He had two faces, one leg, and no principles. He was a sycophant, a dabbler in the occult, in drugs, in sexual orgies. He was a habitual liar, a serial adulterer, a lout. Of all Generalissimo Joseph Stalin’s useful idiots, he was the most useful, and the most idiotic.
And he was one of the most prominent journalists of his time.
Indeed, Walter Duranty not only served as the New York Times’s point man in Moscow, he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1937 for his mendacious reportage. Acting simultaneously as “objective” newspaperman and apologist for the Bolsheviks, he denied the Holodomor,
Stalin’s deliberate, deadly starvation of some 12 million Ukrainians, which he knew to be true. In dispatch after dispatch, Duranty acted as Stalin’s sock puppet, labeling eyewitness accounts of mass murder as “malignant propaganda.” Seven decades later, the Pulitzer committee and the Times acknowledged as much. Yet neither institution has seen fit to revoke the award.
This flamboyant self-promoter would make an ideal subject for the stage, and it’s a wonder dramatists have ignored him for so long. Happily, the wait is over. Scenarist Sheryl Longin has collaborated with novelist and polemicist Roger L. Simon to create a compelling two-act play, The Party Line...Suggested title for eventual play about Barack Obama: The Dhimmi Worse Than Jimmy.