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
- CBS News
It is always fun when members of our media complex take the time out of their regimen of criticizing Republicans and insulting conservatives in order to give glowing assessments of communist regimes and dictators extending their human rights abuses. The latest has CBS News giving us the fawning report of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un wowing his citizens on the red carpet.
We learn of his making an appearance at some celebration that his population witnessed via compulsory attendance, and the network gushed over the svelte appearance of the frequently corpulent leader in the nation of starving millions. It may seem odd to declare the oppressive leader who commands attention on the regular managed to surprisingly turn heads, but it looks as if the competition for the cameras was fierce.
“North Korea held a parade on Thursday showcasing military dogs and virus workers in orange hazmat suits, but leader Kim Jong Un still managed to seize the spotlight by looking thinner and more energetic than he has in years.”
Thinner, more energetic Kim Jong Un steals the spotlight at North Korea parade https://t.co/BXeiWQWvfS
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 10, 2021
Distinguished National Reporting
- Jennifer Bendery — Huffington Post
Maybe for many people, the story of zebras running wild in the Maryland-D.C. area is a curious story that will grab your attention, but I reside in Florida, and this would not normally even ping on our radar. Bendery however reports that there is a side component to this tale. US Representative Elenore Holmes Norton of the D.C. district released an official statement regarding the wild animals.
She officially went on the record to declare she was not responsible for the release, and did so without any major accusals coming out before her statement. Okay, now you have my attention. Norton even went so far as to state she had an alibi, and illustrated what her whereabouts were at the time of the zebra escape. Her unbidden denial, of course, now places her at the top of the list of suspects.
Zebras Are Running Loose Around D.C. and That Is Not the Weird Part https://t.co/GT6jQkZzdw
— RedState (@RedState) September 10, 2021
Distinguished Social Commentary
- Spencer Buell — Boston Magazine
This might fall under the category of items we should have thought of first. Up in the New England area, they have a seasonal food tradition — the apple cider donut. These delicacies pop up near the end of summer and at Boston Magazine they discovered an ideal guide for the season.
Throughout the region, these can be found at bakeries, farm stands, and roadside markets, and as they explain, “Cambridge’s Alex Schwartz is on a mission to hunt down, catalogue, map, and, importantly, sample every last one of them.” Schwartz has a website where he details the quality, flavor, and varying methods of preparation. The man is rather serious about his venture. At press time he was closing in on 200 entries at his site.
— Spencer Buell (@SpencerBuell) September 8, 2021
Distinguished Cultural Criticism
- Lisa Respers France — CNN
The lure of celebrity is real, and the need to report on them is addictive…but can we at least make a small demand that something actually worthwhile transpires in order to hear about them?! Ms. France gives us all the non-details of a time when Taylor Swift got together with Ed Sheeran. The entertainment pair went out one night. That’s it, that’s the report.
– “Two Grammy-winning artists walk into a bar and … apparently they just drank. That’s according to Ed Sheeran, who says he took his friend Taylor Swift to a pub and no one noticed.”
Thank you, Lisa. This edifying report has to qualify as the journalism equivalent of a rice cake.
"No one really clocked [that it was her]," Ed Sheeran said, recalling a time he took Taylor Swift to his local pub. "It was like a week later that the person behind the bar was like, 'Did you bring Taylor Swift in here last week?'" https://t.co/psh1D7N1NE
— CNN International (@cnni) September 13, 2021
Distinguished Explanatory Reporting
- Ariel Edwards-Levy, Jennifer Agiesta — CNN
While it is expected that polling data will be slanted from the networks and assumed that oversampling will take place in order to drive the numbers towards a preferred result, CNN took things to a new level in this regard.
In their report on what the mindset is among Republican voters in regards to Donald Trump and the 2024 election, CNN gave detailed insights into the voting base, showing what their preferences were for him to either vie for the White House once again or to serve as the party leader behind the scenes. One might even be impressed with their summation, had the news network actually spoken with Republicans. The sampling CNN used was so bad even Rasmussen was compelled to mock them over the selection process.
Found it: “Among the entire sample, 35% described themselves as Democrats, 29% described themselves as Republicans, and 36% described themselves as independents or members of another party.”
CNN’s 2020 election exit poll found Dems 37%, GOP 36% & Unaffiliated at 27%.
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) September 12, 2021
Distinguished Feature Writing
- Abdul Malik — Jacobin Magazine
It is not entirely clear why this reminiscing look at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games was published now, rather than when the Tokyo Games were on this past Summer — but then I am not a socialist, so what do I know about their agitprop publications? But what is curious about this historic look back is the sheer avoidance of history.
In the strained attempt to sell us on the concept that Cuba is a sports superpower, Malik notes how in 1972, Cuba took the Bronze medal in basketball, and Malik bemoans the fact that this accomplishment became overshadowed by the spectacle that was the controversial Russian defeat of the U.S. in the gold medal game. Sure, we suppose, some might say that was the reason — or maybe the terrorists who stormed the Olympic village and took Israeli athletes hostage, before killing them could be another reason.
In 1972, the Soviet Union beat the US in men’s Olympic basketball. The controversial victory has overshadowed the story of Cuba’s bronze medal at the very same games, and the remarkable socialist sports infrastructure that made the win possible. https://t.co/lkSROK2Yzb
— Jacobin (@jacobin) September 14, 2021