Our weekly recognition of less-than meritorious excellence in journalism is worthy of Pulitzer consideration.
As an extension of the 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
- Craig Timberg, Cristiano Lima — Washington Post
You almost have sympathy for the press. It has been one of the astounding realities that the Taliban – the murderous terrorist outfit overtaking Afghanistan – has a presence on Twitter. Many journalists have been stumbling to rationalize this idiocy, but what is all the more astounding is that while a terrorist group is on Twitter, former President Trump is banned. He might do something dangerous, you see.
At WaPo, they actually went beyond this and looked into rationalizing how this reality has come to pass, and they came up with some impressive details. The Taliban, it seems, are pretty swell guys when it comes to social media.
For a group that espouses ancient moral codes, the Afghan Taliban has used strikingly sophisticated social media tactics to build political momentum. The tactics overall show such a high degree of skill that analysts believe at least one public relations firm is advising the Taliban on how to push key themes, amplify messages across platforms and create potentially viral images and video snippets.
Look guys, just calm down and send the group your resumes — they just happen to be in a hiring window at the moment.
Now, as for Trump, and his banishment from the same social media that tyrannical murderers can use with aplomb?
Trump’s posts for years challenged platform rules against hate speech and inciting violence. Today’s Taliban, by and large, does not.
Why Trump’s banned and the Taliban aren’t: they play by the rules. https://t.co/5y5no9ZnmN
— mark seibel (@markseibel) August 18, 2021
Distinguished Feature Writing
- Cara Korte — CBS News
Your refusal to buy a Prius has led to the terrorist takeover, and that has deeply impacted Joe Biden’s approval numbers. So says CBS News, which has really tapped into the driving force of the Taliban uprising and figured out how they have become such a force in Afghanistan. Climate change.
Hey, look — I’m just impressed they did not take the easy route on this one and blame it all on racism.
How climate change helped strengthen the Taliban https://t.co/1fbAU1K8Fp
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 20, 2021
Distinguished National Reporting
- Catherine Rampell — Washington Post
It takes an adroit mind to survey the geopolitical landscape and then process all of the variables presented during a multi-faceted and evolving news cycle and then distill these elements to a core component that can then be presented to the public in a cogent fashion. Ms. Rampell is no such mind. But, she is able to see the problems on display with President Biden’s abject incompetence with Afghanistan and come up with the blame for his actions.
It’s all Tucker Carlson’s fault!
Lots of explanations have been floated for why the Biden administration didn’t get more Afghan allies and refugees out before U.S. troops withdrew. Maybe the problem was disorganization. Maybe, as President Biden says, people “did not want to leave earlier”. There’s also a more stomach-churning possibility: that Biden didn’t evacuate Afghan allies sooner because he was afraid of what Fox News might say.
So the President the press has hailed as our genius savior for half a year has failed because he was afraid of the network the press has demonized as ignorant liars. That’s the argument, Catherine. Good luck with that.
One reason why the admin didn't get Afghan allies out sooner? Political cowardice. Biden feared a nativist backlash if he brought more Afghans to US soil, so he dragged his feet.
Just as he did earlier this year, when he delayed raising the refugee ceiling https://t.co/P9Xtzsmc7y
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) August 20, 2021
Distinguished Local Reporting
- Oli Coleman — New York Post
Dateline – Martha’s Vineyard
Esteemed lawyer Alan Dershowitz had an impromptu meeting with comedian/writer/Bernie Sanders doppelganger Larry David. Things may have escalated as a result.
The Harvard Law professor — who was once, like David, a fully paid-up member of the Democratic cool kids — bumped into the comic on the porch of the island’s picturesque convenience store and community hub Chilmark General Store. It seems that Alan Dershowitz’s ties to the Trump administration have made him persona non grata among the Martha’s Vineyard elite — including Larry David.
Witnesses reported that David was upset Dershowitz had shown politeness to Mike Pompeo, and the lawyer tried explaining that Pompeo was a former student. As David stormed off Dershowitz removed his t-shirt, revealing a second t-shirt with the Constitution printed on it.
— Page Six (@PageSix) August 18, 2021
Distinguished Cultural Commentary
- Jacob Gallagher — Wall Street Journal
As a result of the pandemic, there have been good and bad things that have emerged across the cultural spectrum. Our entertainment habits changed, our shopping practices were altered, and our social media politeness and kindness soared to new heights never before seen in this country. Apparently, there was another significant shift that I happened to miss; we as a nation became enamored with ugly shoes. It’s a trend! Or, a scourge…maybe? It’s not too clear.
Take a spin through a department store’s footwear floor and you’ll find a buffet of bizarre high-fashion shoes like a Bottega Veneta women’s $1,250 blocky wedge heel with red, chicken pox-like specks or J.W. Anderson’s unisex $645 leather mule with a gigundo Mr. T-esque gold chain across –…
Okay, okay – stop now. One paragraph in and already I can tell — it’s a scourge.
In the shoe market, weirdness has won.
~5ish years into this current era of extremely odd shoes, things just keep getting curiouser and curiouser
On Tabis, Keens, chicken-poxed Bottegas and Seussian Marnis @WSJLife
— Jacob Gallagher (@jacobwgallagher) August 21, 2021
Distinguished Social Commentary
- Jason Wilson — Games Beat
Over the past few weeks, you likely saw field reports out of Afghanistan by RedState’s own Hollie McKay or CNN’s Clarissa Ward. Now, before you get too filled with praise over the bravery of these reporters on display, let me place things in proper balance for you; they did not have to attend Boy Scout meetings.
Sure, a society is dissolving before their eyes into a morass of violence and inhuman conditions, but let me be the one to tell you, Jason Wilson has seen some horrors. Well, actually — I’ll just let Jason tell you.
Friends have their kids in Scouts. We go to the meet-and-greet and I shit you not, the pack mother didn’t wear a mask the whole time. I got so anxious that I had to leave.
— jason_wilson (@jason_wilson) August 21, 2021