Pulitzer Prize Board May Not Honor Reporting on Snowden Leaks

Credit: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films/wikimediaCredit: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films/wikimediaReporting on the biggest story of the last year, or perhaps even the last decade, may not be honored by the Pulitzer Prize Board. According to past Board members, journalists, and watchdogs, the 19-member Board will undoubtedly have an “intense discussion” about whether reporting on the information leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden ought to be recognized.

From Politico:

Next month, the trustees who oversee America’s most distinguished journalistic award could face their toughest decision in at least four decades.

The issue before the Pulitzer Prize Board: Does it honor reporting by The Washington Post and The Guardian based on stolen government documents that are arguably detrimental to the national security of the United States, and which were provided by a man who many see as a traitor? Or, does it pass over what is widely viewed as the single most significant story of the year — if not the decade — for the sake of playing it safe?

Politico goes on to note that The New York Times won the Pulitzer Public Service award in 1972 for its reporting on Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers.

While the Board may want to not appear political, it would be astonishing if some of the most significant reporting of the last decade were not seriously considered for recognition. Giving reporting on the Snowden leaks a pass would make the the Board look like a group of people that values good standing with officials over the value of good journalism that is in the public interest.

Reporting on the information leaked by Snowden has allowed the public to know about the scale of mass global surveillance and has prompted an overdue debate in the U.S. as well as abroad on the state of civil liberties in the Internet age. It would be a shame if this reporting, which was certainly in the public interest, is not seriously considered for recognition by the Pulitzer Prize Board because of some comparatively trivial political concerns.

The winners of this year's Pulitzer Prizes will be announced at 3p.m. ET on April 14. 

Editor's note: A earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that The New York Times was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1971 for its reporting on the Pentagon Papers.

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  • SIV||

    #TrollFreeThursday

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Why should I troll? I'm eating a delicious Chicago-style pizza!

  • anon||

    Fuck you New York style is better!

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    You mean those oversized potato chips with tomato sauce?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "Look at me, I'm eating a NY pizza! I just hope I don't bite into the plate by mistake, given the pizza's resemblance to the plate!"

    http://www.personal.psu.edu/ag.....la101h/new york style.jpg

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    The New York Post on the "Secret mob history of Ray’s Pizza"

    "The [pizza] shop’s real trade was drugs....

    "the pizza parlor and its adjoining clubhouse soon became headquarters for “the Prince Street crew,” a prime gathering spot for local mobsters....

    "The drugs and the cash were handled in the pizzeria’s unfinished basement, directly beneath the ovens."

    http://nypost.com/2013/09/22/s.....ays-pizza/

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    SFed the psu link

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I like you, ya got balls, here, have some of our special sauce.

    http://bit.ly/1ftWyC2

  • SIV||

    How's your casserole?

  • ||

    Isn't the Chicago vs. NYC style pizza debate like the first on the list of first-world problems?

    I mean, aren't their people out there with noodles in their chili, ketchup on their hotdog, and ice in their beer that are in more dire need of condescension and guidance?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    It's a real crisis:

    "New York pizza is a hand-held food that was originally designed to be eaten in a closed pizza sandwich mode that makes it handy to eat on the run.

    "Chicago style pizza is a full meal and will usually require a plate and utensils to eat....

    "New York pizzas are famous for their oil-dripping slices.

    "Deep dish Chicago pizzas are “drier” without pools of oil."

    http://pizza.com/chicago-style.....tyle-pizza

    "Yo, look at me, I'm a New Yorker, I don't use fancy 'utensils' to eat my food, I just grab it in my grubby hands and let the oil drip onto the sidewalk and onto my wifebeater shirt!"

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "and I still have one of my hands free to scratch my nuts and gesture rudely at passers-by!"

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    OMG, I think I'm having a trollgasm

  • waffles||

    Yeah, New York is kinda awesome that way.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    "Yo, look at me, I'm a New Yorker, I don't use fancy 'utensils' to eat my food, I just grab it in my grubby hands and let the oil drip onto the sidewalk and onto my wifebeater shirt!"

