations of the Fourth Estate.
Skepticism is a bedrock principle of journalism. “If your mother says she loves you, go check it out,” the old adage goes. So is full disclosure (“the more information the better”) and transparency (“Always tell readers how you know what you know”).
The board that oversees journalism’s most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize, and many of America’s most prestigious news outlets violated all three of those values this week.
This disquieting episode began on Monday when the board released a short statement saying that, “In the last three years, the Pulitzer Board has received inquiries, including from former President Donald Trump, about submissions from The New York Times and The Washington Post on Russian interference in the U.S. election and its connections to the Trump campaign – submissions that jointly won the 2018 National Reporting prize.”
The board said it had commissioned two “independent reviews” of the contested coverage, which “converged in their conclusions: that no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes. The 2018 Pulitzer Prizes in National Reporting stand.”
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