Former President Donald Trump accused the Pulitzer Prize Board of “running cover for the biggest reporting failure in modern history” after the panel stood by its 2018 award for stories stoking the Russia collusion narrative.
The Pulitzer board said Monday that two independent investigations found “no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes.”
Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly called for the award to be rescinded, blasted the board and said he would continue to do “everything possible to right the wrong caused by the 2018 Pulitzer Prize.”
“The Pulitzer Board has taken away any shred of credibility it had left with its ‘response’ regarding the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, which was awarded to The New York Times and The Washington Post for blatant fake news,” said Mr. Trump in a Monday statement on his website.
“Instead of acting with integrity and providing transparency, the Pulitzer Board is running cover for the biggest reporting failure in modern history: the fake Russia Russia Russia collusion hoax,” he said.
The New York Times and The Washington Post shared the 2018 National Reporting award for 20 stories that “dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign,” according to the Pulitzer Prizes.
In its statement, the Pulitzer board said that it commissioned the reviews after receiving inquiries, “including from former President Donald Trump,” about the submissions.
“Both reviews were conducted by individuals with no connection to the institutions whose work was under examination, nor any connection to each other,” said the Pulitzer board. “The separate reviews converged in their conclusions: that no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes.”
Mr. Trump has pointed to the 2019 Mueller report, which detailed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign but “did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts.”
The Republican called on the two newspapers to “hand back their prizes without notification from Pulitzer, which would be the honorable thing to do.”
“The truth is that the 2018 Pulitzer Prize was handed out for reporting that merely parroted political disinformation—disinformation that we know was fabricated by foreign operatives and my political opponents,” Mr. Trump said. “If the Pulitzer Prize has become a blatant acknowledgment of false, liberal political propaganda, then the Pulitzer Board should just say so.”
Former Washington Post editor Martin Baron told the newspaper that the Pulitzer board made “the right decision and the only logical one.”
“Anyone who researched this Pulitzer submission knew these stories stood up, were correct and accurate and well reported. There was no reason for a reversal,” said Mr. Baron, who oversaw the 2017 reporting.
There were plenty of opinions on the board’s decision from those in the journalism business.
“Even as media credibility craters, Pulitzers are doubling down on the awards they gave to propagandists for perpetrating the false, dangerous, and damaging Russia collusion hoax,” tweeted conservative columnist Mollie Hemingway.
John Schwartz, University of Texas at Austin journalism professor, tweeted: “To Donald Trump and his amen corner: Russian attempts to [interfere] in the 2016 election were real. The stories describing them were accurate. In short, go suck an egg. Signed, the Pulitzer Board.”