    You fold it, you CRETIN!

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "You fold it, you CRETIN!"

    New Yorkers are still learning how to use their opposable thumbs to hold objects. Once they've mastered that art, it will be time enough to move on to folding.

  • Pro Libertate||

    How is it you're quoting Episiarch? I happen to know that he likes the extra oil, which he rubs on women as they walk by.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    he likes the extra oil

    Also works well as a sexual lubricant.

  • Riven||

    Snack break!

  • ||

    It's a real crisis:

    But I don't think the 'pizza culture war' is really as heated or morally contentious as it's made out to be.

    I see plenty of Chicagoans eating NY-style pizza by the slice on the go all the time. I haven't spent as much time in NYC, but I've never had a problem finding sit down Chicago-style deep-dish pizza there either.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    You mean this NY v. Chicago battle is overhyped and people should just calm down?

    Do I *look* like a wuss?

  • ||

    You mean this NY v. Chicago battle is overhyped and people should just calm down?

    No, I mean what I originally said. It's a first-first-world problem. See below where people are touting chili-spaghetti and flagrantly putting ketchup on a hot dog.

    It just makes the whole eating pizza like a sloven neanderthal seem kinda trivial. I mean, it's not like anybody is pouring beer over ice, right?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    You're right, I should take those other issues more seriously.

  • SIV||

    Chili spaghetti is one of the few redeeming qualities of southwestern Ohio.

  • Brandon||

    You inhuman monster.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What an odd comment. Is that some sort of performance art?

  • ||

    Chili spaghetti is one of the few redeeming qualities of southwestern Ohio.

    Sure, the same way smelly sheepskin seat covers are a redeeming quality of a '78 Pacer.

  • Riven||

    Not put ketchup on a hotdog?! What do you put on it? Oh, I bet you're one of Colonel Mustard's blind acolytes.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Oddly, given my pizza position, I'm with New York on hot dogs--mustard and kraut.

  • Lord Humungus||

    What did the Germans ever do to you?

  • Riven||

    I'm down with the kraut. I'm just not a fan of mustard unless it's mixed into something else and I can't see it.

    Before anyone gets up in arms, I do not put both ketchup and kraut on one dog. Strictly one or the other.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Mein Gott! Just the suggestion that kraut and ketchup could coexist. . . .

  • ||

    Not put ketchup on a hotdog?! What do you put on it?

    What part of "not ketchup" do you not understand?

    There's not enough room to put together the list of stuff that shouldn't go on a hot dog; whipped cream, chocolate chips, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice maple syrup, caramel... but ketchup comes first.

  • ||

    And the only appropriate way to *remove* ketchup from a hot dog is with fists.

  • Riven||

    Maybe where you come from, but I'm from Montana--the land of precooked, bright red, Rocky Mountain hot dogs. You're nothing but a dang commie if you don't put ketchup on that bun! (Given an absence of kraut, ceteris paribus, etc.)

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I once caught a guy committing ceteris paribus in my bushes.

  • ||

    Maybe where you come from, but I'm from Montana--the land of precooked, bright red, Rocky Mountain hot dogs. You're nothing but a dang commie if you don't put ketchup on that bun! (Given an absence of kraut, ceteris paribus, etc.)

    Montana, the quintessential culinary and cultural Mecca of American cuisine. I guess if you're going to starve and your choices are a hot dog with ketchup or Montana's other famous food (buffalo jerky?) you might have a decision to make. Personally, I'd decide what to put on my headstone.

    Seriously, even the commies don't put ketchup on their hot dogs.

  • Riven||

    Hey, we're very cosmopolitan out in these parts! Most of our famous foods have "Rocky Mountain" in the name; please try some of our oysters.
    It's nice to see such a ... principled stance on hot dogs, though.

  • ||

    It's nice to see such a ... principled stance on hot dogs, though.

    What can I say? I was raised as a man of principle; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5JIpT4GkyM

  • ||

    If I'm eating Oscar Meyers at a picnic, it's ketchup, mustard and onions. If I'm eating at a real hot dog joint (like this one - holla!!), it's slaw, mustard and onions.

