By Les Kinsolving, WorldNetDaily Exclusive Commentary
WorldNetDaily.com, 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
---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
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
"'OTHER WRITERS IN THE TIMES AND ELSEWHERE HAVE
DISCREDITED THIS COVERAGE'
"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
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
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
"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
"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
"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 www.wcbm.com 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.
FOR PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC USE ONLY