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View From America: Pulitzer disgrace
Jerusalem Post ^ | Apr. 28, 2007 | Jonathan Tobin

Posted on 04/28/2007 7:10:44 PM PDT by Alouette

In 1932, one of the most prestigious honors in journalism, the Pulitzer Prize, was awarded to Walter Duranty, a New York Times reporter who was then serving as foreign correspondent in the Soviet Union.

Though many other Pulitzers have been handed out over the years, Duranty's is remembered more than most. In the on-line archive of the prizes (www.pulitzer.org), his award is noted in a bland, one-sentence explanation that reads simply: "For his series of dispatches on Russia, especially the working out of the Five Year Plan."

The reference is to Duranty's reporting on Stalin's economic plan. Duranty's dispatches helped build an image of Stalin's totalitarian state as an idealistic work in progress.

But there were a few things missing from Duranty's stories. These included the mass murder of Soviet peasants who resisted forced collectivization, and the "terror famine" which took up to three million lives. He also got the part about the disastrous five-year plan "working out" wrong. In subsequent years, Duranty followed this up with further lies that whitewashed Stalin's infamous show trials and purges that resulted in the deaths of millions more victims of communism.

Duranty's work remains the gold standard of journalism malpractice primarily because of his political motives. The writer sympathized with the Soviet Union, and was willing to lie about it.

THE 2007 Pulitzer for Feature Writing announced this week went to another member of the Times staff, Andrea Elliott. She's the author of an 11,000-word, three-part story, "An Imam in America," about Sheik Reda Shata of the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, New York.

The series, which first appeared on March 5-7, 2006, is touted on the newspaper's Web site as the story of "the inner life of a mosque in Brooklyn, and the dynamic, creative, conflicted and fearful imam at its center: Sheik Reda Shata. Through study and conversation, persuasion and persistence, Elliott achieved an intimate, tough-minded exploration of the lives of immigrant Muslims after 9/11."

However, a few things were missing from these "tough-minded" pieces, which sympathetically portrayed the Egyptian-born Shata.

The most important was Elliott's failure to mention anything about the role of the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge in the murder of 16-year-old Ari Halberstam in a van filled with Jewish children on the Brooklyn Bridge. Not one of her 11,000 words refers to the fact that it was this same mosque that was the forum for the sermon that inspired one of its congregants, Rashid Baz, to go out and try to murder as many Jews as he could in March 1994.

At Baz's trial, it was revealed that Mohammed Moussa - Shata's predecessor at the mosque - was quoted as saying the following in a sermon heard by the killer on the day of the rampage: "This takes the mask off of the Jews. It shows them to be racist and fascist, as bad as the Nazis. Palestinians are suffering from the occupation and it's time to end it."

HOW, YOU might ask, could one write about any religious institution and ignore the most notorious aspect of its recent history?

In a subsequent article in The New York Sun, Halberstam's mother, Devorah, related that she called Elliott to ask why she had omitted the story of her son's murder from the feature on the mosque. Elliott replied that "she knew nothing about it."

This was, at the very least, an indictment of the reporter's research skills, which ought to have earned her the humiliation of an editor's note acknowledging the mistake, not journalism's greatest prize.

But there is more wrong here than just one missing fact. It is that the entire thesis of Elliott's work was to portray Shata and his mosque as a force for moderation. Setting up her subject, Elliott insists that "imams like Shata - men who embrace American freedom and condemn the radicals they feel have tainted their faith - rarely make the news."

While Shata did not give the sermon that inspired Baz, he did praise the Hamas terror group, and spoke of its leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, as a "lion of Palestine [who] has been martyred."

As even Elliott was constrained to note, Shata had also praised a Palestinian female suicide bomber, Reem Al-Reyashi, as a "martyr." Absent from the feature is any attempt at a serious discussion of how a religious leader who praises terrorists can at the same time pretend to be fostering interfaith dialogue with Jews and Christians. Shata utters coded responses such as, "What I may see as terrorism, you may not see that way," without follow-up from his interviewer.

Instead, what Elliott was interested in was the supposed plight of US Muslims in a hostile society. This is in spite of the fact that attacks on Muslims in post-9/11 America have been notably rare, and that American leaders have gone out of their way to distinguish Islam from Islamist extremists.

Like more recent Times coverage of the Council on American Islamic Relations, in which those apologists for terror have been allowed to rebrand themselves as a "civil-rights group," the reporting here leaves little doubt that this is a newspaper on a mission. The result is not only shoddy journalism; it is a politically inspired muddle that leaves us knowing only those elements of the life of Shata and his mosque that he wishes to present to us.

Both Elliott and Duranty crossed the same line when they allowed their agendas to dictate their coverage. While Duranty covered up genocide, dishonesty about Islamist extremism is no less egregious.

What this proves is that those who imagined that Duranty was a relic of journalism's past were wrong. That a travesty such as Elliott's "imam" would bring a Pulitzer is a disgrace that again taints the reputation of both the prize and the Times.

The writer is executive editor of The Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: duranty; nytimes; pulitzer

ARI HALBERSTAM HY"D

1 posted on 04/28/2007 7:10:50 PM PDT by Alouette
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To: 1st-P-In-The-Pod; 2ndDivisionVet; A_Conservative_in_Cambridge; af_vet_rr; agrace; albyjimc2; ...
FReepMail to be added or removed from this pro-Israel/Judaic/Russian Jewry ping list.

Warning! This is a high-volume ping list.

2 posted on 04/28/2007 7:11:20 PM PDT by Alouette (Learned Mother of Zion)
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To: Alouette
Andrea Eliot


3 posted on 04/28/2007 7:19:49 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Alouette
View From America: Pulitzer disgrace

Pulitzers: Just one more case of liberals giving awards to liberals for being liberal.

