Columbia University announced Thursday that Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson will join the Pulitzer Board, which gives out the renowned journalism awards each year.
Robinson, who won a Pulitzer for his coverage of the 2008 presidential race, will strengthen the leftist complexion of the board, which already has a meager presence of conservative minds. In fact, Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot seems to be the only "openly" conservative member of the board.
Here is the full list of current board members, as listed on the Pulitzer website:
Allen, Danielle, UPS Foundation Professor, School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
Amoss, Jim, editor, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, LA
Beck, Randell, president and publisher, Argus Leader Media, Sioux Falls, SD
Bennett, Amanda, executive editor/projects and investigations, Bloomberg News
Bollinger, Lee C., president, Columbia University, New York, NY
Carroll, Kathleen, executive editor and senior vice president, Associated Press
Dehli, Joyce, vice president for news, Lee Enterprises
Friedman, Thomas L., columnist, The New York Times, New York, NY
Gigot, Paul, editorial page editor, The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY
Gissler, Sig, administrator, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, New York, NY
Gyllenhaal, Anders, executive editor, The Miami Herald, Miami, FL
Kennedy, David M., Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Lemann, Nicholas, dean, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, New York, NY
Lipinski, Ann Marie, vice president for civic engagement, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Moore, Gregory L., editor, The Denver Post, Denver, CO
Tash, Paul C. , chairman and CEO, St. Petersburg Times
VandeHei, Jim, executive editor and co-founder, Politico
Willey, Keven Ann, vice president/editorial page editor, The Dallas Morning News
Even giving many of these board members the benefit of the doubt, the body is decidedly center-left.
Keven Ann Willey actually claimed that the Dallas Morning News makes sure to split its opinion pages 50-50 on political matters. Most newspapers don't do that, but again, let's give them the benefit of the doubt here and write off all senior editing and corporate news staff on the board as dead-center.
The only members for whom I could find political donation numbers gave exclusively to Democrats. Danielle Allen gave $4,450 to Obama, according to this handy Huffington Post tool. David Kennedy gave $3,550 to Obama, $1,000 to Hillary Clinton, and $400 to Rep. David Wu, D-Ore.
[Correction: This post incorrectly attributed a $500 donation by W. James Amoss III to Times-Picayune editor W. James Amoss Jr. NewsBusters regrets the error.]
We're left with Bollinger, Friedman, Gigot, Gissler, and Lemann.
Friedman's doctrinaire leftism almost goes without saying. If you're skeptical, go here.
Bollinger, Gissler, and Lemann are all Columbia University brass. Bollinger, the president, has been a leading voice for federally-funded journalism, a cause celebre of the far-left. And the Columbia School of Journalism consistently churns out left-wing content in the Columbia Journalism Review, and often comes under fire for its leftist curriculum. I could probably devote a number of posts extrapolating these facts, but none of them are really in dispute.
And that leaves us with Paul Gigot. He is clearly a conservative - the only one on the board.
In short, when Robinson joins the board, he will strengthen its leftward leanings, but the body has leaned to the left for some time. That fact is also reflected in the awarding of Pulitzers.
In awarding Robinson the prize for Commentary last year, the Pulitzer board lauded his "eloquent columns on the 2008 presidential campaign that focus on the election of the first African-American president, showcasing graceful writing and grasp of the larger historic picture."
A look at the other recipients of the commentary award over the decade prior suggests a distinct ideological trend, with only token deviation:
Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post,
Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times,
Connie Schultz of the Cleveland Plain Dealer,
Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald,
Colbert King of the Washington Post,
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times,
Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal,
Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal, and
Maureen Dowd of the New York Times.
The 2010 Commentary award went to Kathleen "I’ve never actually declared myself a conservative" Parker.
Don't expect Robinson's arrival to shift recipients' generic ideological makeup.