The Spectacle Blog

A Duranty Prize Contender?

By on 7.2.13 | 2:55PM

Everyone knows -- or should know -- that the Pulitzer Prizes and the New York Times are irretrievably disgraced by the 1932 Pulitzer awarded to Walter Duranty. For 15 years as the Times' Moscow bureau chief, Duranty provided some of the most shamefully blood-soaked lies ever to be called "journalism." Duranty reliably parroted Soviet propaganda and disparaged those who told the truth about the murderous regime of Bolshevik dictator Josef Stalin. (See Arnold Beichman's 2003 article "Pulitzer-Winning Lies.") The Times has not repudiated, nor has the Pulitzer committee revoked, the prize awarded to Duranty for his "reporting" that amounted to a deliberate cover-up of the genocidal terror-famine by which Stalin starved to death millions of Ukrainian peasants.

Probably nothing could ever compare to the permanent stain Duranty inflicted on the profession of journalism, although Ginger Gorham of the Australian Broadcasting Company is certainly deserving of recognition. In July 2010, Gorham produced a feature profile with the headline, "Two dads are better than one," which glowingly told of the "happy, relaxed family scene" at the home of two men identified only by their first names, Mark and Peter. Gorham's article sympathetically portrayed the struggles the couple said they had finding a surrogate mother, trying for three years before finding a Russian woman willing to be artificially inseminated and bear a child for them. The couple then faced difficulty bringing the child to Australia after his birth in 2005. "What followed was two and a half years of bureaucracy before the child received permanent Australian residency and another year before he got citizenship," Gorham wrote.

Part of a now increasingly familiar genre of journalistic advocacy for gay adoption, Gorham's article was recently deleted from the Australian network's Web site (but retrieved from Google cache by a quick-thinking blogger) after it was revealed Friday that the men so enthusiastically profiled by Gorham were in fact key figures in one of the worst child pornography cases in memory:

Authorities in Australia say they intend to apprehend and prosecute every member of an international child pornography ring that exploited a boy who was molested from infancy by two men who reportedly created him with a Russian surrogate mother. “With this network, rest assured that we will pursue them to the ends of the Earth to make sure each and every one of them faces justice for what their role has been in crimes against this child,” Queensland Police Officer Jon Rouse told the Australian Broadcasting Company.
Officer Rouse is a member of Task Force Argos, the special unit that investigated the case of two Australian men who sexually molested a boy for six years, providing video of their crimes -- and even paid sexual encounters with the boy -- to an “international syndicate” of pedophiles called the Boy Lovers Network.
Mark Newton, 42, was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison last week by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker. Authorities say Newton and his partner, Peter Truong, 36, paid a Russian woman $8,000 to give birth to a boy they said was conceived using artificial insemination with Newton’s sperm. The men began sexually abusing the boy before he was two weeks old, recording the acts on video they shared online with other pedophiles.

For her part, Gorham professes to be "shocked and disgusted ... revolted" to learn the truth about Truong and Newton, but says that in 2010, "I felt no sense anything was wrong. For all intents and purposes this appeared to be a loving family and a loving household."

Maybe if the New York Times had not so successfully suppressed the facts about the Ukrainian terror-famine, Walter Duranty would have said the same thing when the truth about Stalin was revealed. Yet there is no evidence Gorham deliberately covered up for Newton and Truong because she sympathized with pedophiles, whereas Duranty's Communist sympathies were quite obvious. Still, it's possible Gorham will merit consideration for the 2013 Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity.

Perhaps not coincidentally, while Truong and Newton's crimes were reported by the Indianapolis Star, the New York Daily News and the Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Times appears uninterested in covering the atrocities committed by the Boy Lovers Network. However, the Times did find space today to publish yet another article on sex abuse by Catholic priests. It's a good thing Newton and Truong weren't Catholic -- otherwise their crimes might be what editors of the New York Times considers an actual scandal.

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