As WaPo & NYT win Pulitzers for ‘Russiagate’ coverage, Mueller warns of fake news
The Pulitzer Prize is named after a 19th-century media mogul Joseph Pulitzer, a pioneer of yellow journalism who endowed a graduate school of journalism at New York’s Columbia University. It is the most prestigious media award in the US.
On Monday, the Pulitzer Prize Board awarded the staff of the New York Times and the Washington Post in the “National Reporting” category, for their “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage... 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.”
The two papers’ coverage has certainly been relentless and their almost entirely anonymous sources so deep that they give the term “Deep State” a whole new meaning. Both the Post and the Times had endorsed Hillary Clinton, never really got over her loss in November 2016, and quickly latched onto her accusations that it was somehow the fault of Russia and its “collusion” with Trump.
None other than James Comey once openly disputed the NY Times’ coverage of the FBI’s Russia investigation. That was when he was still the FBI director and the Democrats’ designated villain, however. After he got fired by Trump, Comey overnight became a hero of the “Resistance.”
Comey’s firing led to the appointment of former FBI Director Mueller as special counsel. To date, precisely zero evidence has been produced of any links between Trump and Russia, either by the initial FBI investigation or by the subsequent Mueller-led probe. Even the indictment of 13 so-called Russian trolls in February explicitly ruled out any wrongdoing by US persons.
Earlier on Monday, before the Pulitzers were announced, a spokesperson for Mueller’s team said that many of the stories about the probe “have been inaccurate.”
“Be very cautious about any source that claims to have knowledge about our investigation and dig deep into what they claim before reporting on it. If another outlet reports something, don’t run with it unless you have your own sourcing to back it up,” the spokesman told the Daily Caller and the Washington Times.
Though no specific stories were named in the comment, the warning came after a story by McClatchy News that claimed Mueller had evidence that Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, had visited Prague in 2016, as claimed in the notorious Steele Dossier.
The Washington Times accused Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier for the Clinton campaign, of being behind the McClatchy story, adding that Fusion has “long-standing relationships” with the Post, the New York Times and CNN.
Aside from the two conservative-leaning outlets, Mueller’s warning fell on deaf ears. Instead, the Pulitzers were greeted as validation of their political activism since the 2016 election. For example, former Obama aide Ned Price gloated about the awards going to stories that Trump has been “on the wrong side” of.
This was reinforced by the Pulitzer Board’s decision to reward the Washington Post’s activism as investigative reporting. The Post won a Pulitzer for “purposeful and relentless reporting that changed the course of a Senate race in Alabama” by “revealing a candidate’s alleged past sexual harassment of teenage girls.”
Notice the “alleged” here. The accusations against Judge Roy Moore pushed by the Post were never proven, or even discussed, in a court of law. Instead, the entire sordid spectacle played out in the court of public opinion until the special election narrowly went to Democrat Doug Jones, whom the Post had endorsed.
Meanwhile, one of the Post’s point men on the “Russiagate” story, Adam Entous, was caught on tape by conservative guerilla filmmakers from Project Veritas, saying that “there's no evidence… that I've seen so far” of Trump being in league with the Russians and calling the whole affair a “crapshoot.”
The Post also had to retract the story claiming that “Russia hacked the Vermont power grid,” a typical example of the paper’s coverage for which it just won a Pulitzer. Fortunately for the Post, that particular story was ineligible for consideration, having been published on December 31, 2016.
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