Ask any journalist to name the most disreputable figure in his profession, and one name immediately comes to mind—the late New York Times reporter, Walter Duranty. Duranty is known for reporting on the Ukrainian famine precipitated by Joseph Stalin in the early Thirties. As head of the Times’s Moscow bureau, Duranty covered up the deaths of hundreds of thousands of peasants and perversely ran false reports written from Moscow about the success of Soviet agricultural policy. More dismaying is that his reporting from Moscow won him the very first Pulitzer Prize given to The New York Times for its foreign coverage in 1932.

The announcement of the prize proclaimed, “Mr. Duranty’s dispatches show profound and intimate comprehension of conditions in Russia and of the causes of those conditions. They are marked by scholarship, profundity, impartiality, sound judgment, and exceptional clarity, and are...


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