  • ||

    Oops, and chili.

  • SIV||

    Cinnamon is sometimes found in hotdog chili.Particulary the hotdog chili from SW Ohio when it is not serving as spaghetti sauce.

  • CE||

    Why would you call a bowl of vegetables, cheese and meat a pizza?

  • ||

    I thought NYC is where all the Eyetalians called them "Pizza Pies"?

    A crispy crust with meat, cheese and tomato filling... pizza PIE! I fail to see how NY-style pizza even remotely qualifies as pizza pie (Not that I wouldn't eat it).

  • anon||

    While the Board may want to not appear political, it would be astonishing if some of the most significant reporting of the last decade were not seriously considered for recognition.

    Somehow you're surprised that an organization would censor speech/reporting critical of anything that might challenge authority.

    I, however, am not.

  • Jerryskids||

    I'm not sure how you arrive at the conclusion that the coverage of the Snowden leaks are 'significant' in that they seem to have had no significant effect on the NSA.

    This to me is the most worrisome thing about the NSA, the fact that they are not the least bit defensive or embarrassed or apologetic about what they are doing. They truly believe that they are the true heroes here, the ones taking the necessary and proper and, above all completely legal, steps necessary to keep us all safe. And they in no way intend to stop being heroes just because a few traitors and terrorists and anti-American malcontents want to spread lies about how necessary and proper and legal the NSA activities are.

    (And if you simply define 'significance' as the number of people talking about the issue, Snowden is about as significant as Miley Cyrus.)

  • The Last American Hero||

    Prior to Snowden, people making such allegations were regarded at Tin-Foil Hat Types.

    Also, in 2012 the Pulitzer went to a paper that covered an Alabama tornado and in 2011 to the coverage of the Penn State abuse scandal, so yeah, I would think the NSA thing is a big deal.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "could face their toughest decision in at least four decades"

    So it's "tough" to have *cojones*?

  • anon||

    Apparently balls don't grow naturally anymore.

  • Riven||

    We better just give prizes to everyone. Wouldn't want anyone to get their little feelers hurt...

  • kinnath||

    Politico goes on to note that The New York Times won the Pulitzer Public Service award in 1971 for its reporting on Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers.

    That's cause tricky dick nixon was prez.

    Criticizing chocolate jesus is a different matter entirely.

  • JParker||

    Criticizing the NSA is not strictly a criticism of Obama -- this same behavior has been going on for many years: the NSA has been a problem under Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, etc., as well.

  • ||

    While the Board may want to not appear political

    What the Board wants to do is not bite the hand that feeds it. The "4th Estate" has really become another branch of the government, with all the statism and ass-covering that entails.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I begin to wonder just how long that's been true. I mean, Nixon was a Republican, after all.

  • ||

    It's always been true. There's this widespread myth held by idiots that newspapers stopped being party organs sometime in the mid 20th century. Who knows how that got started, but I can't believe anyone still believes in it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I've thought it was more true today than it was then, but I'm starting to question that assumption. By all accounts, Kennedy and Johnson pulled some pretty bad crap in office, and it seems that the press laughed it all off.

  • Paul.||

    Camelot. You don't fuck with Camelot.

  • CE||

    Starz canceled it after just one season though.

  • Paul.||

    Huh, I thought it was Lee Harvey Oswald that canceled Camelot...........

    What, too soon?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I'm currently reading The American Sphinx. I was interested to see that the media hasn't really changed in the last 200+ years.

    Liars and shills.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We need a crack cadre of journalists, trained from birth to be actually objective and fact-based. Kind of a Bene Gesserit for journalism. And yes, with pain boxes.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Have I ever told you my free market, board certified journalist solution?

