[Update 3] Linda Solomon’s Faux Pulitzer “Nomination” (Or, Look What TIDES Canada Brought In…)

A book by a 'Puitzer Nominated' journalist- or, false advertising?

False advertising…

Update 3: The Observer has now re-posted Solomon’s book on their website– only, they have cropped the image of the book cover to hide the fact she claims to be Pulitzer nominated. They’ve also added a disclaimer about the book saying “Out of print since 2010”. And, still, no public apologies have been issued for the misrepresentation.

Update 2: A reader messaged me today and shared an interesting link including Solomon’s bio on TheCouch.com from 2006. What’s interesting about this link is how it mentions she worked at the Tennesseean, but makes no mention of her being nominated for a Pulitzer. So, this doesn’t appear to be a case of her making an innocent mistake for 30 years- mentions of her Pulitzer nomination all seem to be very recent. And, as I mentioned on the last update, The Observer took-down the link to her book posted in this article- but, there’s still another link remaining.

Update: Linda Solomon has yet to have given any response to this article- but, the Vancouver Observer have removed her book that was listed for sale on their site..

———

The Pulitzer prize is an award for ‘achievements in newspaper and online journalism’. The award is administered by Columbia university in New York- who are distinguished by having one of the world’s most respected journalism schools. There are currently 21 awards given out each year, the highest is the Public Service Award- a gold medal assigned to a publication for “a distinguished example of meritorious public service”.

A work proposed for an award is first submitted to Pulitzer. At this stage it’s titled an ‘entrant’. Next, a jury selects a small group of nominated finalists. Up until 1980 the Pulitzer had no official designation of a person or work being ‘nominated’- works were submitted and winners were announced at a modest lunch ceremony.

Pulitzer has had a long-standing problem with people making false claims of being “Pulitzer nominated” writers- their FAQ makes this clear. Occasionally they’ve written letters asking people to stop- but, according to the Washington Post, they don’t “zealously try to police” the problem. There have, however, been some pretty high profile cases of people being exposed.

The most famous case of a person exposed touting a faux nomination was Jonah Goldberg. He’s an ultraconservative writer who comes from a pretty classy family. His mother is Lucianne Goldberg- a woman famous for her involvement in ‘dirty tricks’. In 1972 she was caught getting paid by a friend in Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign to spy on McGovern. Then, during President Clinton’s sex scandal, she convinced Linda Tripp to betray Monica Lewinsky by recording their phone calls and keeping the famous stained dress.

Jonah Goldberg was caught in 2008 when a claim was published on the back of his book that he had been nominated for two Pulitzers. Only, he most certainly had not- he was only an ‘entrant’. All that had happened was that someone filled-out a form and paid $50. Goldberg publicly apologized  and stopped making that claim- but, in 2010, another book was published with the same claim. There’s still a debate as to whether the second incident was ‘innocent’ or not- Goldberg claims that a third party was responsible for the mistake.

What’s fascinating about the Goldberg incident was how it clearly it exposed the hypocrisy of conservative pundits. Fox News was busy underplaying Goldberg’s blatant misrepresentation. John Nolte of Breitbart.com criticised MSNBC’s breaking story. He tried to re-frame the lie to make it seem that because it was “not uncommon” that people have cheated it was unfair to criticise Goldberg’s decision to cheat.

Meanwhile, people in the rest of the media chimed in with more realistic (and sometimes funny) responses. A writer on Gawker joked that Goldberg was as much of a two-time Pulitzer nominee as he is a “Three-time World’s Best Dad Nominee”. A story on the Atlantic Wire discussed how Goldberg’s Fake Pulitzer Nomination Will Follow Him Forever– with all of the books printed, newspaper articles, and links to online stories, he can’t really sweep this mistake under the rug. Then there was this great cartoon.

goldberg-cartoon_pulitzer

From a Canadian perspective, today’s story is at least as high profile as what happened to Goldberg. It features Linda Solomon- the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of the Vancouver Observer.

