WaPo and Guardian win Pulitzers for NSA Coverage

The Guardian US and The Washington Post were both awarded a Pulitzer Prize today in the “Public Service” category for their NSA coverage. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger!

In other news, Walmart continues to be the biggest welfare queen in history, according to Americans for Tax Fairness. Their summary chart:

walmart_welfare

Thoughts?






80 replies
  1. 1

    Congrats to both. More of letting the reporting speak for itself, please.

  2. 2
    Jane2 says:

    Congrats to both newspapers.

  3. 3
    Keith G says:

    Those stories weren’t news. We all knew all along what they were up to. Just a bunch of white privileged glibertarian nonsense if ya ask me.

    Why, I heard that this Pulitzer person was a white male – that just proves it.

  4. 4
    Zifnab25 says:

    Have you considered that maybe the Waltons earned it? They’ve been such excellent job creators.

  5. 5
    Jamey says:

    Thoughts?

    Kill the motherfucking Waltons.

  6. 6
    Chris says:

    Clearly, the answer is to abolish welfare so that responsible taxpayers won’t have to subsidize lazy moochers. Then they’ll find it in them to be responsible and frugal.
    /wingnut

    Alternatively,

    The existence of these welfare programs is what allows people like the Waltons to pay their employees less, since they’re expecting the feds to pick up the slack. So in any case, we should get rid of welfare.
    /wingnut

  7. 7
    Peter says:

    That last line is probably the most important one. It is amazing that Republicans are constantly trying to cut SNAP when the food stamp benefit is, in effect, a direct transfer of federal dollars to large food retailers such as Walmart, retailers who can probably be assumed to be staunch Republican supporters.

  8. 8
    LanceThruster says:

    [sharpening pitchfork tines and soaking torch rags]

  9. 9
    Linnaeus says:

    @Chris:

    You beat me to it. The arguments you’ve summarized are, more or less, what actual conservatarians have said to me in a few different discussions along with a side comment of “you liberals supported the program that allows Wal-Mart to do that!”

  10. 10
    Cacti says:

    @Keith G:

    George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Friedman, and Maureen Dowd have also won Pulitzer Prizes.

  11. 11
    Chris says:

    @Peter:

    If you point that out to them, that’s when they’ll break out their “but we’re not selfish like Democrats, we’re patriotic and we care about the country, and we don’t want the budget broken by subsidizing WalMart.”

  12. 12
    BGinCHI says:

    Question: Do you know how Free Market Capitalism works?

    Answer: Yes, the Federal Government creates the context in which it can thrive and without which it would fail.

    Consequences: Capitalists co-opt government so that it privileges corporations and corporate capitalists, while simultaneously howling that government is what ruins the market.

  13. 13
    Roger Moore says:

    @Jamey:

    Kill the motherfucking Waltons.

    Can we just take all their money and force them to work minimum wage jobs for the rest of their lives? It seems more like poetic justice.

  14. 14
    Chris says:

    @Linnaeus:

    Right.

    Except what we supported wasn’t that, it was welfare PLUS unions, regulations, and taxes on the rich which are something more than the lowest in the developed world (the latter three of which have been gutted completely).

    But of course if you get into that, you’re begging for an earful of crap about job-killing regulations, Detroit and how we’re all going to look like EuroSoviet Union, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

  15. 15
    Roger Moore says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Do you know how Free Market Capitalism works?

    Free Market and Capitalism are separate ideas. The Free Market is about how prices are set, while Capitalism is about who owns the means of production. It’s quite possible, even common, to have Capitalism with a substantially unfree market, i.e. Crony or Rentier Capitalism. Similarly, it’s possible to have a Free Market while the means of production are owned by the government or the workers directly.

  16. 16
    geg6 says:

    @Cacti:

    Exactly. If a Pulitzer meant anything ever, it doesn’t any more.

  17. 17
    BGinCHI says:

    @Roger Moore: Thanks for the lecture. I meant the kind of capitalism that idiots on the right plus glibs think about when they talk about it.

  18. 18
    BGinCHI says:

    @geg6: The Mustache of Understanding won a Pulitzer.

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    This is going to be taken as anti-Greenwald, but that’s not my intent. What’s the criteria for winning this award? It seems strange because all of these reporters were handed the documents that they reported on.

