On Sunday night's Life, Liberty, & Levin, Mark Levin took an hour to underline the very checkered history of The New York Times and how its reporters served as misinformation spigots for the Nazis, the Soviets, Fidel Castro, and so on. The invasion of Ukraine is nudging old Times veterans to regret their terrible history in covering up Stalin's forced famine in Ukraine. Check out Levin recounting the evil career of Walter Duranty, who won a Pulitzer Prize that the Times hasn't given back.
Pulling from his best-seller Unfreedom of the Press, Levin underlined that Duranty wrote news columns for The Times in 1932 and 1993 "not only denying the fact that the catastrophic famine taking place in the Ukraine, but censoring Stalin's role in the genocide of multiple millions of Ukrainians."
LEVIN: Journalist and scholar Arnold Beichman explained that "The Times' top brass suspected Duranty was writing Stalinist propaganda but did nothing." In her book, Taylor makes it clear that Carr Van Anda, the managing editor; Frederick T. Birchall, an assistant managing editor; and Edwin L. James, the later managing editor were troubled by Duranty's Moscow reporting, but did nothing about it.
"Birchall recommended that Duranty be replaced," says Taylor. The recommendation fell by the wayside. The Times' longtime Russia correspondent was unquestionably a longtime favorite mouthpiece for the brutal Soviet regime, about what he wrote in the pages of the Times for a dozen years, and for which he was rewarded by Stalin.
It's noted that in Moscow, Duranty was known as the Dean of Foreign Correspondents and was renowned for his lavish hospitality. In an austere city, he enjoyed generous living quarters and food rations, as well as the use of assistants, a chauffeur, a cook, secretary mistress named Katya, who bought him a son named Michael.
Duranty, who had a wooden left leg caused by a train accident, was driven through the streets in a giant Buick outfitted with a Klaxon horn used by the Soviet Secret Police. His competitors gossiped that these perks were allowed because of his cozy relationship with the Soviet government."
Eugene Lyons, United Press correspondent even suspected Duranty might be on the Soviet payroll, but no evidence of that seems to exist. Still many then and later wondered if the status Duranty enjoyed in Moscow led him to curtail his coverage of the Soviets.
Malcolm Muggeridge (remember that hero who went to Ukraine and reported on what was taking place) would later called Duranty, quote, "the greatest liar of any journalist I have met in 50 years of journalism." Joseph Alsop, would tag him "a fashionable prostitute in the service of communists."
Levin concluded: "Twelve years, the Moscow correspondent for The New York Times lying to the American people." Levin concluded the show: "The free press in America, except for a few bright spots, is dead. It is dead mostly because of The New York Times and The Washington Post.
On Monday's Morning Edition, NPR media reporter David Folkenflik suddenly arrived on the cause of Duranty as an evil force in journalism. The headline online was " The New York Times' can't shake the cloud over a 90-year-old Pulitzer Prize." Well, they've been denying that cloud for 90 years. Folkenflik found:
"He is the personification of evil in journalism," says Oksana Piaseckyj, a Ukrainian-American activist who came to the U.S. as a child refugee in 1950. She is among the advocates for the return of the award. "We think he was like the originator of fake news."
Former Times executive editor Bill Keller told NPR he's now in favor of returning the Pulitzer. Incoming executive editor Joe Kahn said Duranty "doesn't come close to meeting the Times' standards."
The Pulitzer Board pretty much refuses to revoke a prize -- although they did in 1981 after Janet Cooke confessed to her Washington Post bosses that she fabricated her prize-winning story of an eight-year-old cocaine addict. The smirk begins when Anne Applebaum, who wrote a book called Red Famine, won't take a position on returning the Pulitzer.
Anne Applebaum joined the Pulitzer board this spring. She remains withering on Duranty. But she says she's reserving judgment, at least for now, on the question of whether his award should be taken back. It can be fraught, she says, to start reassessing past judgments through the lens of the present.
Isn't that what the liberals have done to every historical figure who lands on the wrong side of the Left?