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
- Vice News
In just the latest example of the media defying their own lectures about heeding medical professionals and following the science, Vice News attempted to deliver a treatise on the importance of vaccines. The issue — in doing so, they managed to defy science, the CDC, most medical experts, and generations of medical study, all to come off sounding like they were the learned professionals worthy of being listened to on the subject.
Just a reminder that the press always lectures about following the science, then gets mad whenever the science defies their narrative, and offers their own version of medical advice when it suits their need. pic.twitter.com/BECTcnHSPz
— Brad Slager – Focused On Lasers (@MartiniShark) September 29, 2021
Distinguished Explanatory Reporting
- Zach Stanton — Politico
As the fringe wingnuts in politics are becoming more diminished, one thing is clear — the press loves the extremists. Q-anon, Mike Lindell, the election recounters — even as fewer people follow these sources, they all have a permanent audience with our mainstream media. The latest comes from Politico, where they address the issue of condemning these conspiracy theorists by…uncorking their own conspiracies.
There may be no better way to dispel the rigged election theorists than by delivering this tinfoil hat/nanite drones-in-the-vaccine-level of kook thinking from Rick Hansen:
“You could look at 2020 as the nadir of American democratic processes, or you could look at it as a dress rehearsal. The rhetoric is so overheated that I think it provides the basis for millions of people to accept an actual stolen election as payback for the falsely claimed earlier ‘stolen’ election. People are going to be more willing to cheat if they think they’ve been cheated out of their just desserts.”
And then on Sunday, @zackstanton for @POLITICOMag @politico had an in-depth Q and A with me on the risk of election subversion, with the provocative yet accurate title, “What If 2020 Was Just a Rehearsal?” https://t.co/A45J7HtG7o /14
— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) September 27, 2021
Distinguished Social Criticism
- David Folkenflik – National Public Radio
We are bound to descend into a rabbit hole of commentary when a media correspondent from one outlet attempts to defend another media analyst from another network from the venal attacks by Fox News. NPR’s media expert saw the evil empire tweeting out details about Brian Stelter’s eroding ratings, and Mr. Folkenflik saw a grave offense taking place.
This is sent out by Fox News's primary Twitter account – 20MM+ followers – simply to disparage a rival media host who is frequently critical of the rhetoric on Fox.
Zero separation of news/PR here. https://t.co/u8YVEBrLCj
— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) September 28, 2021
Now it goes without saying that Stelter is such an obsessive when it comes to Fox News that a restraining order might be the best thing — for his own emotional health. But just to help Mr. Folkenflik out here, he might have to direct outrage at Stelter for mentioning ratings — OF FOX, NO LESS!!! — and even CNN, for their repeated coverage of ratings from the parent account.
Let's be sure that CNN is out of line whenever they bring up ratings on their primary account.
— Brad Slager – Focused On Lasers (@MartiniShark) September 28, 2021
Distinguished Investigative Reporting
- Andrew Beaujon — The Washingtonian
Many of you may be surprised to learn that there is a Peloton social media platform, and not just because most do not own these expensive stationary bike workout devices. Even those who own a spin-class rider of their own may be unaware, given that the accounts do little more than inform others when you are online, and permit others to only click a button to deliver a ‘high-five.’
Well at the Washington-based magazine, there has been a lingering mystery they chased down, and they got to the bottom of who it was behind the Peloton account of the Washington Post. It is even less intriguing than the concept betrays.
Who, exactly, was behind the Washington Post‘s Peloton account? We spoke with the creator of perhaps one of the publication's more offbeat social media initiatives.https://t.co/A7acCtiZ1I
— Washingtonian (@washingtonian) September 22, 2021
Distinguished Breaking News
- Tim Peterson — Digiday
The media and marketing outlet Digiday had an extensive study on the broadcast networks making a transition to streaming with their news divisions. In this, we learned that CBS News, with an eye on their streaming future, was transforming their branding of the various news options…sort of, we think. The announcement was sent out that numerous naming changes were taking place.
- The news streaming division “CBSN” becomes “CBS News”
- “CBS This Morning” becomes “CBS Mornings”
- “CBS This Morning: Saturday” becomes “CBS Saturday Morning.”
This landmark rebranding is so revolutionary that there is a decent chance that some people might even notice the change.
Distinguished National Reporting
- Tom Kertscher — PolitiFact
You have to wonder just how diligent our nation’s fact-checkers really are with ferreting out the important details that drive our lives. Last week, there were rampant lies in the press regarding border agents allegedly whipping migrants at the border. These warriors of the truth were not so concerned with that widespread lie, but they did occupy themselves with determining that certain photographs from The Met Gala were inaccurate, whether a funeral home was advertising for people to not get vaccinated.
In that realm, PolitiFact tells us that claims that the Georgia chapter of the NAACP wants to have the images of Confederate generals sandblasted off of the famed Stone Mountain edifice are completely false. You may be confused, however, to see the outlet open up their explanation with this comment: “The president of the Atlanta NAACP said his chapter has called for the carving to be removed.”
Turns out, although they do want to see the historic relief taken down, they do not call for it to be done via sandblasting. So, anyone claiming that is the method called for to censor our history is trafficking in falsehoods.
A viral image says the NAACP wants" the Confederate Memorial Carving "sandblasted off Stone Mountain."
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) September 28, 2021