STEELE DOSSIER — The 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner in National Reporting

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,

And treat those two impostors just the same,

— you’ll be a Man, my son!”

If — RUDYARD KIPLING

Staff members from The New York Times and The Washington Post (from left: Maggie Haberman, Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo, Rosalind Helderman, Tom Hamburger, Ellen Nakashima, Adam Entous, Greg Miller and Mark Mazetti) accept the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting from Columbia University President Lee Bollinger. (Photo: Eileen Barroso/Columbia University)

November 21 2021 — The 2018 Pulitzer Prize [National Reporting] was awarded to the staffs of The New York Times and The Washington Post “for deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage” of the Steele Dossier! Is reality officially beyond satire? It is hard to parody people who are already a parody of themselves. Still, one is left wondering if — and when — the Post and the Times will return their 2018 Pulitzer prizes? Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

RELATED POST: Bob Woodward : “Role Of Steele Dossier In Russia Probe Needs To Be Investigated” [UPDATE — How Did So Much of the Media Get the Steele Dossier So Wrong?]

RELATED POST: Two Years Ago — Former CIA director John Brennan testifies before House Intelligence Committee (May 23 2017) [UPDATE : John Brennan Perjured Himself Over Steele Dossier]

RELATED POST: Two Years Ago — The Trump Dossier : Raw Intelligence or Clever Fabrication? — POLL [UPDATE — Chris Steele Gets Cold Feet]

RELATED POST: Bob Woodward: Trump Dossier Is a ‘Garbage Document’ — “Intelligence Chiefs Should ‘Apologize’ to Trump”

RELATED POST: Seymour Hersh: “Russia Election Hack is a CIA Hoax” [UPDATE — CIA Baer and FBI Marquise]

RELATED POST: Intel Report Suspiciously Anachronistic

“Some first rough drafts are more accurate than others, as every journalist will concede. So when reporters uncover new information that undermines earlier copy, they write new stories, updating the record. What they don’t do is go back and erase the original, flawed version. But that’s what the Washington Post did last week.”

POLITICO (Nov. 16 2021)

November 21 2021 — On Friday, CNN published a lengthy piece [The Steele dossier: A reckoning] finally admitting that “the credibility of the Steele dossier has significantly diminished.” This ought to be the understatement of the year!

“Legitimate questions are now being raised about the dossier — how it was used by Democrats as a political weapon against Trump, how it was handled by the FBI and US intelligence agencies, and how it was portrayed in the mainstream media,” Marshall Cohen wrote.

“Nearly five years later, it’s clearer than ever that he [Trump] wasn’t too far off about the origins of the dossier.”

Last week, The Washington Post took the unusual step of correcting and removing large portions of two articles, published in March 2017 and February 2019, that had identified a Belarusian American businessman as a key source of the Steele dossier.

The newspaper’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, said The Post could no longer stand by the accuracy of those elements of the story. [The Washington Post corrects, removes parts of two stories regarding the Steele dossier]

Professor Bill Grueskin just wrote an opinion piece asking a simple question: “How Did So Much of the Media Get the Steele Dossier So Wrong?” [New York Times (Nov. 15, 2021)]

A cursory examination of the Steele Dossier should have convinced any intelligent person that it was fake news.

Russian commentator, Yulia Latynina, summarizes Steele’s “source problem” for those who do not know how Putin’s Russia works:

“Christopher Steele, the humble head of a small consulting company Orbis with a dozen employees, including cleaners, has ‘sources’ everywhere: in the Kremlin…moreover, at the very top…After all, ‘sources’ of this kind in Russia… have their own palaces, yachts, private jets. It is not entirely clear why these corrupt billionaires…should reveal top-secrets to a consultant who had not visited Russia for 13 years?”

In other words, as I pointed right from the start, if that story had been true, you would never had heard about it because the source would have been one of the most protected secret of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

“Have You No Sense of Decency?” — Some people argue that the Pulitzer Prize Board should take immediate steps to strip the New York Times and The Washington Post of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.

