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
- Associated Press
Sometimes when you strive to deliver the spin for an inexplicable decision, maybe not trying to do so would be the better route to take. At the AP they wanted to explain why the World Health Organization settled on naming the new COVID variant with the clunky name Omicron. It turns out that they wanted to stray from the common practice of naming a strain after a region to avoid cultural offenses — so they opted to use letters from a cultural alphabet.
That was not enough though, the WHO chose to skip over certain letters because they feared the letter Xi would be insensitive to some in China, as it derives from the GREEK alphabet.
The WHO did skip two letters of the Greek alphabet when naming omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus. The agency said it did so to stop people confusing “nu” with “new” and to avoid “causing offense” because Xi is a common last name. https://t.co/4RJ39703Qv
— AP Fact Check (@APFactCheck) November 27, 2021
Distinguished Investigative Reporting
- Hunter Walker – Rolling Stone
The outlet that broke open the non-existent Ivermectin hospital overflow story has another massive breaking…fable. This time some anonymous sources claim some of the people involved in the Capitol riot bought some burner phones and made some phone calls to some members of the Trump administration at some point in the past…and somehow we are supposed to care.
This sounds like potentially explosive news until you realize the FBI had no such information — you know, the federal outfit that declared there was no planning behind the January riot. There is some concrete reporting of actual phone call details near the end of the piece. The organizers cited were members of the team organizing nationwide tours for Trump. In one confirmed call, they reached Eric and Lara Trump directly — in order to discuss where to park a bus…at one of the Trump hotels…in Las Vegas…last Christmas. Then, there is this revealing sentence, nestled deep in the expose:
- There was no evidence the Kremers and the other rally organizers encouraged or planned violence in the group-text messages reviewed by Rolling Stone.
A member of the March For Trump team told me @KylieJaneKremer had an aide buy "burner phones" to communicate with the White House and Trump team and that "she said it was of the utmost importance" to use cash for the purchase. https://t.co/x4GqOaaE50
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) November 24, 2021
Distinguished Investigative Reporting
- Daniel Dale – CNN
Over the past few months Donald Trump has given a number of interviews where he noted the price of gasoline was significantly more expensive today than during his term. The former president has stated prices were around $1.87, and today they are wildly higher. Daniel Dale heard these claims and he could not abide it, so he launched with a correction. One issue is that in some interviews, he referenced the price when Trump left office 10 months ago, and in others, he has said one year ago — and those are different prices!
Last November, Dale corrects, the price was around $2.11, and in January it was averaging $2.34. This nickel and dime routine is all done to deflect away from the fact that today, the price is floating at the level of $3.41, up a full dollar from when Biden was inaugurated.
Fact check: Gas prices when Donald Trump left office were much higher than he now claims https://t.co/3ZX3N0mS29
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 30, 2021
Distinguished International Reporting
- Rosie Frost – Euronews
It is an environmental story that begins with a happy ending. I would have loved to be there on the day this was brainstormed in a meeting. In an effort to find an alternative plastic that is both biodegradable and does not rely on fossil fuels, scientists may have hit a stroke of luck. They are developing a new polymer that is certainly renewable – it is made from fish sperm.
Somehow, they have hit upon a technique that takes the sperm, binds it with elements from vegetable oil, and then the resulting gel is freeze-dried, so it…um…hardens.
This is already a tough sell for the public, but then as a sample of what they could make with this new product, they created a coffee mug, one that I can honestly say I would not be able to bring to my lips.
The researchers have already created a cup, puzzle pieces and a DNA molecule from the eco-friendly plastic ☕️
— Euronews Green (@euronewsgreen) November 30, 2021
Distinguished Cultural Commentary
The never-at-all tiresome practice of the press dictating what words should be banned continues apace, this time from the always erudite and loquacious group at Vice News. (On the topic, I say we ban the use of the phrase, “It’s time that we stop…”, the indicative preamble of a social lecture by these activist scolds.)
They have come up with a new word that needs to be banned, and they seem oblivious to a central truth in the selection. They want to command stopping the usage of the word BLACKLIST because it is not inclusive. This, despite the fact that the word itself denotes exclusionary action.
It’s time we stop using offensive and harmful words like "blacklist," which have clearer, more inclusive alternatives. https://t.co/W4o8leEIhB
— VICE (@VICE) November 30, 2021
Distinguished Sports Reporting
- Andrew Beaton – Wall Street Journal
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers has been a lightning rod of controversy the past few weeks, but maybe there should be more sympathy for the quarterback. He has come under fire for not getting the COVID shot, but really, who knows where to go to get your feet vaccinated?!
Aaron Rodgers Says His Toe Is Fractured, a Day After Referring to His Injury as ‘Covid Toe’ – WSJ https://t.co/4uKZmm5QnE
— Tony Hack (@TonyHackPhoto) November 25, 2021