Our Fearless Independent Media Ignore The Pulitzer Prize That Calls Them On Their Own Conflicts Of Interest
I meant to get to this earlier in the week. It's so illustrative of the problems with our corporate media that the guy who wins a Pulitzer prize for investigative reporting is ignored - because he was investigating the corporate media for stacking the deck with paid sources to support the Iraq war:
On the April 20 edition of NBC's Nightly News, reporting on the awarding of the 2009 Pulitzer Prizes earlier that day, anchor Brian Williams stated that "The New York Times led the way with five, including awards for breaking news and international reporting." But Williams did not note that the Times' David Barstow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting that day "for his tenacious reporting that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended." Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented the unwillingness of the major broadcast networks, including NBC, to report on Barstow's April 20, 2008, Times article. Moreover, NBC joined ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC in reportedly declining to participate in a segment based on Barstow's article that aired on the April 24, 2008, edition of PBS' NewsHour.
In an April 29 post on his MSNBC.com blog, Williams responded to Barstow's April 20 article, describing NBC News analyst military analyst Barry R. McCaffrey and Wayne Downing, who died in July 2007, as "honest brokers" and writing that McCaffrey and Downing were "warriors-turned-analysts, not lobbyists or politicians":
All I can say is this: these two guys never gave what I considered to be the party line. They were tough, honest critics of the U.S. military effort in Iraq. If you've had any exposure to retired officers of that rank (and we've not had any five-star Generals in the modern era) then you know: these men are passionate patriots. In my dealings with them, they were also honest brokers. I knew full well whenever either man went on a fact-finding mission or went for high-level briefings. They never came back spun, and never attempted a conversion. They are warriors-turned-analysts, not lobbyists or politicians.
Glenn Greenwald has more:
Identically, CNN ran an 898-word story on the various Pulitzer winners -- describing virtually every winner -- but was simply unable to find any space even to mention David Barstow's name, let alone inform their readers that he won the Prize for uncovering core corruption at the heart of CNN's coverage of the Iraq War and other military-related matters. No other major television news outlet implicated by Barstow's story mentioned his award, at least as far as I can tell.
The outright refusal of any of these "news organizations" even to mention what Barstow uncovered about the Pentagon's propaganda program and the way it infected their coverage is one of the most illuminating events revealing how they operate. So transparently corrupt and journalistically disgraceful is their blackout of this story that even Howard Kurtz and Politico -- that's Howard Kurtz and Politico -- lambasted them for this concealment. Meaningful criticisms of media stars from media critic (and CNN star) Howie Kurtz is about as rare as prosecutions for politically powerful lawbreakers in America, yet this is what he said about the television media's suppression of Barstow's story: "their coverage of this important issue has been pathetic."
Has there ever been another Pulitzer-Prize-winning story for investigative reporting never to be mentioned on major television -- let alone one that was twice featured as the lead story on the front page of The New York Times? To pose the question is to answer it.
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