Politically speaking, the Observer is very left leaning- many people complain that they’re too overly sympathetic towards the NDP, Mayor Gregor Robertson and his team at Vision Vancouver. This isn’t a coincidence either, Linda Solomon is the sister of Joel Solomon, the Vice-Chair of TIDES Canada and the president of a social venture firm called Renewal Partners. Their father, Jay Solomon, is credited with putting Jimmy Carter in office- Linda and Joel were volunteers on the Carter campaign. On her appearance on the Fanny Keifer Show, Solomon explains her relationship to Al Gore.

Linda & Joel Solomon come from the heart of the American power elite…

The NDP's Thomas Mulcair & David Eby making a personal appearance at Joel Solomon's pad...

The NDP’s Thomas Mulcair & David Eby making a private appearance at Joel Solomon’s pad…

Back in 1978, when Solomon was still sharpening her teeth as a journalist, she worked at a Nashville based newspaper called The Tennessean. There she was involved (with a woman named Carolyn Shoulders) in writing what she describes as a series that’s an “investigation of exploitation of the poor by the insurance industry.”

Solomon has claimed that, because of this work, she was rewarded the distinction of being a “Pulitzer nominated” journalist. There are a couple of problems with that. First, she hasn’t, her work was submitted as an ‘entrant’ (someone mailed it in), but it was not considered as a finalist. The next problem is that her entry was submitted in 1979, a year when there was no official designation of being “nominated”. This has been conformed by Pulitzer, and is clearly stated in their FAQ:

Taken from the Pulitzer FAQ

Taken from the Pulitzer FAQ

In Goldberg’s embarrassing incident, his claim of being Pulitzer nominated was printed in his biography on the back of his book. In Solomon’s case the claim is boldly written on the cover as a part of the subtitle:

“Reflections on a City By A Pulitzer-Nominated American Journalist.”

Anyone who bought the book who wasn’t familiar with Solomon was quite likely influenced by the fact the author was claimed to be Pulitzer nominated. The book is still being promoted as having been nominated on the Vancouver Observer’s website. There’s also a glowing recommendation by Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson.

The nomination is also mentioned on the Observer’s Meet Our Team page. The Observer also used Solomon’s faux nomination as a way to entice young writers to join her team:

“…the successful candidate will have the opportunity to gain experience working with a Pulitzer-nominated journalist in the world of online and print media.”

If you look at Solomon’s bio on the Vancouver Observer’s website today, you won’t see any mention of her being nominated for a Pulitzer. However, previously, it was clearly stated that Solomon was nominated- here’s a screenshot.

Selection_596

In addition to selling books and promoting her publication, Solomon has also used her claim of being Pulitzer nominated to sell a writer’s retreat she led on behalf of the Hollyhock Institute. The course was called Writing from the Edge of Social Change and is promoted on Renewal Partners website. Participants had to pay $165 for her tuition, plus the considerable cost of accommodation at Hollyhock, and the cost of transportation (a lovely place, check out the pictures from my stay there last year).

Let's hope she gives refunds...

Let’s hope she gives refunds…

Solomon also teaches journalism classes at Vancouver’s Emily Carr School of Art and Design. Her biography there doesn’t mention a Pulitzer nomination, and there’s no archived version available. However, in 2012, one of her students wrote in her blog that “Linda is a brilliant, Pulitzer nominated journalist from New York”.

Her Pulitzer claim is also highlighted on an article in BC Business Magazine- profiling her as one of the city’s Top Players and Pundits. Solomon’s claim was also published in her bio for the Gaining Ground conference where she spoke alongside Gregor Robertson and Joel Solomon.

Selection_597

When she spoke at the Model United Nations last November her bio made no mention of being nominated for a Pulitzer. But, it does say that she’s been nominated for one of BC’s Jack Webster journalism awards. According to their website, the only limitation to nominating someone for this award is that they’re a BC based journalist. Anyone can send in a nomination, and there’s no charge to do so.

