Dishonoring some of the inglorious work in the media from the past year.
On the regular here in this column, we recognize the foibles and fumbles, the distractions and disservice, and the misdeeds and malpractice in the mainstream media. In order to properly recognize the efforts at abandoning their mission statements and the hard work behind not doing their jobs, we decided to choose those at the nadir of their profession, across a number of categories.
So here’s to the various efforts made throughout the 2020 mutation that was the 2021 Variant, and…congratulations to the…winners…I guess…???
Distinguished Local Reporting
- Hanan Kim – KCPQ Fox-13 In SeattleKim was attacked outside of a courthouse while conducting an interview – she was struck directly by her attacker, who threw a piece of cauliflower.
- Amanda Bartlett -The San Francisco Gate Bartlett detailed the harrowing tale of patrons who were “trapped” on Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride. This entailed them sitting in the boat for minutes before being guided off to walk out of the ride.
- Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board The paper covered a razor-thin election result in Broward County where a handful of votes determined the winner, but a few hundred ballots were discovered uncounted. The paper saw where the blame rested in the Democratic primary, in a deep blue county, run by a Dem election official, where the local post office failed to deliver the ballots in time – it was all Ron DeSantis’ fault.
- Michael Lyle – Nevada Current On the fiery subject of gerrymandering in Nevada the Democrat legislature is redrawing districts, and in so doing they are actually hurting the reelection chances of their own. Rep. Din Titus explained in a speech to union officials about her condition: “I totally got f***ed by the Legislature on my district,” she said.
- WINNER Miami Herald Editorial It was learned that the paper was resorting to using an artificial intelligence program to auto-generate features on local real estate stories. The only thing funnier than the perceived improvement in reporting from the deeply-biased news source was that the articles written by the robot were getting the highest readership traffic.
Our top read story today pic.twitter.com/p6zNf58jXS
— David Ovalle (@DavidOvalle305) November 1, 2021
Distinguished Sports Reporting
- Jeff Van Gundy – ESPN The color announcer for NBA telecasts was vocally bothered by the number of players refusing vaccines. During a game, he ripped into players who declared they were doing their own research into the vaccines, mocking them for not following medical experts – such as NBA color commentators like Jeff Van Gundy.
- Bob Nightengale – USA Today When the baseball writer was covering the World Series he declared he had long held the practice of not referring to the Atlanta baseball team by its hateful mascot name, The Braves. Except he had in fact referred to them as the Braves throughout the regular season, leading the paper to go back and stealth-edit his articles. His Twitter feed, however, received no such scrubbing.
- USA Today Editorial Board The paper ran an editorial from a female college athlete who described the numerous problems with allowing trans athletes to compete as women. Following an outcry from trans activists, the paper edited the athlete’s own comments in the previously published opinion piece.
- ESPN Documentaries The sports channel gave Bubba Wallace the chance to hype, once again, the fully discredited noose controversy, for some reason using its E-60 series for a 90-minute piece on the debunked controversy. In it, Wallace repeated the claim it was a hateful noose and even said of select members of NASCAR who disputed the claim he has not forgiven them – over an incident that did not happen.
- WINNER Kelli Stavast – NBC Sports By a unanimous vote, Stavast takes this honor for her on-track post-race interview with NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Brandon Brown. While speaking trackside the crowd began the “F— Joe Biden” chant, Stavast attempted to save face by insisting they were chanting “Let’s Go, Brandon,” kicking off the cultural touchstone that has lived on for months.
Pulitzer Commemorative Rice Cake Award (Honoring the most content-free journalism coverage)
- Dani DiPlacido – Forbes The need to describe for us how celebrities had to endure the pandemic in ways just as dire as the rest of us was constant in the press. Hard to come up with a more harrowing account than the carbohydrate-averse Gwyneth Paltrow being so confined that she had to resort to the horror of eating bread during quarantine.
- Mary Mrad, Chloe-Lee Longhetti, D. Lawrence – The Daily Mail Thankfully the Aussie edition of the British rag was there to detail for us that during pandemic restrictions, actor Paul Hogan was set to fly home to Australia. That is the entire detail; he was boarding a plane. It took three reporters to deliver this pertinent information.
- Various Outlets As reports from the red carpet at events go, they are already uniformly vapid. New lows were achieved however in Geneva, as the press awaited the arrival of Joe Biden to meet with Vladamir Putin. Journalists saw reason to descend and report eagerly with microphones and cameras on what was transpiring…with the woman charged with vacuuming the red carpet.
Interviewing and photographing the person vacuuming the red carpet…. pic.twitter.com/lY1BD1Rbax
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) June 16, 2021
- Gabe Fernandez – San Francisco Gate During a Monday Night Football game played during a torrential downpour, the cameras caught sight of a fan in the seats wearing some competitive swimmer’s gear. Fernandez did some intrepid gumshoe work to track down the teenaged fan and get the details, for some reason.
