After a year of mocking the mockable aspects of journalism, here are the year’s Pulitzer dis-honorees.
Each week here at RedState we look at some of the more risible, mirth-filled, and just plain ridiculous aspects of our journalism industry. Looking beyond the biased coverage and narrative-building there is also this component of the media – celebrating the asinine.
Grouped into a variety of categories, we continue with the journalism accolades recognizing some of the oddest moments from our media complex in 2022. (The first half of these honors can be found here.) Be ready for the ridiculousness and strap in for the mayhem.
Distinguished Cultural Criticism
- In its End-of-the-Year rundown of the best television shows the New York Times included the savvy production and primetime dramatics of the January 6 Hearings.
- The New York Times came under fire when, at the start of Jewish Holy Days, it presented a crossword puzzle that resembled a swastika.
- At Vox Media the news outlet could not handle bad news. After the grocery store shooting in Buffalo, the CEO announced he was canceling meetings and letting people have time off for staffers who could not deal with the news.
- As DC Comics was set to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Latino characters featured, CNN lambasted the publisher because characters were shown with “stereotypical” food.
- The New York Times had to alter its Wordle game this spring when – in the middle of the Roe vs. Wade national debate – the auto-generated word one day was “fetus”.
- Winner: DWIGHT GARNER – In his book review of Jared Kushner’s “Breaking History” we expected the usual slanted coverage from The Times. But Garner gave us a look into his private leisure time activities with this scathing line: “Reading this book reminded me of watching a cat lick a dog’s eye goo.”
Distinguished Cultural Commentary
- Stacey Abrams appeared in an episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” as the President of United Earth, proving that her sitting in an elected office is in fact science fiction.
- Gwenyth Paltrow’s luxury site Goop listed $120 disposable diapers for sale. The actress said it was done as a message about diapers being taxed, or something. The message was lost because it seemed like a rather believable item from a site that sells vagina-scented candles for $75.
- At Eat This they got in on the racist food angle by listing out a number of dishes Americans consider as Mexican food which are actually American creations. There is a slight problem however with one of their entries: “Nachos were invented in Piedras Negras, Mexico, in 1943.”
- At Buzzfeed, Kelsey Weekman felt it was vital for readers to know which celebrities were backing which celebrity in the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial based on who “liked” posts on Instagram from either celebrity.
- CNN covered the release by the Oscar Meyer lunch meat division of a bologna face mask for women.
- The New York Times saw fit to include hoodie devotee John Fetterman on its list of the Most Stylish People of the Year.
— Brad Slager: CNN+ Lifetime Subscriber (@MartiniShark) December 12, 2022
- Winner: ENDLESS THREAD NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO – We are told there is a bit of an uproar about emojis in the LGBT𝜋 community. Supposedly intolerant groups like TERFs are using dinosaur emojis, and this is a problem because those identifying as gay or trans feel as if dinosaurs are the property of their community. One commentator actually says, “You can’t have them, like, dinosaurs are ours.”
Distinguished Editorial Writing
- NPR wrote a helpful editorial for readers/listeners who were stressed out over news of the Ukraine war. The advice dispensed was for those suffering war anxiety to do some of the following: Breathe. Also, eat something. One other tip – move around. There! You are cured!
- At Vanity Fair I’m sure Monica Lewinsky has her share of fans. I’m sure a number of those fans felt their lives elevated by the piece she wrote on Wordle.
- Philip Bump gave a lengthy column explaining why there is no purpose in releasing body-camera footage of the night from the Paul Pelosi attack. You see, it would only lead to more conspiracy theories about what happened that evening if the actual FACTS were to get out, explaining what transpired.
- George Conway delivered a confident editorial on the plight of Donald Trump and how he was going to be taken down by the case of the New York District Attorney. Within days the NYDA dropped the case entirely.
- The Las Vegas Sun ran one editorial about the Quintez Brown shooting in Kentucky. In it the paper tried to blame the violence on right-wing commentary, while choosing to omit that Brown was an anti-gun proponent and a Black Lives Matter activist. After a slight correction, the paper came under fire from the likes of Tucker Carlson who called out their lies. The editors ran a 2,000+ word follow up piece claiming victimhood as they declared words from the right to be worse than actual violence seen on the left.
- Winner: SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL – The paper oddly declared that Governor Ron DeSantis had been outmaneuvered by the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ messaging regarding the Florida parental rights bill. They claimed this despite the bill passing, being signed into law, and being supported in polls by a majority of voters.
