On Monday, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced the winners of its coveted annual awards - and did not include the deeply objectionable New York Times series on the Orthodox Jewish community and their yeshivas.
While there is no way of knowing with certainty why the much-ballyhooed series did not receive a Pulitzer Prize, the news that The Times was not awarded for its one-sided and erroneous portrayals of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews was greeted with much appreciation and relief in Orthodox Jewish circles.
KnowUs, a project of Agudath Israel of America, had alerted the Pulitzer Prize Board - in the form of a 30-page open letter mailed to every Pulitzer Prize Board member - that The Times based its coverage upon demonstrably misleading data, buried sources, and numerous other violations of the Pulitzer’s own journalistic standards. Had the series been feted with the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, its deeply objectionable portrayal of the Orthodox and Hasidic communities would have only been exacerbated.
Beyond its likely role in preventing The Times series from receiving this coveted award, KnowUs has shown, throughout the past few months, that there are those who still value truth, diversity, and religious and parental rights.
Countless outlets have covered KnowUs’ work and pushed back against the jaundiced narrative foisted upon readers of The New York Times.
“Respected intellectuals, secular Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, and numerous national and state elected officials deserve specific appreciation for going on record, standing up for the Orthodox Jewish community, and fending off hateful invectives artfully posing as ‘constructive’ criticism,” said Avrohom Weinstock, director of KnowUs. “Such actions, and such people, give KnowUs and the Orthodox Jewish community hope for a more transparent, tolerant, and respectful tomorrow.”
KnowUs will continue to inject these much-needed elements, along with as yet unreported data points and balance, as they relate to Orthodox Jews, into the public discourse.