  • Pro Libertate||

    You mean a private certifying entity for journalists? I've had that thought before about them and about other institutions that need some kind of scoring. I mean, these guys get caught in bed with the people they cover and no one really calls them out on it.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Short version:

    Assemble a board of journalism professors. Have them write a set of principled guidelines. Convince a major outlet they will get a leg up on the competition if they certify their journalists. Competitors follow suit. Allow ANYONE to file grievances against individual journalists with the board. Pay the board through certification fees.

    It would at least force outlets to distinguish between facts and editorial.

  • The Last American Hero||

    But there isn't a journalism professor in the country that didn't for Chocolate Nixon - twice.

  • Riven||

    I must not lie.
    Lying is the news-killer.
    Lying is the little-death that brings total obliteration...

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    It's simpler than that. Examine the board membership.

    http://www.pulitzer.org/board/2014

    A writer for the New Yorker, multiple Columbia journalism grads, a social scientist, Gail Collins...

    I imagine there's enough Obama sycophants in there to generate a nullifying effect on anything embarrassing to the Chocolate Jesus.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    That this is even a question demonstrates how correct you are.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    They certainly shouldn't consider Feeney's alt-text for a prize.

  • ||

    Nor his split infinitives!

  • Paul.||

    I thought that headline writing was to split infinitives.

  • ||

    The split infinitive I noticed wasn't in the headline...

  • Paul.||

    Oh, sorry, I didn't look. I was just assuming...

  • Raston Bot||

    I fully expect they'll go the route of the Norwegian Nobel Committee and shit all over their own credibility. Oh well, the Pulitzer may have meant something once.

  • Paul.||

    Or, does it pass over what is widely viewed as the single most significant story of the year — if not the decade — for the sake of playing it safe?

    Politico goes on to note that The New York Times won the Pulitzer Public Service award in 1971 for its reporting on Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers.

    I think the difference is that the former were liberals and the latter are progressives.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I think if there's a good reason not to consider them a Pulitzer, it's that it doesn't seem like they had to do much work for this, and it's pretty much all Snowden.

  • Hugh Akston||

    So the Pulitzer should be awarded based on the amount of work something requires. Like a gold-plated A-for-effort?

  • Paul.||

    Two hours homework a night. Two hours. Or you're not a good citizen.

  • CE||

    Give it to Lois Lane. She figured out who Superman was, in a montage.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm saying it's probably not the newspaper that deserves the award if they're just publishing something from someone else.

  • Paul.||

    Isn't all news shit that happened to other people?

    Ok, that was slightly sarcastic.

  • Pro Libertate||

    These days, just being willing to print anything critical of government is a fucking Nobel Prize moment.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I thought being willing to commit more troops to a war zone was a Nobel Prize moment.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's a different kind of prize.

  • Raven Nation||

    Isn't that pretty much describing the NYT's role in the Pentagon Papers?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Probably. Maybe they actually did reporting to get the info, but it was before my time so I don't know for sure.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    IIRC, Ellsberg shopped the Pentagon Papers around, then the NYT agreed to use them. They had reporters going through the report in search of juicy bits to publish. So that was the value added, plus the willingness to fight the Nixon administration's attempted censorship.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Now, the Pentagon Papers were a multi-volume government report. The NYT had to find the parts of the report they wanted to publish. With the Snowden documents, the material IIRC wasn't organized so the media had to do extra work putting it together.

  • CE||

    I would give the prize to Reason for exposing the abuses of the police state on a daily basis.

  • The Last American Hero||

    +1 Balko

  • ||

    This fit well with the established pattern of response by America's journalisitic establishment to the Snowden leaks.

    Which is mainly: "How DARE Snowden not leak this information to ME????"

    From the beginning reporters at the NYTimes and other sources have been pissed off that Snowden dared to leak the information to a BRITISH newspaper blogger, instead of one of their own. When he after the fact started working with the Washington Post, they forgave him slightly. But IMO they are still furious that Glenn Greenwald got the first scoop.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's like the end of Three Days of the Condor, except that Redford really knows he can't trust the U.S. national papers.

  • Response||

    If they give the Pulitzer for the Snowden leaks, wouldn't Pulitzer and Nobel have to fight it out in a winner takes all death cage match or something?

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