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 Social Criticism
- Chris Cillizza, CNN
In the desire to ‘prove’ that the so-called far-right news networks (those being Newsmax and One America News Network) are beholden to conspiracies, the always cerebral pundit Chris Cillizza pointed to a recent survey. In it, he found one pull-statistic: 40% of those who said they rusted the ‘far-right’ news networks also believed theories from Qanon.
The problem — once you actually look into the metrics of the survey you discover how few people actually are viewers of the two networks. In the end, of the over 5,000 people who were surveyed, the amount of those who said they agreed with Qanon was only 67 — a figure nearly matched by those who said they trusted CNN, which was 62.
Distinguished Local Reporting
- Edward Murphy, The Portland Press Herald (Maine)
No one is more shocked than ourselves — because no one is really all that shocked…
Distinguished Explanatory Reporting
- Brianna Keilar, CNN
The arrival of the generational scourge that is the cicadas has — for some reason — many news outlets promoting the idea of using the bugs as a foodstuff. Great idea; we are just about to emerge from a pandemic lockdown, so why not encourage people to start gnawing on some flying larval infestations who have been ensconced in the mire and muck for over a decade?!
On New Day, Keilar hosted a cooking segment with a supposed gourmet expert on the preparations of these insects, and in promoting the video, the hostess makes this bold declaration about her show’s reputation. I can only take this to mean that her program is only a valid source of information every 17 years.
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) May 31, 2021
Distinguished Feature Writing
- Sandra Gutierrez, POPULAR SCIENCE
Maybe hinging your ‘scientific’ analysis on a 15-year-old Burger King commercial is a poor move. Maybe blaming meat-loving men today for the actions of their cavemen forebears defies some clinical study. But mainly, we would say that basing your findings of problematics behind carnivorous males on the rantings of a feminist vegan led to this study going off the rails.
— Popular Science (@PopSci) May 31, 2021
Distinguished National Reporting
- Laura Jarrett, CNN
When Marjorie Taylor Greene affects you this badly, maybe a vacation is needed. Here is a news segment that must have been scripted by sit-com writers, as there is no other explanation for the abject lack of self-awareness on display. On the CNN pre-dawn show Early Start, they continued on with the insistent coverage of MTG but did so in curious fashion – they insisted how they were above covering the controversial congresswoman, and they rushed to cover the controversial congresswoman in breathless fashion.
Jarrett insists, sternly, how on their program they do not fall into the outrage trap of covering minor members of Congress who say absurd things – and then spends the next few minutes acidly delivering details on some of the absurd things MTG has said. While insisting they will not be baited into covering all the outlandish comments by MTG, why then were they inspired to ferret out and display on screen an offensive tweet MTG had deleted?
And just to underscore how this report took on the jilted tone of someone who insists they are so over their former lover; during the entire segment when they declare they will not be lured into the outrage trap, the chyron displayed read, Deranged & Dangerous.
On this program… we don’t fall for the outrage trap where minor members of Congress try to get attention by saying something absurd and fundraise off it.
But THIS had to be said. pic.twitter.com/IAO7JqvNXM
— CNN Early Start (@EarlyStart) May 26, 2021
Distinguished Cultural Commentary
- Jessica Neises, VANITY FAIR
Maybe not trying too hard at your job is the hot, new trend? With people once again ready to be able to leave the house, and doing so in the shimmery, upcoming season, the cagey fashion police at Vanity Fair believe they have picked up on the hot, new fashion item on the horizon. With people outside, and it being summer, they have nailed down the must-have style choice. It is…uh…sunglasses.
Now it would take a cynic to point out that most of the styles in this feature are listed for hundreds of dollars, and that the links to the various selections are provided so the periodical can get their cut of all the sales. For the record, I am that cynic.
Sunglasses are sure to be the most essential accessory for the summer of re-emergence. https://t.co/xYMlb3T4UT
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) May 26, 2021