Weekly Column: Few things in this world are more painful than the realization that an estrangement has occurred between two news organizations who had worked amiably together investigating doctors and lawyers squashing benefits claims of miners dying of black lung, at the behest of the coal industry. That is just what has happened after the Center for Public Integrity won a Pulitzer Prize this week for an investigation into this medical travesty, after other organizations had jointly awarded CPI and ABC News for the report. ABC claims CPI threw its staffers under the bus to soak up all the Pulitzer glory; CPI claims ABC News doesn’t deserve to share the Pulitzer because it only parachuted in periodically on the lengthy investigation, produced “sporadic” reports for television — not print — and repeatedly had to be saved from making embarrassing factual errors on its broadcast segments about the investigation.
Meanwhile, White House Correspondents Dinner organizers took on the air of folks being pushed towards dangerous machinery in which they would prefer not to become entangled. That group already has announced it is giving its Edgar A. Poe Award to CPI and ABC News for the black-lung report, specifically because the two organizations “showed how a true collaboration between media partners can break significant new ground on an already well-reported story.” Joel McHale, who’s been booked to provide comedy at that annual black-tie dinner/celebrity petting zoo, is going to have a hard time topping that one for laughs.