Distinguished Feature Writing
- We learned that the LGBT𝜋 community can now go outside. Pink News declares that queer hikers are making the outdoors available to those who are not straight and/or middle class.
- Nicolas Confessor wrote a 6,000-word hit piece on Tucker Carlson that claimed to have compiled all the evidence of the Fox News host pushing white supremacy. After months of work, the laughter the piece generated lasted for a few days before it was entirely forgotten.
- ABC News exposed us to the reality that children in war zones experience elevated levels of anxiety and depression.
- The New York Times explored how the search engine Duck Duck Go is the choice of conspiracy theorists.
- CNN reveals the revolutionary invention that becomes helpful for keeping your Mexican food rolls secured – Burrito Tape.
- Winner: SILVIA FOSTER-FRAU – In a bid to impugn the Texas abortion law this article claims the new restrictions have caused a split in one family where a woman recently had her second abortion. Her mother was upset that she aborted her child, not that it was difficult to get the procedure. Also, the woman had to obtain an abortion pill brought in from Mexico; the piece never addresses why a college-educated woman could not find birth control far more easily available.
Distinguished Explanatory Reporting
- The Root explains how the white jury ruling on the trial of the very white actress Amber Heard and her very white husband Johnny Depp “sends a message” to black women.
- On Meet The Press a panel explains the state of Florida was passing the new restrictions on the Disney Corporation over their fight with DeSantis on the Florida parental rights law. Symone Sanders declared boldly that the politicians would cave to the corporation but then, just seconds after she said “My Money’s on the Disney lobbyists, Honey!” Chuck Todd announced the news that the legislature in fact voted against Disney.
MSNBC's Symone Sanders: "My money is on the Disney lobbyists, honey." pic.twitter.com/udhemVTCDy
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) April 20, 2022
- Brian Stelter explains how the year’s biggest failing actually is not one. After he previously touted his network’s CNN+ streaming service would be historic, Stelter desperately attempted to recalibrate the nearly instant demise of the $300 million venture. When the new enterprise was shut down after barely three weeks Stelter tried to insist that it was “too early” to call it a failure.
- Joy Reid explained how bad Florida has become and wanted to join in on the media chorus of journalists using “The Handmaid’s Tale” as a form of shorthand conservative criticism. The problem is, Joy seems to not grasp the level of oppression in the book and TV series. She attempts to slam Governor Ron DeSantis with the comparison, but she does so by completely ignoring the concept of robes and locked up women by describing the setting like it is a Hedonism resort: “Florida at this point is basically Gilead with palm trees and bikinis.”
- Winner: CHRIS CILLIZZA – CNN’s deposed pundit explained why Democrats will choose to stick with Jose Biden for the 2024 election, rather than pick a more competent candidate. He did so with a very forced restaurant metaphor. -“Now, consider that same scenario, except that when you are halfway done with the too-fishy fish, the waiter comes over and says that they would be happy to exchange your fish for the chicken entree. Now, you already chose the fish over the chicken for some reason — maybe you didn’t like how it was prepared or maybe you just didn’t feel like chicken. You are FAR more likely to stick with the fish in this scenario.”
Distinguished Breaking News
- Yamiche Alcindor gave a field report on the developments and fallout of the Roe v. Wade decision and informed people on the development of “pregnancies that will turn into children.”
- April Ryan had the deeply unhelpful “scoop” that President Biden’s announcement on his Supreme Court nominee “could come as early as tomorrow or as late as the end of the month.”
- Yamiche Alcindor was helping cover the confirmation vote of Ketanji Brown Jackson. Prompted by Lester Holt she launched into a lengthy diatribe about how Senator Rand Paul delaying his vote was a sign of racial oppression and was holding back progress for black women. This, despite the fact that Paul was delayed entering the chamber to vote, KBJ had already had enough votes to confirm her, and that she was not going to even be taking her job on the bench for months to come. Then as Alcindor finished her rant, 60 seconds later Paul cast his vote and she was confirmed.
- In reporting on the Mar-A-Lago raid the speculation was on whether the search warrant would ever be made public. At NBC News it took 3 reporters to inform us that the judge who approved the warrant might release it, might release only part of it, or may not release it at all.
- WINNER: CNN – During Hurricane Ian, this network’s stringer was giving live reports on conditions in the area. He grips his helmet as he leans into the tempest, and the camera shakes dramatically…as a resident behind him calmly walks to his car and gets inside without any challenges.
We have our reporter peacocking moment from Hurricane Ian.
