Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Personal Asides: Traditionalist Conservative Praise for Bush Underwhelming Lisa Madigans Appearance at the City Club The PU of the Pulitzer The Rezko Obama Stuff is Minor LeagueCan It.
One column by Pat Buchanan praising George W. Bushs Supreme Court appointees for approving the Congress ban on partial birth abortion after four years of Axis Sally-style fulminations on the Iraq War destined to unsettle the nations polity. Better than nothing. Lets see, do we hear anything from Joe Sobran? The Rockford Institute?
Lisa Madigans appearance at the City Club was a triumph. She rivals the best greeters I have known in more than fifty years in politics going around Maggianos, shaking hands, knowing first names. Whats not to like? A slim, not overly made-up woman who appears more like a gallant Jeanne dArc she is unlikely to be deterred from any reasonably higher office she sets her gaze upon. I was impressed by her wit, her quick, bird-like energy, her reparatee. If this sounds shallow, so be it. I would advise her hairdresser to re-do it and give her decorous bangs. Her forehead is high and bangs would not in the slightest detract from her presencebut add to it.
The PU in Pulitzer.
Veteran journalists have told me for years that the Pulitzer was fixedor at least rigged. You dont ever hear of Washington Times Bill Gertz, the greatest living expert on defense policy who has broken a great number of exclusives, being considered for the Prize, do you? Why not? Gee, the PU committee just didnt get around to it. Now the Weekly Standard comes out this week with a story by a correspondent who served on the Pulitzer jury. I understand Jack Higgins got one (I think Im right on this)which at least partially rehabilitates the group, but the story by Philip Terzian, the magazines literary editor, is unsurprisingly revelatory.
In short, the article proves to me that the decision-making is fixed. Writes Terzian: The Pulitzer Prizes are a singularly corrupt institution, administered by Columbia University and the management of the `New York Times largely for the benefit of `The New York Times and a limited number of favored publications and personalities. Any citizen who thinks that the annual distribution of awards has something to do with quality probably believes that the Oscar for Best Picture goes to the most distinguished film of the year. If youre a connoisseur of unrestrained self-praise, may I recommend the citations when the `Times awards itself the Pulitzer Gold Medal for Public Service.
He reports that once upon a time I was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Distinguished Commentary and (so I was informed) considered the jurys favorite for the honor. But because the `Washington Post had fallen short of its quota that season (so I was informed) the Pulitzer Board which makes the final decisions, moved Jim Hoagland of the `Post from the International Reporting category to Distinguished Commentary for his secondand no doubt richly deservedPulitzer Prize.
He tells the story of columnist Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, twice a winner of the Prize. In 1995 I was a Pulitzer juror for Distinguished Commentary and the `Times-appointed chairman of our five-person was the late Gerald M. Boyd, of subsequent ill-repute as Howell Rainess hatchet man at the `Times and patron of Jayson Blair, the lying reporter. The deliberative process is simple. Jurors sit together in a little room at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, reading the entries; on the final day each, in turn, suggests a couple of finalists. Lively discussion ensues, of course, and most chairmen serve as interlocutors.
To our surprise, Gerald M. Boyd took a different approach. He began by insisting that Cynthia Tucker had to be one of the finalists. My muted response, as I recall, was that Cynthia was a nice person and ubiquitous TV talking head but on the whole, comparatively young and inexperienced. Sh would no doubt win the Pulitzer Prize someday, I added, and counseled patience.
Now, Gerald M. Boyd was not the most affable fellow I had ever encountered and sicne both he and Cynthia Tucker were black, I had no desire to introduce the subject of race into the discussions where it didnt belong. Boyd was adamant on the subject of Cynthia Tucker but so were my fellow jurors who seemed offended both by Boyds arrogance and his racial ham-handedness. Since my private strategy in these sessions was devoted to thwarting the prospects of Molly Ivins, I gladly left it to my colleagues to argue with Gerald M. Boyd about Cynthia Tucker.
In the end, Terzian succeeded in maneuvering Molly Ivins out of contention but succeeded in promoting Paul Gigot of `The Wall Street Journal as a finalist as well. Butas it happens, Gerald M. Boyd finally surrendered on the Cynthia Tucker front; but in order to mollify his wounded feelings, we agreed on another black columnist, Carl T. Rowan, Boyds second choice, as a finalist. Rowan, of course, was a consummate hack, puerile stylist and longtime fixture on the Washington cocktail scene but better than Molly Ivins or Gerald M. Boyds personal dictation In due course, Boyd was fired from the `Times along with his patron Howell Raines, in 2003 for their relentless promotion of Jayson Blair and he died last November with an office at the Columbia Journalism School.
And you thought all the while that it was just fate that The Times and the Washington Post won all the awards while those columnists who are less liberal are just less expert in their journalist craft.
The Rezko Stuff is Minor.
I suppose the so-called exposition stories of Barack Obama appearing in The Sun-Times is that papers way of making up for the shameless puff pieces put out by Lynn Sweet and Jennifer Hunter, the publishers wife. Well the critiques are minor league and the paper should can it until and unless it has something more substantive.
To me the most ridiculous story of all was the one that wailed about Obama being black in Hawaii. Hawaii! The only state where there are no minorities!