The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


By Les Kinsolving, WorldNetDaily Exclusive Commentary, Grants Pass, Oregon
Saturday, November 15, 2003

The New York Times - which has one of this nation's largest staff of reporters - was invited to cover an international conference at Columbia University on Nov. 10, but they never showed up.

---Even though it was sponsored by Columbia's Harriman Institute and the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations and the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, among others - the Times ignored this conference.

---Even though the New York Times' Moscow correspondent and 1931 Pulitzer Prize winner, Walter Duranty, was the subject of discussion - because he denied the man-made Great Famine in Ukraine of 1932 (or The Holodomor) in which Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's Red Army starved to death between 5 and 10 million Ukrainian men, women and children. The Times refused to cover.

---Even though Columbia University's Pulitzer Prize board is meeting on November 21 to reconsider the possible revocation of reporter Duranty's 1931 Pulitzer - the Times sent nobody to cover.

Chairman of this international conference was Columbia's history professor Dr. Mark von Hagen - whom New York Times publisher Arthur ("Pinch") Sulzberger Jr. commissioned to investigate the case of Times reporter Walter Duranty. But neither Sulzberger nor anyone else from the Times appeared or reported.

I asked three questions at the conference, all of which, to my surprise, evoked loud applause. One of them was:

"Mr. Chairman: I think I should admit up front that I am a shareholder of the New York Times Company (laughter) and a broadcaster, columnist and White House correspondent. At a Times shareholders meeting, I protested the Times honoring of their reporter Walter Duranty, 'Stalin's Apologist,' on their Pulitzer Prize wall of fame. The Times subsequently attached a notation on his photograph:


"And my question: Since New York Times advertising continues to brag about their number of Pulitzer Prizes - including Duranty's - I would ask: What could be more important as a specific goal of this conference than calling on the New York Times to immediately repudiate Duranty's Pulitzer - as the Washington Post repudiated Janet Cooke's Pulitzer Prize for her monumental lying?"

That did not come to a vote, although, after the applause, Dr. James Mace declared: "I'm a reader of Les Kinsolving, and I get more out of that than he gets out of his Times shares."

The Columbia Journalism Review reports that both New York Times Publisher Arthur ("Pinch") Sulzberger and members of the Pulitzer Prize board have been "inundated with letters, postcards, faxes, e-mail and phone calls demanding that Walter Duranty's prize be returned or revoked. The campaign has left some of its targets mystified."

"'The whole thing is just odd,' says Andrew Barnes, chairman and chief executive officer of the St. Petersburg Times who has served on the Pulitzer board for seven years."

And I say: Much, much more odd - and outrageous - is that any newspaper official and Pulitzer Prize board member would deem it "odd" that tens of thousands of American citizens have protested the honoring of a Ukrainian-holocaust denier. Do the subscribers and advertisers in the St. Petersburg Times see nothing wrong with acceptance and honoring holocaust denial?

The Journalism Review went on to report:

"Michael Sawkiw, president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, is adamant that Duranty and the Times were co-conspirators in what he calls the Ukrainian 'famine-genocide.' Well-groomed and affable, Sawkiw nonetheless exuded intensity when he spoke of his determination to see Duranty stripped of his honor.

"'It's a cop-out just to say "others dispute" Duranty's reporting,' Sawkiw said with just a hint of a Ukrainian accent. 'That doesn't get the Times off the hook!' Other Ukrainian activists were even more blunt: 'Duranty and the Times have blood on their hands, and the only way they can wash it off is to return that prize and apologize for what they did,' says Peter Borisow, whose parents survived the famine.

"Both Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and his father, Arthur Sulzberger Sr., the previous publisher, declined to be interviewed for this article, but a Times spokesman, Toby Usnik, did e-mail a statement, saying, in part, that the Times has 'reported often and thoroughly on the defects in Duranty's journalism, as viewed through the lens of later events.' Among the Times' reports on Duranty's failings was a 1990 editorial that chided him for his 'indifference to the catastrophic famine ... when millions perished in the Ukraine.'

"Max Frankel, who was the executive editor when that editorial ran, recalls consulting with the senior Sulzberger, then the publisher, on returning Duranty's prize, but says the feeling was 'it was history and what was done can't be undone, but if the evidence was he didn't deserve the prize, or was wrong with his coverage, we'd give it back.' In the end, Frankel says, the decision was made to put the disclaimer on Duranty's portrait in the Pulitzer gallery and leave it at that. In its statement, the Times seems to put the onus for revoking the prize on the Pulitzer board, noting that it has reviewed the Duranty award in the past and taken no action.

"In April the board voted to consider the question again, forming a special committee to investigate, a step it hasn't taken in the past. Gissler, who became administrator of the prizes in 2002, says the committee was not formed in response to the letter-writing campaign, which he says didn't start in earnest until around May of this year, but because the board views the allegations against Duranty as serious enough to merit an in-depth inquiry. The special committee is scheduled to make a report to the full board at its November meeting. Gissler declined to make [the committee's preliminary findings] available, nor would he comment on the substance of the controversy.

"Most of the 22 other present and past board members . were similarly mum, including William Safire, the Times columnist who currently co-chairs the Pulitzer board, and Richard Oppel, the editor of the Austin American-Statesman, who heads the special investigative committee. Rena Pederson, editor at large of The Dallas Morning News, who co-chairs the Pulitzer board with Safire, would say only that the Duranty controversy is 'a serious issue that we are looking at in the most thoughtful way possible.' Nicholas Lemann, who joined the board in September as a nonvoting member by virtue of his new position as dean of Columbia's journalism school, said he has definite views about the Duranty matter, but couldn't comment because the board, in its private deliberations, might ask for his opinion.

"Not everyone was reticent. Barnes of the St. Petersburg Times said he feels strongly that reopening the Duranty case is a bad idea. 'There have been many prizes during my tenure where you could look back and ask "Is that the best we could do?"' says Barnes. 'I can't imagine what good this will do.'

"'It's an extraordinarily difficult thing to recreate the historical and intellectual context in which many of the Pulitzer jurors were working,' says David Klatell."

Why is it extraordinarily difficult to recreate what the excellent book "Stalin's Apologist" so excellently recreated?

What the real difficulty for the Pulitzer board members really seems to be is their outrageous reluctance to embarrass the mighty New York Times for its 70-year cover-up of a Times liar named Walter Duranty.

Les Kinsolving hosts a daily talk show for WCBM in Baltimore. His radio commentaries are syndicated nationally. He is White House correspondent for Talk Radio Network and WorldNetDaily. His show can be heard on the Internet at  8-10 p.m. Eastern each weekday. Before going into broadcasting, Kinsolving was a newspaper reporter and columnist - twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his commentary.