4 posted on 04/28/2007 7:27:15 PM PDT by RJL
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To: Alouette
Elliott replied that "she knew nothing about it."

And she doesn't want to know. It would interfere with her template.

5 posted on 04/28/2007 7:28:04 PM PDT by Free State Four
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To: Alouette
Elliott replied that "she knew nothing about it."

And she doesn't want to know. It would interfere with her template.

6 posted on 04/28/2007 7:28:08 PM PDT by Free State Four
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To: RJL

‘Pulitzers: Just one more case of liberals giving awards to liberals for being liberal.’

You nailed it.


7 posted on 04/28/2007 7:52:02 PM PDT by T Lady (The Mainstream Media: Public Enemy #1)
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To: Alouette
Jonathan Tobin is letting the predominantly Israeli readership of this article (in the Jerusalem Post) know what the New York Slimes has been all about for so long: biased, leftist, antisemitic, anti-American, anti-Western civilization. Hopefully, the Slimes will continue to lose readership and advertisers and soon fade into the dustbin of history.
8 posted on 04/28/2007 7:57:37 PM PDT by justiceseeker93
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To: Alouette


AP journalists celebrate their Pulitzer Prize for photos taken by Islamofascist stringers of their Islamofascist associates murdering Iraqi election officials.
9 posted on 04/28/2007 8:25:03 PM PDT by Milhous (There are only two ways of telling the complete truth: anonymously and posthumously. - Thomas Sowell)
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To: Milhous; Alouette

The Pulitzer prizes shouldn’t be taken very seriously. They represent one leftist entity patting the backs of their leftist friends in the MSM. Conservatives need not apply.


10 posted on 04/28/2007 8:34:19 PM PDT by justiceseeker93
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To: Alouette

Could it be that the Pulitzer committee was trying to temper the blow they took to their liberal street cred when they gave Lawrence Wright an award for “The Looming Tower?”


11 posted on 04/28/2007 8:38:37 PM PDT by Cinnamon Girl (OMGIIHIHOIIC ping list)
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To: Alouette
Duranty's work remains the gold standard of journalism malpractice primarily because of his political motives. The writer sympathized with the Soviet Union, and was willing to lie about it.

I don'r understand. I thought that was the definition of "journalism" and the Pukeletzer "Prize"....

12 posted on 04/28/2007 8:51:10 PM PDT by Onelifetogive (Liberals are willing to sacrifice any amount of someone else's money to increase their own power...)
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To: Onelifetogive

THE "PULL IT" SURPRISE

13 posted on 04/28/2007 9:00:58 PM PDT by Alouette (Learned Mother of Zion)
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To: Alouette

LOL!


14 posted on 04/28/2007 9:04:35 PM PDT by Onelifetogive (Liberals are willing to sacrifice any amount of someone else's money to increase their own power...)
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To: Alouette

Thanks! I really needed that.


15 posted on 04/28/2007 9:33:48 PM PDT by liege
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To: Cicero

Putting on my Sherlock Holmes cap I notice that:

1) The left (as you look at the picture) has been tugged down to show more skin around her neck and upper chest. Obviously the photographer decided the picture/gal needed a little more "cheesecake".

2) She is holding the pen far too close to the tip . In fact by my rough estimation I'd say the point of the pen ends at the center of her middle finger.

3) The knuckles on her right hand are white. She is strangling that pen.

4) See that large crease on her blouse by the top of the pen? If you look carefully you will see a similar one on the opposite side. This means her blouse is either too tight (not the case IMHO) or she has her shoulders thrown back; this would pull the blouse somewhat snug and show curves where her normal posture would not. Again, maybe the photographer felt the photo need a little more cheesecake.

16 posted on 04/29/2007 2:13:53 AM PDT by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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To: yankeedame

Andrea Eliott

17 posted on 04/29/2007 2:21:41 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: Alouette

by Ibn Warraq (Foreword to The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, by Andrew Bostom, Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2007, forthcoming)


18 posted on 04/29/2007 3:25:30 AM PDT by dennisw ("What one man can do, another can do" -- The Edge)
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To: yankeedame

Also, they worked in a person of color with an earring, whom she is interviewing with attentive sympathy, to underline her multicultural principles.


19 posted on 04/29/2007 1:51:57 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.

High Volume. Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking on the Topic or Keyword Israel. or WOT [War on Terror]

----------------------------

20 posted on 04/29/2007 4:45:25 PM PDT by SJackson (restoring the Jews to their homeland is a noble dream shared by many Americans, A. Lincoln)
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To: Cicero
She looks like one of those women who are titilated by exotic foreign men, like Pelosi.

She' favorable to the Islamics, because she has the hots for them.

Just my 2 cents.

21 posted on 05/01/2007 5:03:38 PM PDT by happygrl (Dunderhead for HONOR)
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To: yankeedame; Cicero
Oh my, I posted before reading your commentary, and realize that we both infer a sexual angle to her reporting.

Women know women.

22 posted on 05/01/2007 5:08:27 PM PDT by happygrl (Dunderhead for HONOR)
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To: happygrl

Well I’m the sheik of Araby,
Your love belongs to me.
Well at night where you’re asleep,
Into your tent I’ll creep.

The stars that shine above
Will light our way to love.
You rule this world with me,
I’m the sheik of Araby.

Well I’m the sheik of Araby,
Your love belongs to me.
Oh at night where you’re asleep,
Into your tent I’ll creep.

The sun that shines above
Will light our way to love.
You rule this world with me,
I’m the sheik of Araby.

Well I’m the sheik of Araby,
Well I’m the sheik of Araby, yeah.

(The Beetles version)


23 posted on 05/01/2007 5:36:20 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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