Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Pulitzer Prizes were just awarded, and once again, I was left off the winners list. Why? Why would the Pulitzer committee knowingly choose to undermine my self-esteem?

As I wring my hands and wrack my obviously inferior brain, the answer hits me like a bolt out of a blue state. I didn’t win, get nominated or even noticed because I didn’t meet their very rigid criteria for selection. As simple and telling as that.

And what exactly is the litmus test a writer has to pass before the Pulitzer committee deems his or her work acceptable? Well, as near as I can tell, to make the grade, one must have done at least one of the following: Betray national secrets; go after only Republican lobbyists; tackle only Republican corruption; blame the United States for everything wrong in the world: and the surefire attention getter; try to tear down the presidency of George W. Bush.

Think I’m exaggerating for reasons of hyperbole? First of all, I’m not even sure what hyperbole means. But since I know the Pulitzer committee likes big words, and since I’m not a quitter, I threw it in. Secondly, let’s look at a few of the actual prizes awarded by the “nonpartisan” Pulitzer committee, to see if I hit the mark with my list of criteria that would collapse the left side of any scale.

Dana Priest of The Washington Post, won the best reporting award for revealing that the CIA was using secret prisons in Easter Europe to interrogate terrorists.

In other words, they gave an award to a reporter who got a tip from a government worker who betrayed his or her country by revealing top-secret information. The reporter and The Post, in an effort to become the darlings of left, then splashed said top secret information all over the front page. Who benefited from this “Pulitzer Prize Winning Reporting?” Terrorists who mean to kill everyone in the United States.

Next, you have the New York Times winning a Pulitzer Prize for announcing President Bush’s “domestic eavesdropping program.” Again, a proudly left-of-center newspaper is given a prestigious award for revealing top secret information that can only bring aid and comfort to al Qaeda and other terrorists who mean to destroy us and our allies.

It should be noted that with regard to the two prizes just mentioned, in the interests of national security, Mr. Bush personally appealed the patriotism and commonsense of both The Post and the New York Times, and implored them not to run the stories. Both papers, it seems, put their strong dislike of Mr. Bush and his policies before the future safety of Americans.

Next, you have the San Diego Union Tribune and Copley News Service getting an award for exposing the bribery of former Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Make no mistake, Cunningham was and is a low-life. In fact, I went after him several times in previous columns when no one was really paying attention. But a Pulitzer Prize for “exposing” the bribery. Come on. The guy was living in a $2 million home, driving luxury cars, and living on a yacht, rent free in Washington. Next someone is going to tell me they give prizes for predicting the sun is going to come up in the morning.

With that same Republican-bashing theme in mind, The Post won yet another prize for making the words “disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff” part of the media lexicon. Again, no issues with going after Abramoff. Whatever prison time he serves will not be nearly enough. But what about corrupt Democratic lobbyists? They are out there, but don’t seem to rate equivalent attention from The Post or the Pulitzer committee.

Still not convinced that Columbia University and its Pulitzer committee uses a liberal checklist? Then I implore you to look at the names of this year’s finalists. From Republican-hating fashion writers, to Republican-hating editorial cartoonists, to Republican-bashing editorial boards, you will find a wish list from the left, of politically correct, more than diverse, “journalists” who are driven solely by an agenda and not the responsibilities of a once noble profession.

I wonder if the Pulitzer committee will award a prize for “examining and exposing” the “blatant liberal bias” of the Pulitzer committee. I think I’ll submit this column just in case.

Douglas MacKinnon served as press secretary to former Sen. Bob Dole. He is also a former White House and Pentagon official, and an author.

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