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 Feature Writing
- Thomas Friedman — New York Times
It takes true skill to contradict oneself so thoroughly within a column, but only a former Pulitzer winner can do so within a paragraph this adroitly. In his glowing testament penned to Liz Cheney, columnist Thomas Friedman looked for a similar level of bravery seen on the Democrat side of things. Now bypassing the blatant paradox of hailing a GOP politician for opposing her party while scorching Democrats for doing the same thing at the same time, he manages to miss his own point.
“Are centrist Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema ready to risk not being re-elected the way Liz Cheney has by forging a substantive compromise to ensure that consequential election integrity, infrastructure and Build Back Better measures go forward? Or are they just the Democratic equivalents of the careerist hacks keeping Trump afloat — people so attached to their $174,000 salaries and free parking at Reagan National Airport that they will risk nothing?”
What Friedman characterizes as playing things “safe” is actually following the wishes of their own voters. What the writer misses is that as he demands they preserve our democracy they need to do so by — doing the undemocratic thing and defying the intentions of their constituents.
Do Democrats Have the Courage of Liz Cheney? https://t.co/byN9vibZE7
— Thomas L. Friedman (@tomfriedman) September 29, 2021
Distinguished National Reporting
- Jeff Goodell — Rolling Stone
On the topic of the rebellious Senators, far too many in the press are hysterically pretending they are the only politicians in D.C. opposing Joe Biden’s dream legislation, and not a majority of 52 Senators. Taking things to a melodramatic extreme is Jeff Goodell, who has declared that Joe Manchin — and Joe Manchin alone — is poised to condemn every living on the planet to a hellscape of destruction and death.
While everyone would agree this is rather hysterical, most would suggest that Goodell was hyperbolic to draw some attention. Seriously, he does not actually believe this. He was not being literal when he said…–
Oh, wait. He was.
– “West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin just cooked the planet. I don’t mean that in a metaphorical sense. I mean that literally.”
Joe Manchin just cooked the planet. https://t.co/aAB6o3OUhL
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) October 1, 2021
Distinguished Political Cartoons
- Matt Wuercker — Politico
Not to be outdone in the exaggerated import applied to just two Senators, Wuercker follows along with the thinking that they are the only ones who wield power in D.C. Now granted, this is considered to be a political satire and thus not to be taken literally, but the sheer amount of ignorance needed to sell this impression means it is a failed attempt. Basically, to find the amusement here, you need to have a stunted grasp on politics that is below “Schoolhouse Rock” levels of understanding.
Give Wuercker some credit, however; his cartoon manages to actually display just how ridiculous the collective thinking on the matter has been.
Since a couple Senators have such outsized influence maybe we need a more accurate map of our political geography…. pic.twitter.com/JpiESQi8eL
— Matt Wuerker (@wuerker) October 1, 2021
Distinguished International Reporting
- Patrick Reilly — New York Post
On the topic of global calamities, news out of Europe has shaken us to the marrow. Occasionally, we get a news report that really casts the proper perspective on just how much we have lost culturally as a result of the global pandemic. This is not such a news report. Although, technically this shows how the pandemic is no laughing matter.
— New York Post (@nypost) October 3, 2021
Distinguished Explanatory Reporting
- Wolf Blitzer — CNN
It was pretty ridiculous, and ridiculously petty, when the media stampeded in front of the cameras to honor the 6-month “anniversary” of the Capitol riot. Well, today there was an even more strained and asinine attempt to keep that storyline alive. Wolf Blitzer was brave enough to — get this — go outside at the nation’s capital, on this 9-month anniversary of the event.
We are pleased to report that Wolf made it back to the studio, incident-free. This means the media retains its perfect record of reporting on events that delivered no violence taking place since the riot they cannot shut up about, for even a week.
Nine months ago today – on Jan. 6, 2021 – an angry mob attacked the U.S. Capitol. I walked around the complex today and it was very calm. As you know, the perimeter security fence is gone – at least for now. pic.twitter.com/RnZux8JNpX
— Wolf Blitzer (@wolfblitzer) October 6, 2021
Distinguished Cultural Criticism
- Addy Baird — BuzzFeed
One of the tiresome aspects in the press is dealing with all the lectures about how divisive we are as a nation. Of course, just as tiresome can be when the press gets upset at signs of us coming together. At BuzzFeed, Addy Baird saw the annual Congressional Baseball Game being played and she saw nothing but problematics with this traditional event aimed at bipartisanship, charity, and creating relationships across the political divide.
After invoking the January 6 riot, and the 2017 shooting of Steve Scalise, Baird also asks one other divisive question. But isn’t it strange, I’ve been asking Democratic lawmakers, to play against Greene in a charity game about bipartisanship — given, you know, all of it?
Seriously, like with this, I can’t even.
I tried to write something fun about baseball and politics, but in the end it was just kinda sad again https://t.co/u5VCmV7Zrk
— Addy Baird (@addysbaird) September 29, 2021
Distinguished International Reporting
- Jennifer Hassan — Washington Post
Celebrities are often forgotten to also be human. They experience the same problems and traumas as some of us endure while being mere human beings. Of course, this also means that when they experience these otherwise regular occurrences they do so in a rather elevated fashion.
For example, when simple folks are mugged of their belongings it barely registers as news. When it is a celebrity it becomes newsworthy, and also — because they are celebrities — the mugging has to be special in nature. Take for instance when singer Shakira was a recent crime victim; not only was it news when her purse was snatched, but it had to be the work of wild boars, elevating the crime to SUPER EXTRA BIG NEWS!
Shakira says wild boars in Barcelona attacked her and stole her purse https://t.co/SMsCqBQiB6
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 30, 2021