My record on predictions is poor. For example, I thought the Red Sox would make it to the World Series last year. But my article about the Associated Press in the issue of WORLD that went to press two weeks ago noted that AP had officially changed from just-the-facts-ma'am reporting to what its senior managing editor, Michael Oreskes, called "The New Distinctiveness," and that the result one of these years would be a Pulitzer Prize.
Pulitzers, you see, are now highly politicized. Yes, a skilled reporter or photographer in the right place and the right time can still win one for spot news reporting of murders or fires, but the awards for investigative reporting or opinion writing generally go to those who have produced politically correct investigations or opinions. Oreskes sent a memo to 3,000 AP staffers denigrating the traditional breaking-news job of the AP and yearning for articles "more thoughtful or more innovative … journalism with voice, with context, with more interpretation."
Let me put that plea in context: Oreskes wants AP to become like The New York Times. The Times makes its readers feel good by constructing an alternative reality for them. Progressives are smart and good. Conservatives are stupid, crazy, or evil. The Times attracts talented writers but, for the most part, conformist thinkers who do public relations for liberal establishment leaders and organizations. I read it to admire its fiction and learn its take on social friction.
The Times wins lots of Pulitzer Prizes handed out by judges who themselves tend to live in an alternative reality. And now, faster even than I predicted, the AP has received its first payoff. Pulitzer judges on Monday complimented "The New Distinctiveness" by awarding AP a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism.
The winning AP series was right out of the liberal playbook: The counter-terrorism unit of the New York Police Department has been doing ethnic profiling by paying special attention to Middle Eastern Muslims who could be hatchers of terrorist plots. Yes, the counter-terrorism unit clearly stopped a subway-bombing plot and may have stopped other murders, but the AP series implied that it was unfair by being more suspicious about people from the Middle East than the Middle West, and more suspicious about Muslims than Methodists.
Liberals applauded. Others wondered: What kind of world do Pulitzer judges, and now AP leaders, think we live in?