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
- Miami Herald Bot — Miami Herald
The Florida press has been a collection of unhinged barking lapdogs when it comes to Governor Ron DeSantis, and the most rabid of the state papers has been the Miami Herald. This is why it was with sheer amusement that the announcement was recently made they have employed a robot reporter. Specifically, they now use an artificial intelligence program to dispatch real estate notices.
There were a number of jokes springing to mind regarding the improvement of the reporting, and such, but no better gag could have been written than this: One day recently, the robot had the most widely read article on the newspaper’s website.
Our top read story today pic.twitter.com/p6zNf58jXS
— David Ovalle (@DavidOvalle305) November 1, 2021
Distinguished Cultural Commentary
- Jennifer Finley Boylan – New York Times
I love the idea of a writers’ meeting at the New York Times where a managing editor turns to his scribes and asks what aspects of our culture have yet to be canceled. One reporterette meekly raises a hand, unsteadily suggests classic rock music, and the editor bellows his approval loudly and instructs her to run with it.
It is about the only explanation for this stunted thinkpiece on the horrors of the music you may hear on the oldies station in your area.
– “For a lot of baby boomers, it’s painful to realize that some of the songs first lodged in our memories in adolescence really need a second look. And it’s hard to explain why younger versions of ourselves ever thought they were OK in the first place.”
Imagine that – a rebellious art form is not adhering to your safe-space sensitivities. We need to pass a law that for ANY column, editorial, lecture, or thinkpiece that can use the phrase ‘It’s time we take a look at…’ in its subheader, that writer is banished for one year from producing content.
— Ilan Berman (@ilanberman) November 4, 2021
Distinguished National Reporting
- Nancy Cook — Bloomberg News
Look, we understand that on the beat of covering the President you are hard-pressed for content when he is on vacation. It is perfectly acceptable to not file a report when there is nothing to report. We do not need to know that while vacationing — Joe and Jill Biden went for a walk.
Here’s a helpful tip: Placing the words “The President and First Lady” in front of quotidian tasks does not elevate those tasks into being newsworthy. Let me show you, Nancy. The President and First Lady talked with their neighbor regarding the irrigation trench on their property line.
The President and First Lady received an HOA letter announcing recyclables would be picked up on a different day starting next month.
The President and First Lady bought scratch-off lottery tickets.
See now, how these reports are not landing the desired blow?
President Biden and Dr. Biden went for a walk on Rehoboth Beach this afternoon, along with 19 secret service agents and a large Coast Guard ship just offshore. pic.twitter.com/69eYXthQja
— Nancy Cook (@nancook) November 7, 2021
Distinguished National Criticism
- Nicole Hemmer — CNN
On Brian Stelter’s ever-ironically titled show Reliable Sources, he had a panel on to discuss the nature of the proposed Joe Biden spending bills and what the national reaction to those has been. One panelist was CNN contributing historian Nicole Hemmer, who tried to pontificate where the burden of knowledge rested on this matter. Brian had to be happy that she gave the press barely a mention, but it was done at the expense of common sense.
It is unclear how consumers of media have a much greater level of responsibility than the media themselves, but she did her proper signaling on Brian’s media cheerleading program.
A recent poll "showed that 57% of people had no idea what was in the Build Back Better bill."
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 7, 2021
Distinguished Investigative Reporting
- Tommy Christopher — Mediaite
In a reflexive defense of Joe Biden, Mediaite’s own flub machine, Tommy Christopher, boldly disputes that the president referred to the great baseball pitcher Satchel Paige as a “Negro,” contradicting the reports from outlets such as our own.
That Christopher would try to dispute what is easily seen on video is one thing, but he also provided the transcript, where Joe’s malaprop is printed for all — including Tommy — to see. Do not believe your lying eyes and ears, Mr. Christopher is here to set the record wrong.
You literally have the transcript in the article – you can say he didn’t mean it or he slipped up but it’s right there. pic.twitter.com/HD3yZZZh5x
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) November 11, 2021
Distinguished Feature Writing
- Nell Greenfieldboyce — National Public Radio
In coverage of some new studies regarding whales and their biological operations, marine biologists have come to learn some new facts, including their feeding habits and daily consumption practices. Now, when it comes to the physiology of cetaceans it can become rather cumbersome writing, and things need to be dumbed down for the average NPR audience, apparently. So how can it be shown that a whale eats…well, a whole bunch…?!
The biggest animals to have ever lived on Earth gobble up much more food than scientists thought, according to a new study of Baleen whales.
The amount of food is in the range of 20 to 50 million calories. That is about 70 to 80 thousand Big Macs. https://t.co/EaeWUJqFGf
— NPR (@NPR) November 3, 2021
Distinguished Local Reporting
- Amanda Bartlett — San Francisco Gate
This is a harrowing tale, we have to assume. Based on the report it was not so harrowing; in fact, it hardly measures up to qualifying for a news item. But the SF Gate details for their readers the gripping tale of individuals who were at Disneyland and became trapped on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” themed ride. Well…they got stuck.
The people had to remain in their boat until workers could better position them to then calmly walk away. In the meantime, we get this dramatic account of what they had to endure.
– “All things considered, the guests on the ride were relatively calm — even the kids. A little boy behind Rokos started to play a handheld video game, while a baby on the boat remained sound asleep the entire time.”
What is it with Disney parks trapping its park goers this week?!
— Chanah Angelica Kamen (@AngelicaKamen) November 3, 2021
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