Pulitzer Prize Parody Nominations: Cillizza Choked, Taliban Ain't Woke, and McFlurry's Are Broken

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 Public Service

  • Peter Wade – Rolling Stone Magazine

The big news over the weekend was how the music magazine set off a wildfire of news coverage about Oklahoma hospitals being overrun with patients who were poisoned taking ivermectin medication. The touching aspect was the detail that gunshot victims were made to wait in the parking lot because of a lack of beds and ambulance services, which were all consumed with ivermectin patients.

The best aspect of this debunked fable comes with the second correction the magazine had to run regarding this baseless news item. Considering the tidal wave of cases that were alleged to be flooding the emergency rooms, The magazine declared, “Rolling Stone has been unable to independently verify any such cases…”

Distinguished Explanatory Reporting

  • Chris Cillizza — CNN

You might understand how some journalists are conflicted between enjoying the return of American normalcy with having to act like a pompous contrarian condemning those enjoying their liberties. Chris Cillizza actually stripped his gears with the paradox this weekend.


While it is always a marvel to see journalists take a position that is in opposition to a previous stance they had on the very same subject, Chris Cillizza just took this to a new level. CNN’s star reporter managed to display both the worst and the best interpretation of events…within the span of about a day.

Cillizza retweeted a Politico article detailing how the country is struggling with COVID because of all the massive public gatherings and socializing taking place. Grave stuff, and a sign of Chris having a sober approach to the pandemic. Then again, he was also displaying how great it was to see the massive crowd at the University of Wisconsin vs. Penn State football game — just five tweets earlier on his timeline. It truly was the best of times AND the worst of times.

Distinguished International Reporting

  • Celine Castronuovo — The Hill

It might be difficult to grasp how much of a problematic force the Taliban actually could be in Afghanistan. Considering the suicide bombs, streetside assassinations, door-to-door hunting down of dissidents, and the overall terror they inflict on the populace you could be murky in your assessment of the new leadership.

Well, The Hill arrives to deliver a message from the State Department that illustrates just how nefarious this group might be — they are simply not woke enough!


The State Department on Tuesday expressed concerns over the makeup of the new interim Afghan government announced by the Taliban, including the lack of female leaders and the past actions of some of those appointed to top posts. “We have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government,” a spokesperson added.

Distinguished National Reporting

  • John Berman — CNN

Getting into the heart of the COVID social dilemma, John Berman, on the CNN morning show New Day, had on 14-year-old Fiona Downey, and her mother. The Vermont student was interviewed because CNN felt that her steps in taking a stand on the masking and vaccination issues were deeply trenchant and vital for their dwindling audience to hear about this morning.

Young Fiona is changing minds and converting the unvaccinated. There are anti-mask protestors near her school, and she entered the debate in stirring fashion.

“OK, so the protesters are there every single day. And they come over and they just hold up their signs and for me, I was just fed up and I was filled with anger. And I just decided to give them the finger, because I thought it was the best thing I could do.”

And CNN thought this was the best guest they could find to display the most cerebral argument in the COVID debates.


Distinguished Investigative Reporting

  • CBS News

The COVID surge is affecting numerous parts of the country, and CBS News has found one hospital that is experiencing a forlorn staff and taxed services. How best to convey this to the viewers? How do you express to them that waiting times of hours is bad, but it does not sound bad enough???

They hit upon the answer with this sterling headline.

And if that doesn’t work at convincing people, you can always say they had to wait “Tens of thousands of seconds!”

Distinguished Local Reporting

  • ABC 33/40 News – Tuscaloosa

Maybe if the reporter, and editor, and photojournalist had held a meeting, they could have gotten to the bottom of this story. In a report on the ending of the federal unemployment benefits it was noted how many of the support programs were being curtailed, but at no point was it mentioned how there is a worker crisis with about 10 million positions left opened, and 50% of small businesses struggling to find employees.

It is curious that, as the copy struggled to come up with a solution, this particular detail is showcased in the header picture of the story.

Distinguished Coverage of Frozen Desserts

  • Heather Haddon — Wall Street Journal

Earning plaudits this week in Joe Biden’s newly-formed category is this report on how the Federal Trade Commission is investigating the McDonald’s Corporation. This is not over shady business practices with its menu, collusive price-fixing, nor the minimum wage battle.

The FTC is looking into the issue of why so many stores have their ice cream and McFlurry machines broken.



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