    Anyway, don’t really care. Congrats to the winners.

  20. 20
    Captain C says:

    @Roger Moore: Preferably at their own stores, in the most remote locations, under their most obnoxious supervisors.

  21. 21
    Cacti says:

    O/T but quick show of hands for anyone who is surprised by this…

    Overland Park, KS shooter Frazier Glenn Miller described himself as an admirer of Ron Paul during a 2010 radio interview.

  22. 22
    ET says:

    Neither of which would have gotten awards if it wasn’t for Snowden (I’m looking at you WaPo).

  23. 23
    askew says:

    That’s a shame about The Guardian getting the Pulitzer. There was a lot of stuff in their NSA/Snowden articles that just weren’t accurate. They shouldn’t be rewarding piss-poor journalism just to make a point.

  24. 24
    Cassidy says:

    @Cacti: I’m still waiting for Mix’s post recognizing his little rant from a couple days ago was based on unnamed, unconfirmed sources, but had to be true because NSA and reasons.

  25. 25
    Cacti says:

    @geg6:

    Exactly. If a Pulitzer meant anything ever, it doesn’t any more.

    Maureen Dowd’s award for commentary, specifically cited:

    “For her fresh and insightful columns on the impact of President Clinton’s affair with Monic Lewinsky.”

    Pulitzer gave her an award for a year of writing about Clinton’s junk.

  26. 26
    BGinCHI says:

    @Cacti: Takes one to know one? Elective affinities?

  27. 27
    Baud says:

    @Cassidy:

    Even people on Reddit were skeptical of that article. That’s saying something.

  28. 28
    Cacti says:

    @Cassidy:

    I’m still waiting for Mix’s post recognizing his little rant from a couple days ago was based on unnamed, unconfirmed sources, but had to be true because NSA and reasons.

    He’d already jumped the shark before that.

    His earlier post on “how dare the NSA gather intel on Chinese corporations” was his magnum opus of brogressive dorkery.

  29. 29
    Roger Moore says:

    @BGinCHI:
    I think it’s actually an important point. People treat Free Market and Capitalism as if they’re the same concept, but in practice they’re not simply separate but actually opposing ones. When try to have “Free Market Capitalism”, you’re a lot more likely to wind up with the latter than the former.

  30. 30
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Chris:

    The existence of these welfare programs is what allows people like the Waltons to pay their employees less, since they’re expecting the feds to pick up the slack. So in any case, we should get rid of welfare.

    The existence of these programs enables recipients to buy Walmart products, so Walmart would have a big corporate sad if said corporate welfare (“job creator incentives”?) went away. [edit also what Peter @ 7 said.]

  31. 31
    Cassidy says:

    @BGinCHI: A group of people with a page about rating their junk has more credibility than Mix. I’m not surprised. Says a lot about his cheerleaders.

  32. 32
    Mandalay says:

    I’d just like to commend Reuters for their stellar reporting on the plight of Muslims in Myanmar, and their reporting on Myanmar in general. They really deserve their Pulitzer.

    Here’s a link to their recent reporting on Myanmar.

  33. 33
    BGinCHI says:

    @Roger Moore: I think it’s an important point too. That’s what my original post was about.

    There is no such thing as a Free Market.

  34. 34
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Jamey: My thought as well. Slowly, with care to make the process most horrifying and/or painful. That’s not a nice thought, but I’ll own it.

    @Roger Moore: Also a great idea. I’m torn, but leaning toward your proposal. Paying them just enough to be ineligible for assistance, of course.

  35. 35
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Baud: That’s a good question, and I’m not 100% sure, but I know there is a panel that reviews the nominees and determines the winner. It’s comprised of peers — working journalists and editors, though I saw someone from Politico in there, so there’s that.

    Those who are saying the Pulitzer is devalued because glib jackasses like Maureen Dowd have won a prize have a point. But on the other hand, it should theoretically be easier to quantify a contribution in the “public service” category than it is to gauge the pithiness of Dowd’s tired reenactment of her Catholic school girl hangups on the issues of the day.

    Did the NSA reporting have a significant impact? Arguably, yes — a debate that was taking place in obscurity if at all finally got some attention, and the Obama admin proposed reforms that could change things for the better if they’re ever enacted.

