Fake news should not be applauded, former President Donald Trump says in a lawsuit filed against the Pulitzer Prize Board on Tuesday.
Seething over media coverage of the disproven claims of Russian collusion that dogged the first two years of his administration, Trump said in the lawsuit that The Washington Post and The New York Times, which shared a Pulitzer for their reporting, should not be “rewarded for lying to the American public.”
The Times and Post were jointly awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for “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, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration,” according to the Pulitzer website.
Trump said the coverage was a veritable tower of bias.
“Replete with cherry-picked facts, nefarious implications, and apprehensive suggestions largely originating from anonymous sources within the government, the Times and the Post repeatedly and maliciously used their platforms to propagandize and proliferate with evangelical fervor the fully false conspiracy theory that President Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin to help sway the 2016 election,” the lawsuit said.
The articles for which the newspapers were honored “leave the reader with the intended impression that the investigation was authentic and not — as is now known — a worthless lie based on manufactured political disinformation paid for by the Clinton Campaign,” the lawsuit said.
Long before the lawsuit was filed, the Pulitzer Prize Board released a statement concerning Trump’s complaints about the award, according to Fox News.
“In the last three years, the Pulitzer Board has received inquiries, including from former President Donald Trump, about submissions from The New York Times and The Washington Post on Russian interference in the U.S. election and its connections to the Trump campaign — submissions that jointly won the 2018 National Reporting prize,” the statement said.
“These inquiries prompted the Pulitzer Board to commission two independent reviews of the work submitted by those organizations to our National Reporting competition.
“Both reviews were conducted by individuals with no connection to the institutions whose work was under examination, nor any connection to each other. 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.”
Trump said in the lawsuit that even when that statement was issued, “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.”
He said the Pulitzer Board knew what it was saying was wrong because retractions had been made in some of the coverage of the collusion allegations against him.
“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,” the lawsuit said.
“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 lawsuit claimed that the Russia collusion claim grew from Trump’s political success when “the government and media establishments were forced to address the arrival of a powerful, disruptive political adversary.”
“In response, President Trump’s political opponents ginned up an absurdly false and defamatory narrative as a means of damaging then-Candidate Trump: that he and his presidential campaign had somehow made a deal with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government and were conspiring and cooperating with the Russians to manipulate the 2016 Presidential Election in his favor,” the lawsuit said.
Trump is seeking unspecified compensatory damages.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.