Monday, January 30, 2023
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Trump Files Defamation Suit Against Pulitzer Board for Rewarding Russia-Hoax Reporters

'A large swath of Americans had a tremendous misunderstanding of the truth at the time the Times’ and the Post’s propagation of the Russia Collusion Hoax dominated the media...'

(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) Former President Donald Trump made good on a longstanding pledge to sue the Pulitzer Prize committee over its refusal to retract the awards given to two of the country’s top leftist newspapers, the New York Times and Washington Post, for their reporting on the Russia-collusion hoax.

“A large swath of Americans had a tremendous misunderstanding of the truth at the time the Times’ and the Post’s propagation of the Russia Collusion Hoax dominated the media,” said the complaint, which was filed in Okeechobee County, Florida, according to Fox News. “Remarkably, they were rewarded for lying to the American public.”

The Pulitzers, considered by some to be the most prestigious prize in U.S. journalism, helped lend cachet to the false reporting by awarding their 2018 prize for national reporting to the two papers, who shared the award.

It referred to the articles as “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign,” according to the Pulizter website.

While both newspapers have since retracted elements of their reporting and acknowledged flaws in their coverage, they maintain that the articles submitted to the Pulitzer committee were accurate.

The Russia hoax, which cast a pall over the first half of Trump’s presidency, was initially conceived and orchestrated by operatives with the Hillary Clinton campaign.

It subsequently spread to the FBI and morphed into a special-counsel investigation that diverted much of Trump’s attention and cost him political capital, thereby derailing progress on key items in his early agenda.

Democrats later campaigned heavily on it in 2018 to secure the House majority and then pounced into action on their efforts to impeach the president using entirely unrelated—and equally baseless—pretenses related to a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Trump’s newly filed complaint said that the Pulitzer board’s refusal to rescind the 2018 awards had perpetuated the harm done by the initial falsehoods.

“While elements at both the Times and the Post were almost certainly complicit in the Russia Collusion Hoax, [it] 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,” the complaint said.

“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,” it added.

The case may be a hard sell by defamation’s legal standards, which are notoriously difficult to meet in order to avoid exerting a chilling effect on the media’s assertions of its First Amendment rights.

For the case to be successful, Trump must prove not only that the reporting was false but that the Pulitzer committee acted with malicious intent, and that he suffered material damages as a result.

Trump’s lawyers have been earing their keep amid a barrage of lawfare attacks on him at the state and federal level, including ongoing investigations in New York and Georgia, and another recently announced special-counsel investigation led by leftist prosecutor Jack Smith.

Smith’s probe further reinforces both the Justice Department’s raid on Mar-a-Lago in search of purloined government documents and the Jan. 6th committee’s efforts to link Trump to a supposed “insurrection” at the U.S. Capitol in the final month of his presidency.

The partisan House J6 committee, hand picked by out-going House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is expected to sunset before the new congressional term but is due to release a report that will likely recommend federal prosecution of Trump and his political allies.

Trump recently announced his candidacy to run for re-election in the 2024 presidential race.

Ben Sellers is the editor of Headline USA. Follow him at truthsocial.com/@bensellers.

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