Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, March 26, 2019
When Olympic athletes who win gold, silver or bronze medals are caught violating the regulations of the Games, they must return their medals to the International Olympic Committee. In Olympics history, 143 medals have been stripped.
When a media outlet is awarded a Pulitzer Prize for reporting as fact something that isn’t, should it return the Pulitzer?
In 2018, the New York Times and Washington Post shared the Pulitzer Prize for their national reporting of President Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia. They were awarded $15,000 in a joint prize.
They received the award, the Pulitzer board said, “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.”
“Deeply sourced? Hardly. Relentlessly reported? Definitely,” Beth Baumann noted in a March 25 op-ed for Townhall.
A Pulitzer has never been revoked.
Robert Morton, President of FreePressFoundation.org, said the future of American journalism is hanging in the balance.
“Either these awards should be rescinded or the New York Times and the Washington Post should uphold the highest traditions of the American Free Press and voluntarily surrender them,” he said.
In 2003, Pulitzer considered rescinding the 1932 award to infamous New York Times’ Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty, who was an apologist for one of history’s bloodiest tyrants, Joseph Stalin.
After six months of consideration, the Pulitzer board decided not to rescind Duranty’s prize, explaining at the time that “A Pulitzer Prize for reporting is awarded not for the author’s body of work or for the author’s character but for the specific pieces entered in the competition.”