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 Cultural Criticism
- Ashley Fetters, The Washington Post
For half the country, we are celebrating to easing of mask mandates. But for the other half – women – it is the start of oppression. Fetters details for us how the removal of the facial coverings is going to lead to a social horror — people suggesting you gals smile more.
“With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent announcement that fully vaccinated individuals can mostly ditch their masks, glowers and frowns are set to make their return to society — and so are the annoying-at-best, threatening-at-worst comments that people often feel entitled to make about them.”
This is the unintentional result that many women are going to be facing, a social fate as problematic as the pandemic.
“So for women like Mandelare-Ruiz, a year’s reprieve from uninvited demands for smiles has been liberating. ‘It’s been nice that I don’t have to worry as much about being approachable,'” she says.”
This serves as a great lesson for many of us; we need to be made aware of the challenges that going maskless will have for those suffering from RBF.
Distinguished Headline Writing
- Grace Panetta, Business Insider
Look, the coverage of redistricting in the state of Montana, and that state’s apportionment of House seats as a result of those re-conscripted boundaries can get a little dry, as far as content can go. It also can lead to low reader engagement; that is just not that compelling of a topic to get people clicking into an article. So, why not sex the piece up just a bit by dangling a hot celebrity connection or two into the mix?!
It’s like putting whipped cream on a carrot cake — do what’s needed to get that thing consumed, we say.
This feels like they have cut down on staff and are forced to start condensing content for time purposes. pic.twitter.com/ETSxzA4BvI
— Brad Slager – Social Toper and Media Antagonist (@MartiniShark) May 25, 2021
Distinguished Feature Writing
- Matt Kassan, National Public Radio
Currently, we are experiencing the 17-year cycle of cicadas emerging from the ground. As these subterranean insects are making themselves known, there is much to learn about them, such as the fact some of them can become affected by a naturally occurring Viagra.
Some of them are getting wilder in their short lives above ground. A fungus called Massospora, which can produce compounds of cathinone — an amphetamine — infects a small number of them and makes them lose control. It pushes their mating into hyperdrive.
Sounds like a good enough time, right? Well as you should know by now, nature is a cruel mistress.
The fungus takes over their bodies, causing them to lose their lower abdomen and genitals. The cicadas rise from the ground, the spores of the fungus start to infect the bug. Once it’s above ground and starts to shed its skin to become an adult, its butt falls off.
This is the old Faustian Bargain writ biological.
Distinguished Public Service
- Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News
With a salmonella outbreak adding to our national distemper, some advisories have gone out to help protect people from contracting the scourge. However, this is not about safe kitchen preparation, or avoiding a particular crop of foodstuffs. This outbreak is centered on live chickens, and this was a rather particular warning being sent out.
Safety tips shared by the public health agency include having hand sanitizer near your coop and frequently washing hands after touching poultry. Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry.
Well, this certainly will not help us out with the old chicken-or-the-egg paradox. If we are prevented from engaging in romantic involvements with our poultry then we make never learn which c– [editor note — We censored the balance of this particular entry for sake of good taste. ]
Distinguished International Reporting
- Peter Doocy, Fox News
During a press event with visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-In, Biden was wrapping up the presser when Peter Doocy of Fox News asked if he could have one last question.
“If you’re not asking me a mean one like you usually do,” the president replied bravely. Doocy brought up some of the recent news items regarding official military accounts of mysterious aircraft on record.
“It’s actually something interesting, I think, that has not come up. President Obama says that there is footage and records of objects in the skies, these unidentified aerial phenomena. And he says, ‘We don’t know exactly what they are.’ What do you think that it is?” Biden faced this decidedly not-mean question and replied, “I would ask him again. Thank you,” and then ended the conference.
Distinguished Investigative Reporting
- White House Press Corps
An unknown reporter — who WILL be tracked down — gave some probing queries Monday at the press briefing.
The reporter dug into some of the vital specifics all Americans need to know. “What could you tell us about the president’s health regime?” Now, this held some promise, as it was possible we’d get some probing questions about mysterious health maladies, or possibly expose some of the long-speculated issues on Joe Biden’s mental acuity. This could be gripping!
It was notably not gripping.
“What sort of weights is he lifting, does he have a personal trainer? And what happened to his Peloton bike – did he bring it to the White House?” There is only one thing more insipid than this line of questioning; watch how when served up this underhand beachball of a question Jen Psaki still could not respond directly and instead gave her trademarked non-answer.
Reporter asks Press Sec. Jen Psaki if Biden has a Peloton bike at the White House:
“I can tell you, having traveled with him a fair amount, sometimes he's hard to keep up with." pic.twitter.com/K2i9BbaWeh
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 24, 2021
Distinguished Journalistic Photography
- Alexey Pavlishak, Reuters
Now, this is a 1,000 words-type image. Kudos.
— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) May 24, 2021