  36. 36
    Baud says:

    @Cassidy:

    What gets me about the whole NSA reporting thing is how much fighting there is about the facts when we have access to the documents on which all the stories were based. A sociologist can earn a PhD studying this crap.

  37. 37
    Mandalay says:

    @Cacti:

    His earlier post on “how dare the NSA gather intel on Chinese corporations” was his magnum opus of brogressive dorkery.

    And don’t forget his hate rants on the failings of Pope Francis when he’d had the job for about 15 minutes.

  38. 38
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Peter:

    That last line is probably the most important one. It is amazing that Republicans are constantly trying to cut SNAP when the food stamp benefit is, in effect, a direct transfer of federal dollars to large food retailers such as Walmart, retailers who can probably be assumed to be staunch Republican supporters.

    Actually, that’s the only line I’ve got a problem with, for two reasons:

    1) Grocery sales are a very low-markup business – maybe 1-2%, and given Wal-Mart really *does* sell for less for the most part, it’s probably near the low end of that. So that $13.5 billion in revenues becomes $135 million in profit – not trival, but not on the same order of magnitude as some of the other items.

    2) If Wal-Mart wasn’t getting that money, then some other grocery chain would be. I’m not sure why I should care if it goes to Wal-Mart instead of Food Lion.

    The rest of the table speaks for itself.

    The Waltons: America’s biggest moochers and takers.

  39. 39
    Roger Moore says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Paying them just enough to be ineligible for assistance, of course.

    I’d rather allow them to be eligible for assistance, but require them to do all kinds of demeaning things in order to get it.

  40. 40
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Did the NSA reporting have a significant impact? Arguably, yes — a debate that was taking place in obscurity if at all finally got some attention, and the Obama admin proposed reforms that could change things for the better if they’re ever enacted.

    I agree. People can debate whether it should have been a big story or the reasons why it was, but there is no denying that it was a big story over the last year.

  41. 41
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    What the Waltons really need is a bunch of tax cuts. Oh, and for the envious proles to stop saying such mean things about their jerb-creatin’ superiors.

    Seriously, though, in a rational world, this would be a very easy winning argument for liberals. Just lay out the facts about Wal-Mart workers on public assistance and the mind-boggling (and unearned) wealth of the Waltons, then point out that conservatives see the problem being those damn mooching Wal-Mart workers and that those same conservatives will fight to the death to get a better deal for the Waltons, fuck the workers.

    Sadly, that requires a rational world.

  42. 42
    Emma says:

    @Mandalay: They actually won? Outstanding!

  43. 43
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Can we just take all their money and force them to work minimum wage jobs for the rest of their lives? It seems more like poetic justice.

    I’d be all for it.

    Them, and everyone else in the top 0.1% too.

    I’d rather allow them to be eligible for assistance, but require them to do all kinds of demeaning things in order to get it.

    This, too.

  44. 44
    MomSense says:

    @Cacti:

    The Clenis was very good for the journamilism business.

  45. 45
    boatboy_srq says:

    Thoughts?

    Isn’t $7.8B about half of what Walmart reports for after-tax profits annually? I keep thinking that their business model would be very different if all their Job-Creating Specialness weren’t tax breaks and “incentives”.

  46. 46
    Kathleen says:

    Other Pulitzer winners – Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, and Kathleen Parker.

  47. 47
    srv says:

    It doesn’t matter if the stories were accurate, they were truthy enough.

  48. 48
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Can we just take all their money and force them to work minimum wage jobs for the rest of their lives?

    I have been begging for that since the recession started.

    The social purpose of rich people, as they will remind us again and again and again, is that with all that money, they create jobs.

    Currently, they are not creating jobs. (See unemployment rate). Their purpose is not being fulfilled.

    Consequently, pass a Full Employment Act and finance it by taxing the shit out of people at their income level, until they decide to finally put their money to good use again.

  49. 49
    Mandalay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Those who are saying the Pulitzer is devalued because glib jackasses like Maureen Dowd have won a prize have a point.

