Quote of the day

“If bankers gave themselves prizes (‘the most reckless Third-World loan of the year’) with the same abandon as journalists, you may be sure that the public ridicule would soon force them to conduct the proceedings in secret.”

— Alexander Cockburn

From a Testy Copy Editors thread about the real reasons why awards are given out (to avoid giving pay raises, naturally).

Turns out that quote was plucked from this Jack Shafer column heaping scorn on the Pulitzers. He concludes with a zing:

One way to make the Pulitzers Page One-worthy would be to transform them into an honest annual inventory of journalism. Cockburn suggests a “record of journalistic failure” to accompany the year’s best stories. I second his idea. I’d give awards to the Worst Editorial Page, the Most Compromised Local Paper, the Most Predictable Critic, and the Most Tractable White House Reporter. Rent out Lincoln Center, trot the finalists down the red carpet, and televise the event. “Now accepting the award for Most Pliant Reporter on the Weapons of Mass Destruction Beat, Judith Miller. ?”

I would add a category for Columnist Farthest Removed from Glory Days as an Actual Reporter.

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