By Alan Caruba
Isn’t it about time we all just admit that the Pulitzer Prizes are a sham? Let’s see who the winners are this year. There’s The Washington Post that took six of the 14 journalism categories. Six! It’s the most ever for the newspaper and second only in history to The New York Times which won seven Pulitzers in 2002, mostly for its 9/11 coverage.
They’re gnashing their teeth at The Times this year because it only picked up two Pulitzers and tied with the Chicago Tribune for the “Explanatory Reporting” category, whatever the hell that is?
Perhaps it’s time to start giving awards for firing or laying off the least amount of editors and reporters? The real story about journalism this year is the way traditional print journalism is taking a nosedive as people turn to the Internet to get news and opinion from sources they trust. Or tune into the 24/7 news channels like Fox and MSNBC.
The real story in the world of journalism is the rise of Cybercast News Service (CNS.com), Canada Free Press.com, World Net Daily, New Media Journal or any of the many other Internet providers of news and views that resonate with people who are concerned about things like reducing the size of government, Second Amendment, sovereignty, immigration, education, and other issues of concern to conservatives.
How can a handful of politically correct, carefully selected letters to the editor compare or compete with the many lively forums in which anyone can participate? Little wonder that most newspapers have added forums and blogs to their websites in a desperate effort to entice readers.
The problem with the Pulitzers is that they are so blatantly elitist. And the winners are! Always The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Constitution-Journal, The Wall Street Journal. Yawn.
Dailies in smaller cities west or south of the Hudson River have to pray that something newsworthy occurs such as the award to the Idaho Statesman for its coverage of the juicy Larry Craig scandal or a rarity like a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter for stories on—God help us—tax laws and pension misuse. Hats off to the Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune and Denver Post reporters as well.
Stop the presses. Bob Dylan received a special “citation” for his contribution to music. If you like listening to a guy that sounds like a cat being slowly sawed in half, run out and pick up a CD. Dylan is so 60s that it’s a surprise to learn he still draws breath.
I am happy to know that good journalism exists, but the Pulitzers, like the Oscars, are so politicized they no longer signify much. The world of the working journalist these days is a tenuous one at best. They are over-worked and under-paid, but I was too when I was a reporter in the 1970s. It was fun then when I didn’t have to think about paying a mortgage or any grown-up stuff.
If you want to know what today’s journalists are thinking, just visit http://angryjournalist.com. It is riotous stuff, a seething cauldron of vanity, hubris, bias, and most of the sins of the heart we know and despite so well.
Meanwhile, the winning reporters and editors will renegotiate their salaries and perks. Others will call their agents and tell them to start hustling a book deal. After an alarmingly short period of preening and strutting the job cuts will continue.
Newspapers aren’t exactly dead yet, mostly due to the soft sections on health, home, and entertainment. Most people I know read the obits every day.