Disclaimer: This article may contain the personal views and opinions of the author.
Former President Donald Trump threatened the Pulitzer Prize Board with a defamation lawsuit over the 2018 National Reporting prize awarded to the New York Times and Washington Post for their coverage of the now-debunked Russian collusion scandal.
Trump followed through on that threat this week. The former president filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in Okeechobee County, Florida.
The suit claims that the “demonstrably false connection was and remains the stated basis” for the papers’ award-winning coverage, according to Fox News.
The two newspapers were rewarded for lying to the American public. Many still believe that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia though the Mueller probe failed to find any evidence of collusion.
Additionally, the Department of Justice’s report concluded that wrongdoing among the feds who were investigating the alleged Russian collusion proved that the reporting was not award-winning.
The lawsuit says: “While elements at both the Times and the Post were almost certainly complicit in the Russia Collusion Hoax, is ultimately immaterial whether the authors of the Awarded Articles understood at the time they were propagating political disinformation manufactured by paid sources in an attempt mislead the public and tarnish President Trump’s reputation and political prospects.
“What matters instead is the Defendants’ conduct, particularly when many of the key assertions and premises of the Russia Collusion Hoax that permeated the Awarded Articles had been revealed by the Mueller Report and congressional investigations as false after the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting had been awarded.
“The Pulitzer Statement was knowingly published by Defendants to create a false implication in the mind of the reader that ‘the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration’ was connected with Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Defendants did so with actual malice and the intention to harm President Trump and his reputation.
“In either case, Defendants published the Pulitzer Statement with actual malice.
“Plaintiff has been damaged by the publication of the Pulitzer Statement because it is intended to leave the reader with the false impression that President Trump colluded with a hostile foreign government to undermine a United States presidential election, and is further intended to stoke feelings of hatred, distrust, and discouragement in the reader toward Plaintiff,” the suit says.
The Pulitzer board rejected Trump’s request that the awards be rescinded. He called for a correction, apology, or retraction of the Russian collusion stories.
Two independent reviews of the reporting were conducted following several inquiries from parties other than Trump.
The board reported that the two reviews came to the same conclusion.
“The separate reviews converged in their conclusions: that no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes.”
The amount in damages that Trump is requesting will be proven at trial.
In a world where up is down and men are women, it’s only fitting that two of the country’s largest publications would receive an award for reporting on a story that was proven false.