    They do, but we should bear in mind that the Beltway Punditocracy were sitting much prettier fifteen or twenty years ago. Without the intertubes they were largely immune from criticism, apart from the odd dissenting letter to the editor in the Topeka Bugle.

    Elitist liars like George Will and Cokie Roberts really were hugely respected national figures back then, and considered the gold standard for integrity and wisdom.

    The miracle is that they have survived at all, now that their lies and bullshit are regularly skewered. They belong on pikestaffs.

  50. 50
    Violet says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: This is the issue. Rational arguments don’t work on wingnuts. You will go crazy trying. To win you have to appeal to their emotions, preferably fear. The Waltons being marchers and that’s wrong won’t work. Find a way to make what the Waltons do scary to wingnuts and there’s your argument.

  51. 51
    Mandalay says:

    @Chris:

    Consequently, pass a Full Employment Act and finance it by taxing the shit out of people at their income level, until they decide to finally put their money to good use again.

    This, and also taxing the shit of stock market transactions above a certain threshold. If there is a legitimate reason Wall Street brokers need to buy and sell a stock umpteen times within a single trading day I haven’t heard it.

  52. 52
    Violet says:

    @Violet: that was supposed to be moochers. Stupid autocorrect.

  53. 53
    MomSense says:

    @Violet:

    They just march to the mooching drum.

  54. 54
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    Since this is an open thread, I thought I’d pass along a story my DIL told me. She’s a first grade teacher and she says at parent/teacher conferences, 2 parents actually answered cell phone calls and a third kept her smart phone on the table, glancing at it and flicking the screen all during the conference.

    Get off my lawn?

  55. 55
    rk says:

    Thoughts?

    Guillotines.

  56. 56
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mandalay:

    This, and also taxing the shit of stock market transactions above a certain threshold.

    You don’t actually need to tax transactions that heavily to do a lot to limit stuff like high frequency trading. They’re making a very small amount on every trade and making up for it in volume. You only have to tack a small tax onto each transaction and that method loses its profitability.

  57. 57
    Roger Moore says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:
    Playing with your cell phone is nothing much to worry about. It’s the modern equivalent of doodling, something to do with your hands to burn off nervous energy without actually getting up and walking around the room. Answering the phone might or might not be that bad. Answering it only long enough to let the caller know you’re busy and will call back is probably acceptable, but interrupting the conference for a full-on call would be rude.

  58. 58
    JGabriel says:

    @Roger Moore:

    @Jamey:

    Kill the motherfucking Waltons.

    Can we just take all their money and force them to work minimum wage jobs for the rest of their lives? It seems more like poetic justice.

    I concur. The death penalty is far too easy, and/or not humiliating enough, to be a just punishment for many crimes. The Walton’s crimes certainly fall into that category.

  59. 59
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Roger Moore: OMG, Roger, I’m still appalled. Conferences are usually 15 minutes. If a parent can’t let their phone go to voice mail for 15 minutes to talk about their kid, something is wrong IMHO.

  60. 60
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: And then they’ll be puzzled if the kid has a short attention span. Modeling parents, who haven’t a clue.

  61. 61
    Elizabelle says:

    @Cacti:

    Let’s not forget Kathleen Parker has a Pulitzer too. Yick.

  62. 62
    gorram says:

    @Bill Arnold: Right, the existence of these programs keeps Walmart afloat, but shaving off more and more and more people from them forces them to go from buying from any of the major food stores (including Walmart) to looking for which of those offers the best deals. Of course, that’s not a sustainable long term strategy because eventually the benefits from cutting foods stamps are going to mess with the benefits of having food stamps for them.

    Who was that that said capitalism would destroy itself again? Fellow with a beard? Hmmmmmm.

  63. 63
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): of course a lot of parents of first-graders are probably, what, 27 or so? I’m not surprised they act like bored college kids, because until recently they were bored college kids themselves.

  64. 64
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @Jamey:

    But…I liked Johnboy and Mary Ellen!

  65. 65
    LAC says:

    @Keith G: is there a douchecanoe award? Because you are a shoo-in.

  66. 66
    Cacti says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Let’s not forget Kathleen Parker has a Pulitzer too. Yick.

    And the late David Broder.

  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    I would not be surprised if all of those kids show signs of ADHD in class. It’s hereditary.

