Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Pulitzer update: PolitiFact fails to grow its Pulitzer Prize collection in 2020

Pulitzer Prize winners were announced and PolitiFact extended its losing streak, which dates back to 2010. PolitiFact won a 2009 Pulitzer, for work done in 2008.

Nearly every year we at PolitiFact Bias make note of PolitiFact's losing streak. Why do we do that, given that our Pulitzer losing streak is almost as long as PolitiFact's?

We do it because the 2009 Pulitzer Prize has nothing to do with accuracy, even though PolitiFact advertises itself as "Winner of the Pulitzer Prize" as though to suggest the reverse. And from time to time we even encounter people who seem to want to argue that PolitiFact's 2009 Pulitzer Prize somehow helps offer evidence of its reliability.

That's also why PolitiFact Bias emphasized former Pulitzer Prize juror James Warren's interview with incoming Pulitzer administrator Dana Canedy. Warren mentioned that when he served as a juror he was tempted to fact check the work he evaluated but the rules prevented that. Canedy suggested that policy would likely continue.

This year's list of winners helps underline that policy, as The New York Times' factually challenged 1619 Project snagged a Pulitzer Prize for project principal Nikole Hannah-Jones.

That win ought to help scuttle the notion that Pulitzer Prizes have something to do with reliably reported facts.


We suggested to PolitiFact that it should fact check the Times' 1619 Project. So far, PolitiFact does not appear interested in doing so.

Correction May 5, 2020: I (Bryan) inexplicably had the following in the first paragraph of this post: "PolitiFact won a 2009 Pulitzer, awarded in 2010." We know better, or ought to, having written about it numerous times. PolitiFact's 2009 Pulitzer was recognition for what it published in 2008. My apologies for the error, which is now fixed.

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