CNN reporter "bravely" battles conditions on a live feed, then about 100 feet behind him a resident casually gets into his vehicle. pic.twitter.com/wrKFhoRyK3
— Lie-Able Sources (@LieAbleSources) September 30, 2022
Distinguished Local Reporting
- WTTV Indianapolis – Fisherman catches a catfish that had an adult sex toy in its stomach.
- ABC 7 Chicago – Gay pride parade organizers announced they would not allow police to march in uniform – as a sign of being inclusive to all people. (Ummm…) As a result, too few police were willing to work the parade and the event had its permit revoked as a result.
- The Denver Post – With the news of the leaked SCOTUS opinion draft letter heating up news cycles this paper offered up an abortion travel primer, instructing those on how to travel to Colorado for the procedure and even offering links through the Democratic Party Act Blue portal to find funding for those in need.
- WTAE Pittsburgh – In a story of an elderly man charged with inappropriately touching a 12-year-old girl the station inadvertently posted a graphic with President Biden’s face.
- KGO San Francisco – When a man was attacking a woman near a restaurant the staffers dressed as Power Rangers jumped in to defend her.
- Winner: FOX NEWS 16 LITTLE ROCK – A water tower in the area honors hometown hero Johnny Cash with his silhouette painted for all to see. It was found that a bullet had been fired into the structure, making for a rather significant leak for all to see.
Dateline: Kingsland, Arkansas—
A stray bullet struck the local water tower, causing a steady leak. Call it serendipitous that it hit directly on the silhouette of local legend Johnny Cash, in a strategic spot for such a stream of water. pic.twitter.com/4hcXHaKVol
— Lie-Able Sources (@LieAbleSources) June 5, 2022
Distinguished International Reporting
- The Mirror UK – Conde Nast Publications threatened to sue a Cornish pub named The Star Inn at Vogue, for using the name of its fashion magazine. They eventually backed off when they realized the 200-year-old pub predated their publication, not to mention it was so-named because it is situated in the town of Vogue.
- Montreal Gazette – Reporter Josh Freed wanted to get out from under the oppressive pandemic restrictions in Canada, so he fled to Florida. Then he promptly reported on the horrors of the state for being a COVID hellscape by allowing its citizens to roam free.
- Canadian Broadcasting Company – Following the truckers’ protest in Ottowa dispersing the capital of Ottowa the national news outlet reports that citizens of the city suffered post-traumatic stress and were haunted by “phantom honking”.
- CTN News – The newsworthiness standards in Canada appear to be softer, as the ongoing story of a nurse suspended for eating a slice of toast while on duty was cause for reporting to be made.
- Winner VICE NEWS – Four men in India were arrested for the abuse and killing of a monitor lizard. The men had taken turns raping the large lizard. They were caught because the group had taken photos and shot videos on their phones of their activities.
Distinguished Investigative Reporting
- CNN Business made an exhaustive study looking into the motivations behind those very long register receipts from CVS.
- Snopes investigators confirmed that Snickers will not be removing the chocolate swirl due to resembling the veins on an erect penis.
- USA Today discovered that pictures showing the first flight attendant from 1914 were actually images from a Britney Spears video shoot.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution muckrakers went through Herschel Walker’s Instagram account and reported that he follows some accounts that were potentially racy in content!
- Business Insider tracked down the company in Florida that produces the stickers showing up on gas pumps of Jose Biden pointing at the price with the words I Did That!
- Winner: POLITIFACT – When Ron DeSantis declared “The student debt that is out there, almost 60 percent of it is graduate school debt” the Poynter Institute’s fact-checkers at Politifact sprung into action! It turns out he exaggerated since the “actual” number is 56 percent! It took DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw to point out that the figure referenced came from (wait for it) a report made by The Poynter Institute.
Distinguished National News
- The New York Times gave a stern lecture to Twitter’s new ownership that it failed to weed out the 40,000 posts of misinformation claiming that voting machines in Maricopa County, Arizona had malfunctioned during the election. One of those tweets was from the official Maricopa County account, and it confirmed that voting machines had malfunctioned at 60 locations on election day.
- NPR’s Nina Totenberg caused a weeklong firestorm when she claimed that Justice Sonia Sotomayor was forced to work remotely because Justice Neil Gorsuch refused to wear a mask. For days many in the press Backed Totenberg and questioned the official denials from the Court, even though Nina had nothing in the form of proof. It took Justice, John Roberts, denying he gave a mask order, and finally a statement from Gorsuch and Sotomayor denying there was any such issue for the story to die off.
