From time to time, members of the Legislature stand up at the state capital to celebrate the achievements of their constituents. I recall Sen. Betty Little doing this for The Post-Star several years ago when we were celebrating a hundred years of community service.
A year ago, Art Cullen, the editor of the Storm Lake Times in Iowa was honored with a Pulitzer Prize in journalism. Two months ago a resolution was offered up in the Iowa Senate to recognize Cullen and his Pulitzer Prize-winning work.
Keep in mind, Cullen not only works at a small weekly newspaper, he works at a tiny newspaper. As editor, he not only writes editorials, he covers news and lays out the front page. For him to win journalism’s most prestigious prize is an amazing accomplishment.
But not all the politicians in Iowa agree.
The Pulitzer board praised Cullen for “editorials fueled by tenacious reporting, impressive expertise and engaging writing that successfully challenged powerful corporate agricultural interests in Iowa.”
Apparently, many of those agricultural interests are well-connect politically. Over the years, Cullen’s work has rubbed many Iowa politicians the wrong way. So Cullen’s congratulatory Senate resolution remains stalled in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.
Essentially, it was the political equivalent of, “That will show him.”
When Cullen was informed by the Des Moines Register – which coincidentally won the Pulitzer for editorial writing this year - he burst out laughing and said, “Excellent. That is so fantastic. That is so juvenile. I just think it is so petty. I mean, they honor people for winning the street cleaner of the year award. The Pulitzer is just newspaper people patting themselves on the back. But if they don’t want to honor me, that’s OK.”
Apparently, Washington isn’t the only place where the politicians lack character.