LET ME BE THE FIRST to congratulate Claudia Rosett on the receipt of her 2005 Pulitzer Prize. I am uncertain in which category she will win the honor (there are at least six--public service, investigative reporting, breaking news, national reporting, international reporting, and commentary for which she qualifies). She ought to be honored in multiple categories, in fact, for rarely has a single journalist had the run of productivity that Rosett assembled in 2004, and which continues today.
Of course it is possible that the press poobahs will pass Rosett by when the 2005 Pulitzers are announced on April 4 at 3:00 p.m. After all, the Academy gave the Oscar to Shakespeare in Love, not Saving Private Ryan. The Pulitzers are a uniquely politicized set of awards, now under the increased burden of brushing up the reputation of the increasingly decrepit mainstream media.
Not that it matters. Rosett's attachment to the cause of the oppressed and the enslaved has already won her international acclaim among human rights activists, and her dogged pursuit of the oil-for-food-for-dictators scandals at the United Nations pushed that story in all of its mind-numbing complexity into the media mainstream, where it has done more to set in motion long overdue oversight of the United Nations than all of the previous blue ribbon reports and congressional hearings combined. She dug. She reported. And she did it long before it became fashionable to push Kofi to answer tough questions.
Rosett is the journalist-in-residence at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and a columnist for OpinionJournal.com, as well as a contributor to many other outlets. Her biography demonstrates that she is a reporter's reporter, but it is her passion for those who have no voice and no free press that sets her apart from the pack.
Rosett covers the despots of North Korea and the Middle East as well as the crooked sermon-givers at the United Nations. She follows the dissidents who are behind bars in many countries, and never lets up trying to bring light into dark dungeons. This week she reported from downtown Beirut, just as she had reported from Beijing in 1989 as Tiananmen Square became code for brutal repression.
Bloggers and Internet columnists often find easy marks in the ranks of old media, so they ought to pause and hold up for admiration and emulation those who do the job that a free press was intended to do. Claudia Rosett is as "old media" as they get, and the single best advertisement for what journalism can be when practiced with skill and passion.
Whether or not the Pulitzer committee recognizes Rosett for her incredible contribution to freedom through her superb journalism over the past few years, those who follow the media know she is the standard setter.
Hugh Hewitt is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show, and author most recently of Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That is Changing Your World. His daily blog can be found at HughHewitt.com.