Pulitzer Prize Dis-Honors: a Diapers Hurdle, and an Aborted Wordle

(AP Photo/Stack’s Bowers Galleries)

Our weekly recognition of less-than-meritorious excellence in journalism is worthy of Pulitzer Prize 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

  • Sylvia Foster-Frau – Washington Post

Following the release of the SCOTUS draft memo, with the possibility of repealing Roe vs. Wade, the wave of sympathetic abortion stories will soon be flooding our news wires. WaPo has gotten things started with their profile of a young Mexican-American woman going through family turmoil following her second abortion. 

Of course, it is a warmly approached issue, as they detail how the young lady, after her first termination in Indiana, is now in Texas where they recently passed tougher abortion laws. As  a result, she has had to turn to obtain an abortion-inducing drug on the streets that came in from Mexico. 

And of course, this piece does not explain how it was somehow better and easier for her to turn to the black market to purchase an illegal drug from another country, rather than going down the street to a drugstore for birth control. 


Distinguished Cultural Commentary

  • Everdeen MasonNew York Times

Some controversy erupted this week with the Wordle entry. On May 9, some players recognized a change had come over that day’s entry, and confusion began to stir among the puzzle community!


At New York Times Games, we take our role seriously as a place to entertain and escape, and we want Wordle to remain distinct from the news. Today, for example, some users may see an outdated answer that seems closely connected to a major recent news event. This is entirely unintentional and a coincidence — today’s original answer was loaded into Wordle last year.

The uproar was due to the fact that the 5-letter selection that morning was the word F-E-T-U-S-.


Distinguished Investigative Reporting

  • Patricia Murphy, Greg Bluestein – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The AJC had a report about campaign outreach involving Donald Trump. Campaigning on behalf of a Republican Secretary of State candidate in the Georgia primary, the recorded calls have Trump introducing himself as being “hopefully your favorite president of all time.” 

As jarring and alarming as this content must seem to a reporter, making it amusing is how the article dressed up the investigation. The phone calls made to the general public are described as being “leaked”.



Distinguished Cultural Criticism

  • Lisa Respers France – CNN

When reminiscing about a film from 18 years ago, who needs more than one sentence? Considering how old the film “Mean Girls” is, it seems un-newsworthy to hear actress Amanda Seyfried say…well, anything about it at this point. To learn that she is displeased with one scene in particular – a closing segment where she is a weather girl and predicts it will rain by clutching one of her breasts – is less than revealing. And further, it is made even less so, based on the brevity of her comment. 

“I always felt really grossed out by that,” she says. “I was like 18 years old. It was just gross.”



Distinguished Explanatory Reporting

  • Martin Well – Washington Post

Covering a recent event in D.C. at the office of the Virginia Attorney General, the Washington Post seemed hesitant to suggest there was wrongdoing involving the Republican AG Jason Miyares. Someone shot at the office, but for reasons known only to the editorial board, their coverage was remarkable in distancing from any type of normal assessment of the violence.

It would appear as if the bullet acted of its own free will, according to the paper. Also curious was the need to make it seem as if anyone shooting up the AG’s office is normal business in D.C.

From time to time, gunshots have been fired into houses or other buildings in the Washington area, intentionally or accidentally.



Distinguished Cultural Commentary

  • Gwenyth Paltrow – Goop

This week on her vanity lifestyle site Goop, Gwenyth Paltrow turned heads when there was an ad appearing for diapers, which sold for $120 per one dozen. It has now become revealed – this was done as a lesson of social awareness. The sad thing was no one understood, as this type of foolish excess was believable from the site run by the actress.

See, GP wanted to highlight the plight of low-income individuals and the impact of the cost of diapers on a family… or something. The message was lost, however, when people saw the rhinestone-encrusted diapers with alpaca wool lining and thought this was an actual item. After all, this is the same site selling vagina-scented candles


Distinguished Editorial Writing

  • Jumi Bello – Literary Hub

It is bad enough to be caught stealing some of the content in your debut novel, but writer Jumi Bello took things to a new surreal low. In writing about her experience it was then discovered she also cribbed sections of her essay.


A writer who plagiarized her book was found to have plagiarized her essay with segments from Plagiarism Today.


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