Selection_599

Now, here’s where the story gets more interesting. In June 2012, Solomon’s newspaper was awarded the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Excellence In Journalism award in the small/local media category. It’s unknown if Solomon’s Pulitzer claim was documented in her submission. That said, considering Solomon had made this claim in so many places, it would have been hard for them to miss this fact. They’d certainly understand the need to be sceptical about Pulitzer nomination claims. The CJF have been requested to comment but have yet to respond.

There was some controversy after the Observer was given the award. There were complaints that the Observer is too close to Vancouver’s ruling elite and might not be truly independent. Another valid criticism is that the Observer’s column inches been used for some deeply personal and unethical attacks. A great example of this is Sandy Garossino’s vicious attack against Vivian Krause in August. Garossino’s debating tactics included making tasteless remarks about Krause’s age, appearance and employment status.

Many people have called Garossino out on her deeply personal attacks. She has yet to have retracted her offensive words about Krause and has continued a pattern of bullying attacks on a number of high-profile people in the media. It is unclear whether Solomon was or is aware of the content in Garossino’s article (she’s the editor). Solomon has been contacted for input in this story but hasn’t issued a response.

The Solomons come from a place of great privilege. They have access to the power, influence and money of the American elite. They’re in Canada now, pushing 100’s of millions of dollars into campaigns and lobbying efforts while funding and promoting their favoured politicians. There are many people who perceive that their power is beginning to eclipse that of ordinary Canadians.

If Canadians are to trust their influence on our country’s policies they must take extra-special care to be honest, transparent, and to ensure that people who ask fair questions about them aren’t getting hurt…

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.genuinewitty.com/2013/01/09/linda-solomons-faux-pulitzer-nomination-or-look-what-the-tides-brought-us/

18 comments

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    • D on January 9, 2013 at 20:14
    • Reply

    You are using the POST-1980 rules to dismiss her PRE-1980 nomination claim. Do you see the rather big hole in your argument now?

    1. First of all, of you read the Pulitzer’s FAQ I linked in the office, there’s no distinction made. Next, I asked them personally. And, finally, I believe the fact that Solomon removed her book from being for sale on the Vancouver Observer’s website says a whole lot…

    • The Hammer on January 12, 2013 at 10:03
    • Reply

    Linda Soloman even appears in the Wikipedia article on the Pulitzer Prize under the section “The difference between entrants and nominated finalists”

    Looks like she is pretty notorious. Kinda reminds me of Jason Bowman registering the Mohawk Workers with the United Nations. Means very little. I like t

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulitzer_Prize#The_difference_between_entrants_and_nominated_finalists

    1. She does now!:)

    • The Hammer on January 13, 2013 at 08:23
    • Reply

    Nice!!!

    Ever read the Wikipedia article on Judy Rebick? At the end it leads us to beleive that she is anti-black bloc lol.

    1. Then why has she spent so much time supporting Alex Hundert?

    • The Hammer on January 13, 2013 at 11:08
    • Reply

    Maybe she went to the Karl Rove-Paul Wolfowitz school of political manipulation.

    • Dave on January 13, 2013 at 14:50
    • Reply

    The recent goings on at the Toronto Standard might be of interest to you:

    http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/feminist-lies-feminism/the-crucifixion-of-erika-jarvis/

    Maybe you’d even know who was behind this censorship or be able to find out?

    1. Thanks. The link isn’t working at the moment, there seems to be a problem with their website. I’ll check it out later. Did you see my related story about the University of Toronto’s Hate Party?

        • Dave on January 13, 2013 at 19:54
        • Reply

        Yes, I’ve read all your articles relating to all the recent men’s rights controversies in Canada. BTW avfm is back up.