    (Though the actual answering of the phone may be more of a sign of Assholitis. If you’re expecting a super-urgent call, tell the person you’re meeting with at the very beginning of the meeting and apologize because you might be interrupted for this other thing that can’t wait. At least then the person is half expecting the interruption.)

  68. 68
    PurpleGirl says:

    @low-tech cyclist: A few months ago when the House was cutting SNAP, Wal-Mart complained that it would cut into their revenue since so many people use SNAP benefits when they shop.

  69. 69
    Kerry Reid says:

    @srv: Janet Cooke, too, also.

    Not saying that the NSA reports are fabrications. Just that the awarding of a Pulitzer in and of itself doesn’t provide a force field of infallibility.

  70. 70
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Mnemosyne: That’s really interesting about the ADHD. My DIL said she has a tough class this year.

  71. 71
    burnspbesq says:

    I tend to be skeptical of suggestions that Wal-Mart is a prime beneficiary of our screwed-up corporate tax system. The opportunities to play games are somewhat limited for retailers, because there is a significant physical presence where revenue is generated and because IP is a relatively small part of their value chain.

    Technology and pharma are the big winners in the tax optimization sweepstakes, because they can manufacture and operate in Ireland and Singapore, and siphon off huge streams of royalties into Luxembourg and Cayman.

  72. 72
    My Truth Hurts says:

    The disconnect in news media these days is illustrated no better than by the Washington Post winning a Pulitzer for their NSA-spying articles even though its editorial board criticized its own reporters roles in publishing those reports because the editorial board is more interested in protecting the status quo then actually reporting useful and valuable information that might be worth a Pulitzer for them. What a joke.

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    IF (big if) she does suspect one or more of the kids have ADHD, one of the best things she can do is figure out ways for them to get up and move around without disturbing the rest of the class. Maybe let them stand at the back and read standing up, something like that.

    One of the worst things she can do is keep them inside during recess during recess, because ADHD kids really, really need to get up and move. She’d be better off telling them they have to run a couple of laps around the playground before they can play.

  74. 74
    Shwell Thanksh says:

    I think her words speak for themselves. Really, what more is there to say?

    “I’m Alice Walton, bitch!”

  75. 75
    Jamey says:

    @Captain C: Sorry, but you two already have put forth more effort saving the Waltons’ lives than the Waltons likely have expended in their entire lives.

    Ice the muthafuckers. Seriously.

  76. 76
    J R in WV says:

    Just for the edu-mification of BalloonJuice readers, the first step in winning a Pulitzer Prize is you, the reporter seeking the prize (with the aid and financial support of your news organization employer) prepare an application for the prize!

    This will include tear sheets of the front page stories you think deserve the highest honor. It will have leather bindings (part of why you need the support of your management!) and gold embossed titles. [I guess the leather and gold are optional, but that’s the competition you have!]

    That’s right, you send in an application, with as many bells and whistles as you can attach. Sorta like applying to Hahvahd University, or Dorkmouth College.

    You don’t get nominated by raving journo fans of your work, not at all. Not like the Academy nominating candidates for the Oscars, nonono!

    Your organization submits an application…

    Changes the way you think about it, don’t it? It sure did me!

  77. 77
    brettvk says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Today is my 60th birthday, so I’m officially an Old, but I don’t know how even a much younger person could keep their temper in that situation. No doubt saying something pertinent about parental responsibility would cause more trouble than it would solve, but jeezuz! Can’t any teacher get a break in this failing empire?

  78. 78
    Betty Cracker says:

    @brettvk: Happy birthday!

  79. 79
    boatboy_srq says:

    @burnspbesq: Ordinarily I’d agree. In Walmart’s case, though, as the largest US retailer, when it’s fairly clear (once you dig up all the public-sector incentives and tax breaks) that the business model is dependent on public-sector largesse, then there’s a problem. Nobody complained when Stearns went under, when KMart bought Sears (and left its original banner to rot), or when Emporium or Filene’s got gobbled up because they weren’t profitable (“free market forces!!!11!1!”), but nobody’s so much as squeaked as this behemoth has swelled to mutant proportions on a largely public dime.

  80. 80
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    Lotta bootlickers in this thread. Seems to be an affinity for that in America.

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