- WINNER Lee Respers France – CNN Take already newsworthy-challenged celebrity news, reduce it to gossipy personal activity reporting, and you have pretty challenging content. Well, CNN’s entertainment reporter managed to take that flavor-free weak tea and dilute it even further with her report of two celebrities who went out together and nothing happened: “Two Grammy-winning artists walk into a bar and … apparently they just drank. That’s according to Ed Sheeran, who says he took his friend Taylor Swift to a pub and no one noticed.”
Distinguished Coverage of Frozen Confections (President Biden inspired so much of such coverage the Committee created a new category to honor the work.)
- Various Outlets When the ice cream company/activists Ben & Jerry’s made the announcement they would be pulling business out of Israel’s occupied territory as a sign of Palestinian support, the press raved about the decision. Less reported was how the move basically prevented their product from being sold to the Palestine region. Also avoided was that the announcement led to numerous states pulling funding of the company from state ventures and retirement plans to a monetary sum greater than the purchase price paid by parent company Unilever.
- Jennifer Jacobs – Bloomberg Amid a brewing story about Hunter Biden and an illegal handgun, the press descended on the President to hammer with questions – What was he giving up for Lent?! President Softserve detailed that sweets were on his banned list, lamenting how this meant he had to forgo ice cream for the period.
- Drew Weisholtz – The Today Show Disney actress and singer Olivia Rodrigo recently visited the White House. (I don’t know why either.) She thought President Biden had initially given her a commemorative shoehorn, but it seems she had a brain freeze. It turned out to actually be an ice cream scoop.
- Heather Haddon – Wall Street Journal Many McDonald’s customers are fully aware of the frequency of the ice cream items on the menu being unavailable due to mechanical issues. Well, in the era of Biden, action is taken. The FTC is looking into the issue of the problem of Mcdonald’s McFlurry machines being offline so often.
- WINNER – Various Outlets There is no better example than seeing the collective press swarm on President Biden as he orders himself a cone in Cleveland. When asked what flavor he chose, the journalists audibly swooned as he announced “chocolate-chocolate chip!” He then was asked about what advice he had for the Republicans possibly blocking the Jan. 6 Commission and he stated, “Eat some chocolate-chocolate chip.” The press broke out in applause.
Distinguished Coverage In Race Relations
- G. Daniela Galarza – Washington Post The gastronomy writer has determined that there is a new form of intolerance found in food reporting – using the word “exotic” to describe dishes, or ingredients. According to Galarza, exotic, indirectly lengthens the metaphysical distance between one group of humans and another, and, in so doing, reinforces xenophobia and racism. If you think the food writer is resorting to word salad, understand she was so bothered she managed to write over 2,200 words, about being upset with one word.
- Sammi Katz, Olivia McGiff – New York Times In this daft exploration the writers claim that American tiki culture is racist. The problem – racist to whom? Tiki style borrows elements from multiple countries, on numerous continents, and then melds those influences to create completely ersatz items as a result. There is absolutely no way you can point out any culture possibly offended, it just feels racist. Pour yourself a stiff multi-rum drink – this is a migraine-inducing farce.
- Darryl Fears – The Washington Post There is a dire intolerance in the practice of birdwatching, but not where you would expect. Surprisingly, the gripe is not that this is a largely caucasian pursuit or that white privilege is built into the study. The problem rests with…the birds. The names of the avian creatures were often designated by racist ornithologists or others with problematic pasts. I suppose texts need to be rewritten to change designations to the Variegated Woke Thrush or the Virtue-tailed Ibis.
- Madeleine Stone – National Geographic If a reporter is ever stuck for supplying a race-based piece all they need to do is find a dire item in the news and declare that it is impacting minorities to a greater detriment. Ms. Stone must have been up against a summer deadline when she declared fireworks were discriminatory. It seems that the air pollution from Chinese-made fireworks affects minority communities worse, in an unpatriotic fashion.
- Erin Aubrey Kaplan – New York Times The editorial was written by a woman who placed one of those mini-libraries on her property for her neighbors in the POC neighborhood where she resides. She became very bothered one day to see a white couple looking at her library. This led her to surmise that this non-event would lead to gentrification of her area.
- WINNER Anne Quito – CNN One other sure way to get in on the racism beat is to find an aspect of our culture that has yet to be called out for intolerance. At CNN, they broke new ground and discovered that lettering is now offensive. Yes, it has been declared that the ‘Chop Suey Font’ is somehow hateful. Imagine how surprising this will be to Chinese residents to learn all this time they have been racist in using this type of lettering at Chinese restaurants – such as the one in the photo used in this feature.
For years, the West has relied on so-called "chop suey" fonts to communicate "Asianness" in food packaging, posters and ad campaigns. But such fonts perpetuate problematic stereotypes. https://t.co/w85xSXp0iN
— CNN (@CNN) April 7, 2021