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 Explanatory Reporting
- Bill Weir — CNN
Currently, there is a group of kids protesting outside the White House on behalf of climate change. They are staging a hunger strike to force legislation to be passed to save the planet from an apocalypse that was promised generations ago. (Hey, cut them some slack, they are dumb kids.) CNN’s Bill Weir is striving for Chris Cillizza-level notoriety by declaring that what these kids are experiencing is far worse than what Gandhi had to endure when he protested in kind.
Understand, his absorbing personal attacks, being spat on, beaten, and tossed into prison does not measure up to these teens being flamed on Twitter and mocked with Tik Tok videos!
The responses to the posts on @HungerStr1ke show the insult-to-injury digital culture. Gandhi and Cesar Chavez never had to deal with videos of hecklers eating doughnuts while mocking their motives. https://t.co/m1bcwuxgi2
— Bill Weir (@BillWeirCNN) October 27, 2021
Distinguished National Reporting
- Lux Alptraum — NBC News
It was not so long ago when Kyrsten Sinema was being heralded for being a newly elected Senator from the LGBTQ community. It was landmark; it was historical; it was deeply important. But that has all changed because she is not turning over the keys to the Monopoly money printing machine for Joe Biden to fund his pipedream infrastructure project. NOW Sinema, the bi-partisan-curious Senator from Arizona is seen as being bad for the community.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 27, 2021
Distinguished Cultural Commentary
- Jim Swift — The Bulwark
I don’t want to imply that at the infamous anti-Trump outlet they have run out of ammunition to go after Kyrsten Sinema — so I’ll just show you that this is the case. A recall effort will be imminent, based on “Who Wore It Better” editorials any day now.
Preceding Sen. Sinema in horrible outfits worn in the U.S. Senate are Ted Cruz and John Ensign. I hate to give either of them credit, but neither pulled this shit as presiding officer. Sinema should be ashamed.
— Jim Swift (@JimSwiftDC) October 26, 2021
Distinguished International Reporting
- Zeke Miller — Associated Press
Breaking news — The State Department has announced it will begin issuing passports with a gender designation of “X” for those non-binary individuals. That Miller did not resort to anything beyond straightforward details on this matter makes him a stronger individual than myself.
WASHINGTON (AP) — US official: US to issue its first passport with an 'X' gender marker for those who don't identify as male or female.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) October 27, 2021
Distinguished Sports Reporting
- Gabe Fernandez — SanFrancisco Gate
Hey, we can forgive him for not covering the game. The Monday Night Football contest between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers was already a strain of interest, but a constant heavy rain made the game more unwatchable. Evidence of this was the extensive camera coverage of the fans left in attendance, with one meriting particular interest. As the rain came down, a young fan was seen wearing a swimming cap and goggles while in his seat.
We’ll save you a click. The “Full Story” is the fan brought the props with him to the game, and then he put those on and took off his shirt. That is pretty much it.
I got a chance to speak this kid's very proud dad about the costume that even got Al Michaels chuckling https://t.co/t8hJdibnlM
— Gabe Fernandez, but spooky (@thelatinochild) October 26, 2021
Distinguished Investigative Reporting
Jeremy B. Merril, Will Oremus — Washington Post
The press has the knives out for Facebook in the wake of a whistleblower complaint about the internal operations at the platform. What really has the news outlets enraged is that so many right-leaning sources are among the biggest traffic receivers, and this needs to be stopped, of course. One recent report in the Washington Post exposes how Facebook engineers drive higher engagement.
It has been revealed that they place a higher premium on user reactions that were negative, giving those posts more exposure and churning more user involvement as a result. This was done by placing a score on emojis and feeding that data into the algorithm. Literally, this meant that an “angry face” emoji would get a higher measurement than positive reactions, and posts that enraged people would be seen by more users.
Facebook secretly weighted reaction emojis, including "angry," as 5x the value of "likes"–over the integrity team's warnings.
We wrote about the obscure, often arbitrary, human decisions that shape Facebook's algorithm and how we all interact online: https://t.co/CdsciNOpQV
— Will Oremus (@WillOremus) October 26, 2021