Trump Calls for ’18 Pulitzer Prizes to Be Stripped for Being Fake News

Trump Calls for '18 Pulitzer Prizes to Be Stripped for Being Fake News Trump Calls for '18 Pulitzer Prizes to Be Stripped for Being Fake News Former US President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on September 25, 2021 in Perry, Georgia. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Sunday, 03 October 2021 08:48 AM

Writing an open letter to the Pulitzer Prizes, former President Donald Trump called out the "shoddy, dubious, and manifestly false reporting" by The New York Times and The Washington Post that won the award in 2018.

Trump published the open letter in a statement from his Save America PAC on Sunday.

"I call on the Pulitzer Prize Board to immediately rescind the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting awarded to the staffs of The New York Times and The Washington Post, which was based on false reporting of a non-existent link between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign," the statement began. "As has been widely publicized, the coverage was no more than a politically motivated farce which attempted to spin a false narrative that my campaign supposedly colluded with Russia despite a complete lack of evidence underpinning this allegation."

Trump added the reports awarded for a Pulitzer Prize centered on the "now-debunked Russia collusion conspiracy theory" force-fed to the American people from anonymous sources subject to "political bias."

"When the Board announced the prize, it lauded the recipients 'for deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nations' understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect's transition team, and his eventual administration,'" Trump's statement continued.

"Specifically, the prize was awarded for a series of articles centered around the now-debunked Russia collusion conspiracy theory. The headlines themselves were extremely sensational and leaned heavily on unsubstantiated anonymous sources. For example, much of the information contained in these articles were credited to 'people with knowledge,' 'current and former officials,' 'some senior U.S. officials,' and other vaguely defined individuals. 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."

Trump noted conservative media outlets have exposed the Times and Post reporting as spreading "clear logical fallacies" and "narratives" that had a "clear lack of evidence."

"For two years, these institutions feverishly pushed one Russia story after another and – despite lacking any credible evidence – attempted to persuade the public that my campaign had colluded with the Russian government," Trump's statement continued. "Contemporaneously with that reporting, numerous conservative news outlets and commentators questioned the legitimacy of these reports, exposing the clear logical fallacies contained in their narratives and pointing to the clear lack of evidence underpinning them."

Trump highlighted the recent Justice Department indictment of a Democratic National Committee-tied lawyer Michael Sussmann, which he wrote "serves as a damning repudiation of the media's obsession with the collusion story."

Trump added a warning not only the Times and Post reputations are damaged, but so too will the Pulitzer Prize if it does not "react accordingly."

"For over a century, the Pulitzer Prize has been widely recognized as a significant achievement in the field of journalism," Trump added. "It has been viewed by many as an honor that is meant to be bestowed upon well-deserving recipients in recognition of their groundbreaking journalistic efforts. This level of reverence carries with it a very important connotation, namely that the reporting itself is inherently deemed credible, well-sourced and trustworthy.

"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."

Trump wrote he would hope the Times and Post return their Pulitzers, but he fully expects them not to, putting the onus on the Pulitzer Prize Board.

"Ultimately, my hope is that the recipients of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, The New York Times and The Washington Post, will voluntarily surrender this award in light of recent revelations," Trump concluded. "However, should they fail to do so, I would expect that you will take the necessary steps to rectify the situation, including stripping the recipients of their prize and retracting the false statements which remain on the Pulitzer website.

"Without holding the recipients to such a high standard of accountability, the integrity of the Pulitzer Prize namesake stands to be wholly compromised."