    • silenced progressive on January 13, 2013 at 17:55
    • Reply

    Really appreciate this post. It expresses a lot of my own personal conflicts and contentions with the Van Observer – as well as the Tides/Renewal/Vision/LUSH cartel. I feel silenced by this cohort’s spell over the progressive elite in this city – and want to speak out because ultimately I want these groups to choose not to employ the very same tactics used by those they’re work opposes. I want to help empower them to do it faithful to the paradigm shift they portend to work toward.

    They’ve bought into a model based on merit that does not scrutinize the validity of claims but uses awards and such to validate the voices who know how to navigate the awards circuit. Ultimately, it dilutes trust and invalidates the work they do – the spirit of which is often important (vital even for public discourse), if not properly executed. Ulitimately, they do a disservice to all of us doing work reported by the Van Observer.

      • Standing Water on January 14, 2013 at 12:06
      • Reply

      “They’ve bought into a model based on merit that does not scrutinize the validity of claims but uses awards and such to validate the voices who know how to navigate the awards circuit.”

      Hey, buddy, that’s the University System!

      “Ultimately, it dilutes trust and invalidates the work they do – the spirit of which is often important (vital even for public discourse), if not properly executed. Ulitimately, they do a disservice to all of us”

      My take on most of this is that these people learned their stupidity somewhere—I have absolutely no faith in the idea that large numbers of people are stupid from birth; I don’t know that I’ve ever met a baby as insensibly stupid and dull as a Political Lackey. Thus, there is some sort of process at work which takes a baby in at one and and spits out…these…things…at the other. I think it is called “education.” It teaches people to neglect to scrutinize claims but to instead use awards (degrees) and other such things to validate people. And in the end all this ends up doing is sanctioning the voices that know how to navigate the awards circuit, degree-maze of the Establishment.

      “I feel silenced by this cohort’s spell over the progressive elite in this city”

      I feel silenced by the pall that the University educated have cast over humanity—I am glad for you if you can legitimately say you only feel restricted in terms of this little group’s effect over a single city’s progressive elite =].

    • The Hammer on January 14, 2013 at 10:00
    • Reply

    Excellent article Dave. Thank you for posting the link! Shows the extent of bias some news organizations have. I think it is very telling that Toronto Standard chose to remove a fair and balanced article simply because it did not conform to their pre-determined political bias. I do not even think Rabble could sink that low.

    • The Hammer on January 14, 2013 at 14:56
    • Reply

    I like what you have said here. Though I would say it is not all universities and certainly not all university programs. Some still care more about what you do than labels.

    Milton Friedman once said “One of the greatest mistakes is to judge policies and programs by intent rather than results.” The people you describe live in an ivory tower of utopian theories and pay no attention to reality. It is why Marxist movement continue to grow out of universities. And despite repeated miserable failure of Marxism and despite the fact Marx was dead wrong in most of his writings these Ivory Tower dwellers still Marxism and quote the man like he was some kind of prophet.

  1. Remember how Kevin Annett, White champion of ‘Indian’ causes likes to throw out that “Kevin Annett is more deserving of a Nobel Prize than anyone who has received it in the past”? When I asked him about this, Chomsky replied:

    Haven’t followed Annett’s activities for many years. I’ve seen the “endorsement.” I don’t recall it, but it’s possible. Virtually anyone picked at random off the street could be endorsed in those words.

    Noam Chomsky

    Gee… how underwhelming!

    • Linda Solomon on June 13, 2013 at 15:28
    • Reply

    My name is LINDA SOLOMON AND I AM A PHOTOJOURNALIST / AUTHOR /– please clarify the title of the LINDA SOLOMON YOU ARE BLOGGING … This STORY PRESENTS CONFUSION AND A VERY NEGATIVE RESPONSE . I must ask you to identify the person you are writing about and make sure no one will think you have written about me !

    1. Are you in Canada?

    • Linda Solomon on June 17, 2013 at 19:26
    • Reply

    No , I am not in Canada . If you google my name , your blog pops up . This is creating confusion and not fair to me and my work . Please respect the importance of clarification .

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