If you ever doubted that the Pulitzer Prize is a long-running joke, consider this: In 2018, the Washington Post and New York Times shared a “national reporting” Pulitzer.
The two media giants won the award for their “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.”
Those who think this an aberration should recall that Walter Duranty of the Times won a Pulitzer nearly 80 years ago for his deeply sourced, relentlessly reported cover-up of Stalin’s terror famine that killed as many 5 million people and furthered the Soviet Union’s grip on world power.
No, the real reporting in America this century has been done by the largely conservative alternative media, what some have taken to calling the “samizdat.”
In Russian, samizdat means “self-publishing.” During the Soviet era, “samizdat” referred to the clandestine copying and distribution of literature banned by the state.
With Big Media having abandoned journalism, the job has been left to the American samizdat – blogs, public forums, news aggregators, online publications, talk radio shows and legal monitors such as Judicial Watch.
For the last decade or more, the samizdat has challenged the left – and, occasionally, the “responsible” right – for control of the national news narrative.
The internet gave the samizdat unprecedented reportorial power, and social media gave its citizen journalists an ability to distribute their message in ways Soviet dissidents could only imagine.
Big Tech understands this power – it got Donald Trump elected – which is why it now collaborates with the Deep State and Big Media to shut these distribution channels down.
As the perils of honest reporting grow more ominous, it is past time to recognize those who do it well and bravely. In this spirit I have conceived the “Sami.”
In the first presentation in what I would love to see become a real annual tradition, the “Sami” for national reporting goes to intrepid citizen journalist Andy Ngo.
In his new book, “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy,” the 35-year-old Ngo does the kind of work most journalists once dreamed of doing but never had the nerve to do.
Armed with a Go-Pro camera and enough resolve to overcome his fears – especially after a 2019 public beating – Ngo has documented the wildly underreported rise of Antifa and related leftist groups including Black Lives Matter.
In 2020, before being discovered, Ngo spent a week inside CHAZ, Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. There he documented the mayhem and murder that characterized life in this happily short-lived experiment in communal terror.
There may be no one in the samizdat the left hates more. As a self-described “gay journalist of color,” Ngo is expected to see the world through the prism of identity politics. He doesn’t. He prefers to see the world as it exists.
The headlines tell the story, this one from Rolling Stone after the Portland attack left Ngo hospitalized: “How a Right-Wing Troll Managed to Manipulate the Mainstream Media.”
Recall that not too long ago the Rolling Stone was the alternative media. Or at least it thought it was. Now, like the firemen in Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel, “Fahrenheit 451,” the publication works to destroy truths counter to Deep State orthodoxy before they can spread.
The Los Angeles Times review of “Unmasked” by fireman Alexander Nazarayan gives some sense of the journalistic no-man’s-land into which Ngo has dared to venture.
“There is an alternate universe out there in which we never have to ponder, let alone read, ‘Unmasked,’ provocateur Andy Ngo’s supremely dishonest new book on the left-wing anti-fascist movement known as antifa,” writes Nazarayan.
It would have been helpful if this sentence had a verb, but that is the least of its problems. From Nazarayan’s perspective, a perspective now pandemic in America’s newsrooms, Antifa is not the real threat. In the following sentence Nazarayan alerts us to the threat Ngo has chosen not to see.
“In that other world far, far away,” Nazarayan continues, “Marjorie Taylor Greene remains a nutty CrossFit enthusiast from Georgia, not a member of Congress, and we know nothing of her musings on Jewish space lasers, the execution of Democrats or ‘false flag’ school shootings.”
I have a hard time reading Ngo’s book before bedtime. It is too unnerving. As Ngo documents, night after night for the last year or more, violent left-wing groups have been laying waste to America’s cities, attacking police, terrorizing citizens and intimidating the media.
And Nazarayan wants us to worry about Ms. Greene? That is what contemporary journalism has come to and why its practitioners so hate people who show them how it used to be done.
Jack Cashill’s new book, “Unmasking Obama: The Fight to Tell the True Story of a Failed Presidency,” is now widely available. See www.cashill.com for more information.
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