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5 May, 2020 16:57

Russian Embassy ridicules Pulitzer Board for awarding prize to NYT’s ‘undiluted fabrications’

Russian Embassy ridicules Pulitzer Board for awarding prize to NYT’s ‘undiluted fabrications’

The New York Times’ staff have won a prestigious Pulitzer Prize for “exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime.” Russia, however, says the paper made it up.

The Pulitzer Prize Board loves a good yarn about Russia, and the New York Times certainly feeds their appetite. 2017 saw the paper score an award for reporting on the Kremlin’s online “troll army;” while 2018 saw it honored for reporting on Russia’s “interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign” – even though these allegations were flimsily sourced and in many cases found false, even by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ investigators.

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After a break last year, on Monday the Prize Board resumed where they left off, bestowing their ‘International Reporting’ award – along with $15,000 – upon the New York Times’ staff, “for a set of enthralling stories, reported at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime.”

Among the stories were more tales of “troll factories,” spy stories backed up by faceless intelligence agents and “anonymous sources,” and the piece de resistance: a tragic and gruesome tale of Russian warplanes bombing a civilian camp in Syria a year earlier, backed up by social media chatter and local “plane spotters.” 

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“We consider this series of articles by the New York Times about Russia as an excellent collection of undiluted Russophobic fabrications that can be studied as a guide for creating false facts,” Russia’s Embassy in Washington DC wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

The embassy’s statement is not the first time the Russian government has countered these stories; the bombing story in particular was ridiculed by Russia’s Defense Ministry last year. While the Times claimed to have heard the pilots radio in their coordinates and speak of completing their mission, the ministry stated that it is not Air Force practice to communicate on open radio. Rather, the ministry claimed that the Times got hoodwinked by anti-government forces on the ground, who fed information to the paper to further their own agenda.

The Times’ prize-winning coverage also included a video feature on Russia’s alleged bombing of Syrian hospitals, again backed up by radio chatter. One of the ‘underground hospitals’, however, turned out to be a remote and fortified terrorist bunker, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed. The paper, it said, had again been fooled by rebels pushing their own anti-government narrative. 

The paper and the Pulitzer panel also riled up readers at home with an award for the Times’ controversial ‘1619 Project’ – a long-form reframing of American history as “racist,” which asserts that black Amercians, and not the Founding Fathers, shaped US democracy as we know it. The historical accuracy of the project has been questioned, as have some of its wildest claims – for instance, that slavery directly caused the 2008 financial crash, or that modern medicine is rooted in 17th century racial prejudices.

All in all, the Times took home three Pulitzer prizes on Monday, bringing its total to 130 since the award was established in 1917.  

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