Former President Donald Trump formally asked the Pulitzer Prize board to revoke 2018 prizes given to major newspapers that reported on suspicions of a link between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russians who interfered in the contest.
Mr. Trump said the board needed to correct the record after it lauded The New York Times and The Washington Post. He cited the report by special counsel Robert Mueller that found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and Russian actors, even if their interests aligned at times.
“Specifically, the prize was awarded for a series of articles centered around the now-debunked Russia collusion conspiracy theory,” Mr. Trump said in a letter sent over the weekend.
“The headlines themselves were extremely sensational and leaned heavily on unsubstantiated anonymous sources,” he wrote. “As a result, the public was deprived of an independent means of assessing their credibility, their potential for political bias, and the source of their knowledge.”
Mr. Trump highlighted the recent indictment of an attorney in Hillary Clinton’s orbit on charges of lying to the FBI, saying it debunked claims the Trump campaign had secret communications with Russia-based Alfa Bank.
The ex-president said if the reporters won’t relinquish the prizes voluntarily, the Pulitzer board should take them back to preserve its reputation.
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“This level of reverence carries with it a very important connotation, namely that the reporting itself is inherently deemed credible, well-sourced and trustworthy,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Given this powerful presumption, there is a heavy burden to ensure that these works are continuously and closely examined as to the veracity of the information contained therein. When it becomes apparent that a Pulitzer Prize-winning work was based on shoddy, dubious and manifestly false reporting — as is the case here — the Pulitzer Prize Board must react accordingly.”
• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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