Our weekly recognition of less-than meritorious excellence in journalism worthy of Pulitzer consideration.
As an extension of a new media-mocking venture at Townhall, Riffed From The Headlines, we once again recognize the exalted performances in our journalism industry and compile worthy submissions to the Pulitzer Prize board in numerous categories. To properly recognize the low watermark in the press let us get right to the latest exemplars of journalistic mis-excellence.
Distinguished International Reporting
- Yagil Levy, The Washington Post
The recent conflict arising between Palestine and Israel has the media operating with its usual dose of restraint. Meaning; most of them find a problem with Israel becoming intemperate with being attacked. But it is bad enough the country is the focus of thousands of rockets launched its way by HAMAS, making it worse, it seems, is that the country’s defense system is just too damned effective!
At WaPo they looked at the very high success rate of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket defenses and found it is problematic.
Iron Dome up to this point has saved Israeli lives from Gaza rocket attacks, while enabling air campaigns against Palestinian citizens. But the reduced pressure to resolve the conflict with Gaza also means Iron Dome gives Israelis a false sense of security, based on technological success — which isn’t guaranteed forever — rather than political solutions.
If only there was just some way to make for a level playing field in this war, then the conflict would be fair!
Distinguished Cultural Criticism
- Mack Lamoreaux, Vice News
As more focus is placed on Israel for daring to avoid being victimized by HAMAS, over at Vice they really cut down to the essence of one of the simmering issues in the region: Israel is sending mean tweets!
The official account from The State of Israel posted a thread with rocket emojis, which sent a number of outlets and accounts into a frenzy of outrage. Actor Mark Ruffalo, for instance, called the display “obscene,” before deleting the tweet once he realized what was taking place. It pained the Vice writer once it was revealed why Israel was doing this — it was a representation of the 3,168 fired at Israel by HAMAS. Typed through gritted teeth, Lamoreaux noted-
The team running the State of Israel’s official Twitter account decided it would be a good idea to tweet out a bunch of rocket emojis, each one symbolizing (they said) a rocket shot by Hamas toward Israel.
Just to give you all some perspective, these👆are the total amount of rockets shot at Israeli civilians. Each one of these rockets is meant to kill. #IsraelUnderAttack
— Israel ישראל (@Israel) May 17, 2021
Distinguished Explanatory Reporting
- Shane Goldmacher, New York Times
As members of The Squad spent time last week excoriating Israel before the microphones the media mostly sat back and nodded. But then Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went so far as to have words of criticism for the Joe Biden administration as well, and suddenly there was a problem; there was an apparent rift in the Democratic Party. We cannot report on this!
Fear not, dear reporters — Mr. Goldmacher is here with something shiny to serve as a distraction. Instead of reporting on AOC’s problematic comments about our ally, or her harsh words for the President, Shane found something else to occupy column space. It seems that AOC’s campaign artwork has been inspirational to numerous other candidates in upcoming elections! (There, that ought to distract them.)
It appears that many were inspired by the upstart congresscritter — she used slanted script in her posters. Of course, heaping praise on her was in order, despite the quiet reality revealed deep in the article; she basically lifted the elements from socialist posters in the past.
The color palette and speech bubble in the final design drew inspiration from Rosie the Riveter. The poster with her outward gaze was drawn from a Cesar Chavez stamp. And the overall look came from boxing, farmworker unionizing and luchador posters.
This all arrives with zero surprises attached.
NEW: The iconography of @AOC — my dive into how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s logo has formed a new graphical language for progressivism.
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) May 14, 2021
Distinguished Editorial Writing
- David Mastio, USA Today
The vote to remove Liz Cheney from a senior leadership position in the party created an uproar in the media. (Note the distinction; there was little outrage, or concern even, within the GOP.) One of the more balanced, sane, not-at-all-unhinged commentaries came from this well-thought-out editorial — After ousting Liz Cheney, Republicans prove they’re a bigger threat than 9/11 hijackers.
After all, it is tough to refute this declaration when to date the death count between the May 12 vote and the September 11 attacks stands at 0 / 2,977 — but this still stands as “proof” of them being the greater danger.
Distinguished Investigative Reporting
- Sam Dean, The Los Angeles Times
For quite some time now a gentleman by the name of Richard Montanez has built up quite some kind of a reputation. The former executive from Frito Lay has carved out a lucrative post-career lifestyle based on his tenure with the company. He has been a featured speaker on the lecture circuit, has a second book on his career due for release next month, and his story is being adapted into a feature film. All of this is based on his reputation as the man who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Except — it has now been revealed that he probably did not invent the famed junk food. It turns out that for years the company promoted the stories made by Montanez, or encouraged them, or at least tolerated them. But in recent years others at the company began disputing the claim, and an internal investigation was conducted. Finally, the real story of these snacks can be told!
Exclusive: For years, Richard Montañez told the rags-to-riches story of how he invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. He’s built a career out of it with speaking events and a movie deal.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 16, 2021