If there was any real justice left in the world today, Ron Radosh would have a similar award named after himself, for mendacious scholarship and plain old mean-spiritedness.
Of Throw-Downs, Take-Downs and Duranty Prizes
1933 article by Gareth Jones, the Ukraine Terror Famine truth-teller who was thrown down” not only by Walter Duranty but by a conspiracy of his journalist-peers.
PJ Media and The New Criterion recently teamed up to bestow the 2013 Walter Duranty Prize for mendacious journalism. Presenters once again included Roger Simon, Roger Kimball, Claudia Rosett … and Ronald Radosh.
How could they? Seriously, the only word for this is cruel. How could SImon and KImball and Rosett not have been the least bit aware of the ordeal they were undoubtedly subjecting Radosh to? Have they no feelngs? You’ve heard the old adage, Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. That’s nothing. How about Always a presenter, and never a recipient? In short, this Duranty Prize dinner, soigne, chi-chi, and officiated over by the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto, was nothing less than a crime. Radosh, as so many readers well know, is the author of last year’s“McCarthy on Steroids,” which, tipping the scales at 7,000 words, includes more lies, distortions, smears and fabrications than the entries of all of the official prize-wnners put together. In plain Brooklynese: Radosh wuz robbed. The question is not only, Is there no justice? It is also, Have his peers no judgment?
Apparently not. Watch the videos of the event, and you can see it on their faces — heartless insensitivity to the suffering, the pain of their peer. Grinning, preening, dropping bon mots a la mode, they stand oblivious to this heir to Duranty beside them. But shoulder to shoulder, he carries on, gamely, bravely — just as if he had never written “McCarthy on Steroids” and many other worthy entries such as “Why I Wrote a Take-Down of Diana West’s Awful Book.” We know, though, even if they don’t, which is something. For shame. “Have they left no sense of decency?” No recognition, no peace.
Rather than dwell on the sordidness of journalism today, I would like to harken back to the sordidness of journalism yesterday — to the time of Walter Duranty, the lying, fabricating NYT Pulitzer Prize winner best known for failing on purpose to report the state-engineered Ukraine terror famine by which Stalin killed some five or six or more million people by starving them to death, now immortalized in this rather dubious annual dinner in Manhattan.
Duranty’s perfidy is also covered in American Betrayal, but it’s worth noting that this perfidy was not Duranty’s alone. He had journalist-peers who put out similar lies, and who cooperated in a scheme to suppress the truth about the famine as told by one remarkable truth-teller, Gareth Jones.
This is a story that reeks morally, but it is important to come to grips with it for what it tells us about the way media work in the modern age — the modern age that began in the 1930s with the election of FDR: Ideology and/or expedience over all. Maybe it all began one spring night in 1993 in a Moscow hotel room in an incident we only know of because it is recorded in a chapter in Assignment in Utopia, the memoir of the ex-Socialist journalist Eugene Lyons, another truth-teller. The chapter is called: “The Press Corps Conceals a Famine.”
From American Betrayal, pp. 101-103:
By 1936, after civil war broke out in Spain, George Orwell could sense a sea change in the writing of history, of news, of information, of the handling of what he called “neutral fact,” which heretofore all sides had accepted. “What is peculiar to our age,” he wrote, “is the abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written.” Or even that it should be, I would add. For example, he wrote, in the Encyclopedia Britannica’s entry on World War I, not even twenty years past, “a respectable amount of material is drawn from German sources.” This reflected a common understanding—assumption—that “the facts” existed and were ascertainable. As Orwell personally witnessed in Spain, this notion that there existed “a considerable body of fact that would have been agreed to by almost everyone” had disappeared. “I remember saying once to Arthur Koestler, ‘History ended in 1936,’ at which he nodded in immediate understanding. We were both thinking of totalitarianism generally, but more specifically of the Spanish Civil War.” He continued, “I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed . . . I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened.”