- The New York Times issued a report on Michigan voting machines operated by a firm that stores proprietary information on servers owned by the Chinese. It called these claims baseless conspiracy theories by “election deniers”. The next day the Times neutered that report when the owner of the company was arrested for stealing proprietary information. The same reporter filed both contradictory stories.
- Glenn Kessler, fact-checker extraordinaire at The Washington Post, strained to prove that safety kits issued by the Biden administration’ HHS department did not actually contain crack pipes. Kessler made it sound as if the report in the Washington Free Beacon conflated details to make their assertion. Later, when that outlet obtained a number of kits from across the country and they did in fact contain crack pipes, Kessler had nothing to say about the revelation.
- WINNERS: BOB WOODWARD AND JOHN COSTA – The duo lit up the news cycle with their report that the White House call logs from January 6 had over Seven hours of a missing gap, meaning the Congressional committee investigating Trump had a scandal larger than Watergate on its hands. Then…the missing hours were actually discovered days later, and everyone in the press just shrugged and moved on.
**And now to hand out the most prestigious award, honoring the best (worst) display of journalistic (non)excellence seen in the past year!
DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD
- SEMAFOR – For various corporate challenges. The upstart news service created by Ben Smith and Jason Smith has had an…interesting opening year. The site claims to have completely recreated the concept of the the news article, restructuring it at the atomic level. Yes, seriously. This new molecular structure will now include news, reporter’s view, room to disagree, view from a different perspective, and notable content from elsewhere. In other words, the same article format you get anywhere else. The site produced an environmental newsletter that was oddly sponsored – by Chevron. This conflict chased off writer Bill Spindle. The site reported that Elon Musk had a significant stock portfolio offered to failed crypto scammer Sam Bankman-Fried. Not only did they get those facts wrong but Semafor was one of the numerous journalism sites funded by SBF’s company FTX. After claiming it received liquid funds from the crypto company Semafor was under fire to return its investment from SBF.
- JOY REID – For sustained quality of work. As problematic pundits go Ms. Reid defies all expectations. Her nightly content is little more than grievance sessions, mostly tinted with racial connotations – if not outright whitewashed with them. She called the excessive coverage of the Ukraine war racist. When Ron DeSantis arrested felons for voting she assumed they were all black. When DeSantis warned looters after a hurricane she called him a segregationist when she again assumed blacks were looters. That she is this bad at her job while sporting horrible ratings in primetime suggests she is a diversity hire. (Yes, I realize I was “racist” for that suggestion, Joy.)
- NBC NEWS – For its coverage of the Paul Pelosi attack. While following the details far too often the outlet got those details wrong. The channel reported a third party had answered the door for police, a claim called misinformation if other sites used that detail. When reporter Miguel Almaguer reported that a source confirmed Paul Pelosi answered the door for police and seemed unperturbed his report disappeared from NBC sites. Then Almaguer disappeared entirely. Meanwhile, an NBC affiliate in San Francisco ran a report that corroborated what Almaguer had initially detailed.
- POLITIFACT – For perpetually recalibrating the facts. Throughout the year we saw a pattern from the truth detecting outlet; Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo was rated false for saying we doubled our oil imports from Russia, then the site confirmed we had. J.D. Vance was corrected for saying Tim Ryan voted with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time; the site brought up Ryan running for the speakership years ago as evidence. In Nevada Adam Laxalt was accused of wanting to restrict access to birth control; the site agreed with this though he never said anything of the sort, basing it on his joining a brief that was against forcing Catholic business owners to provide BC services as attorney general seven years ago. Politifact has far more examples of this sort.
- WINNER: WASHINGTON POST/TAYLOR LORENZ – For numerous examples or fractured journalism and corrections. Lorenz joined the paper early in the year as the new tech reporter and promptly delivered a string of problematic work. Lorenz doxxed the owner of Libs Of Tik Tok, and the paper had to deny it posted personal information and stealth edited the piece. Lorenz reported on YouTube accounts and claimed to have contacted people she never reached out to, and the paper had to perform multiple edits and issue corrections. Lorenz co-wrote a piece on influencers claiming a Boston hospital had to be evacuated because of harassment from Libs Of Tik Tok, and the paper had to issue corrections. Co-writer Elizabeth Dwoskin amusingly blamed the account for not correcting them. Lorenz wrote of Elon Musk reinstating suspended Twitter accounts as “opening the gates of hell”. Her ‘expert’, who stated that doxxing people will result from the new standards, had herself one month earlier promoted doxxing people she disagreed with.
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) April 19, 2022