Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fabricated Smear of the U.S. Military Wins The National Magazine Award for Reporting--off topic

Good grief.
Is it any wonder that no one reads the rags anymore? I saw a copy of TIME last week, it was maybe 16 pages.
There was an era when the National Magazine Award was considered the Pulitzer of the glossies.

Now it's more like the 1932 Pulitzer awarded to the NYT's Walter Duranty for his reporting of the cuddly side of Stalin in 1931. Here's part of the Times' statement on the matter:
...Some of Duranty's editors criticized his reporting as tendentious, but The Times kept him as a correspondent until 1941. Since the 1980's, the paper has been publicly acknowledging his failures. Ukrainian-American and other organizations have repeatedly called on the Pulitzer Prize Board to cancel Duranty's prize and The Times to return it, mainly on the ground of his later failure to report the famine.

The Pulitzer board has twice declined to withdraw the award, most recently in November 2003, finding "no clear and convincing evidence of deliberate deception" in the 1931 reporting that won the prize (see Pulitzer Board statement), and The Times does not have the award in its possession.
The famine that Stalin engineered killed five million people.

Here's the NMA story from AdWeek:

The National Magazine Award and Guantánamo: A Tall Tale Gets the Prize
Harper’s Magazine and Scott Horton were not supposed to win the National Magazine Award for Reporting this year. Of the five finalists in the category, there were three real contenders, and most people working in the ever-shrinking category of serious magazine journalism were sure the award would go to Rolling Stone for the article by Michael Hastings that led to the downfall of Gen. Stanley McChrystal or The New Yorker for Jane Mayer’s profile of the billionaire Koch brothers.

But Harper’s beat out the two big names, scoring a major upset with Horton’s piece about three detainees at Guantánamo Bay who died in 2006. The government said the men had hung themselves inan effort to bring on a public relations crisis that might force the U.S. to close the prison. But Horton laid out a case that they had in fact been killed—whether deliberately or inadvertently—during a torture session.
In fact, Horton’s story, which the judges for the award—administered by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) and regarded as the Pulitzer for magazines—found so compelling, was actually a well-shopped one, familiar to some of the most experienced investigative journalists in the business. These included The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh as well as teams from CBS News’ 60 Minutes and ABC News’ Brian Ross Investigative Unit that had looked into the alleged killings and the accounts provided by the men who became Horton’s key sources, and found more flight of fancy than fact. (Horton acknowledges in his story that his source had been in contact with ABC News.)

Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News’ chief Pentagon correspondent, was another of those journalists. He worked on the story off and on for four months, during which time he reviewed “thousands of pages” of documents, interviewed Horton’s main source, and “talked to at least a dozen people.”

“Ultimately I just didn’t find the story credible, quite frankly,” Miklaszewski says. “I devoted a lot of time to it, and my conclusion was that it just didn’t seem possible that that many people could have been involved in a conspiracy and to have [the killings] remain secret. It stretched all credulity, I thought.”
Hersh confirmed to Adweek that he had dug into the story and dropped it too. A New York Times reporter was also approached by the parties who’d been pushing the allegations of homicide and cover-up at Guantánamo, a person close to the situation says.

Only after the big guys passed was the story shopped to Horton. He won for reporting, but in fact the story fell right into his lap, factual flaws and all.

“We couldn’t really believe it when the piece came out,” one of the reporters who looked into the story says. “I can’t believe Harper’s, I really can’t.”...MORE
HT: Mediabistro

Look at that fat fuck.
And the cowardly idiots of ASME won't release the names of the editors who judged the entries.