[The Pulitzer Prizes in 2020 rescinded the New York Times nomination as a finalist for the 2019 “International Reporting” award after the Times acknowledged that “core portions” of the “Caliphate” podcast and “The ISIS Files” report turned out to be based on a hoax. In that instance, the Pulitzer Prize Board “accepted withdrawal of the entry as an appropriate resolution.”]

The New York Times and The Washington Post have a lot of explaining to do… But first, if they have left any sense of decency, they would return the Pulitzer Prizes. The sooner, the better.

And yet, I would not bet on it to happen… Walter Duranty (New York Times’s Moscow correspondent from 1922 to 1936) was rightfully described as “The greatest liar who ever lived.”

Nowadays, Duranty is regarded is the grandfather of Fake News. For his lies, Duranty was awarded the 1932 Pulitzer Prize.

RELATED POST: One Year Ago — New York Times Hiring Moscow Correspondent [UPDATE — Who got this wonderful job?]

In fairness, many organizations have repeatedly called on the Pulitzer Prize Board to cancel Duranty’s prize and The Times to return it.

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.

And the Times has yet to return the 1932 Pulitzer Prize… Despite multiple efforts, including one by Bill Keller when he was executive editor of the paper (2003-2011) — he was overruled by the owners — the Times has not returned the Pulitzer won by Duranty.

Duranty’s photograph still appears on a wall at the Times along with their many other Pulitzer winners.

“It wasn’t Danchenko who used the unverified Steele Dossier as evidence to support the secret wiretap of Carter Page. That was the FBI, whose agents knew the dossier was suspect and still used it anyway.”

Scott Shackford — Why trust an agency that conceals information from judges but prosecutes us for lying to it?

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens now says he was wrong to defend James Comey when then-President Donald Trump fired Comey as director of the FBI amid the federal investigation into alleged Russian influence on Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign.

RELATED POST: Horowitz Report — Of Sumo Wrestlers and FISA Courts

Stephens notes that the media’s handling of the Steele Dossier is itself a scandal, but he’s more focused on how FBI agents misled the overseeing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court when they filed warrant applications to wiretap Carter Page and downplayed and omitted information that might have caused the FISA judges to question or even reject the warrants.

PS — The situation in the UK is even worse… Luke Harding [The Guardian : How Trump walked into Putin’s web — The inside story of how a former British spy was hired to investigate Russia’s influence on Trump – and uncovered explosive evidence that Moscow had been cultivating Trump for years.] has yet to explain to his readers that he was dead wrong of the Steele Dossier.

Even after Joe Biden assumed the presidency, The Guardian ran, “‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy.” 

RELATED POST: Two Years Ago — NYT Apologizes For Misreporting On Skripal Incident [UPDATE — TV Series : The Salisbury Poisonings]

By the way, Luke Harding is the guy who sold you the Skripals’ fairy tale. When competent spies discover that they have been fed false information by a fabricator, they put a big “fake News” stamp on his files and all related documents. Perhaps, the time has come for MSM to follow suit.

“All of this underscores that the great scandal of 2016 wasn’t Russian collusion. It was the unleashing of America’s premier law enforcement agency against a presidential campaign based on Russian disinformation midwifed and financed by the Clinton campaign. The public is finally getting the truth about the FBI’s malfeasance, and Messrs. Barr and Durham deserve credit for exposing it.”

Wall Street Journal (September 26 2020)

REFERENCES

The 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner in National Reporting — Official web-page

Why Was The Steele Dossier Not Dismissed As A Fake? by Paul R. Gregory

Don’t Worship an FBI That Took the Steele Dossier Seriously by SCOTT SHACKFORD

Trump Lawyer Sends Demand Letter Threatening to Sue Pulitzer Prize Board if They Refuse to Rescind 2018 WaPo and NYT Awards for Russiagate Reporting — Law & crime

How Trump walked into Putin’s web — The Guardian [The inside story of how a former British spy was hired to investigate Russia’s influence on Trump – and uncovered explosive evidence that Moscow had been cultivating Trump for years. By Luke Harding]

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STEELE DOSSIER — The 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner in National Reporting

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