Heather Horn at The Atlantic with a round-up
The madness is at an end. No longer will the American commentariat need to contemplate the possibility that the National Enquirer would win a Pulitzer Prize for revealing an extra-marital affair carried out by John Edwards. Edwards, a one-term senator who inertiaed his way into a vice presidential nomination in 2004 and then worked in 2007-08 as one of the numerous men standing on stage between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, was hardly a newsworthy character, yet the Enquirer saw fit to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars stalking him and his mistress. Of course, this is the same tabloid that ignored the Jonestown story when they had it, so it goes to show how good their news judgment ever was.
So, lest we get lost on what the Pulitzer Committee didn’t pick, it’s important to look at what they did select: a whole lot of local news.
If the Academy is making a statement about the film business when it votes for the Oscars every year, the Pulitzer Committee must be doing the same thing when it hands out the medals every year. And while previous years have shown a focus on the big picture issues affecting our republic writ large, many of the reporters honored for the 2010 prizes wrote stories that placed a big emphasis on the local impact.
Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner:
Congratulations to my friend Kathleen Parker on her Pulitzer.
I know many readers here frequently disagree with her. I do too! I know she has been unfair to conservatives at times. But she has also been open to us. She has a perch at the Washington Post that she has undeniably used to highlight issues and views that wouldn’t otherwise get attention there. Her book, Save the Males, was an example of her talent — a talent that frequently comes through in her Washington Post column. I don’t have to agree with her all (or even most) of the time to appreciate a good bit of her work.
Jessica Valenti at Feministing:
Kathleen Parker, who thinks young women hooking up on college campuses are creating a “mental health crisis” and that women in the military should expect to be raped (because “men resent women because they’ve been forced to pretend that women are equals”) has won a Pulitzer prize for commentary. I think I need a drink.
Matt Welch at Reason:
Conservative-ish columnist-turned conservative-basher Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post is now King of the World, at least for the next year. Which once again proves the axioms that A) noisily changing teams is almost always good short-term career advice in the commentariat, especially if B) you change from Team Red to Team Blue (or at least from Team Red to criticizing Team Red), and if C) that change just so happens to coincide with a shift in the overall political zietgeist. As or more imporantly, however, there’s D): turncoats are often at their most interesting and energetic early on during the Change. Think Arianna Huffington when she was a Shadow Conventioneer, Christopher Hitchens when he was throwing dog poop on the shoes of The Nation, Gary Wills when he turned decisively against Nixon and the National Review.
I’ve got no stake in the matter, but four cheers to the Washington Post for winning four Pulitzer Prizes. It’s a needed shot in the arm for a publication that has lost considerable respect inside the Beltway over the past several years, as top correspondents have fled to other papers and as the editorial brain-trust allowed the paper’s influential status as Washington’s pace-setter to attenuate. For Washington to function properly, we need a functioning, competitive top-flight newspaper. The Washington Times is not that newspaper, and POLITICO plays an entirely different role — it sets metabolic speed and gives us the carbs. The Post ought to provide us with nourishment — the protein. Sad to say it, but the New York Times has been the legacy source for authoritative Washington coverage in recent years. (That’s not sad for the Times, of course.) Here’s hoping that the Pulitzer wins catalyze the paper’s talented staff. Signs that the Post has gotten the message abound: they’re hiring intellectually honest blogger-reporters like Ezra Klein and David Weigel to occupy the increasingly ambiguous space between news and opinion journalism.
I was so delighted to read that three of my former editorial board member colleagues at the Dallas Morning News — Colleen McCain Nelson, Bill McKenzie and Tod Robberson — today won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. The project they won for was an ongoing series of editorials about the persistence of poverty in southern Dallas. It was and is a real labor of love, especially for Sharon Grigsby, the deputy editorial page editor and the heart and soul of the project. Colleen, Bill and Tod will get the prize, deservedly, but both Sharon and editorial page editor Keven Willey deserve honor too. I’m only sorry I can’t be there to buy them all Champagne. Three cheers to you, gang!