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Our weekly recognition of less-than-meritorious excellence in journalism worthy of a skewed version 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 for 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 Sports Reporting
- Christine Brennan – USA Today Sports
As Jim Thompson reported here, Tiger Woods recently raised eyebrows among the sensitive set when he pranked his golfing partner and good friend, Justin Thomas. During a tournament, after the two both took initial drives off the tee, it was seen that Tiger’s ball traveled farther, so he walked up to Thomas and slipped a tampon into his friend’s hand.
This sent many an overactive and under-stimulated tongue a-wagging, with Christine Brennan deciding that this type of jocularity always seen between guys was an outrage. Brennan was inspired to fire off a lengthy column on the affrontery, and not to imply she became somewhat hyperbolic, but she went on to suggest that this action by Woods could conceivably drive away up-and-coming females from turning pro.
— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 17, 2023
Distinguished Investigative Reporting
- Nate Trela – USA Today
Now sure, while in Poland, maybe Joe Biden uncorked another of his infamous claims about his formative years, but why assume the fact-checkers would be on the case? Just because the man who has claimed to have been Catholic and raised Puerto Rican in a Jewish community while attending a black church every week now says he also grew up in a Polish-Italian neighborhood, that is no reason to look into the particulars.
Plus, who has that kind of time? Not when there are stories being spread on Facebook that need to be debunked! After all, nearly 100 people were spreading this false story about a vigilante who was going around and cutting off man-buns! There was important reporting to do!!!
When I sat in on the Newsbusters podcast with @TimGraham a while back we discussed stupid stories fact-checkers correct while avoiding Biden.
— Brad Slager: CNN+ Lifetime Subscriber (@MartiniShark) February 22, 2023
Distinguished Feature Writing
- Amarachi Orie – CNN
In the field of archaeology, an important discovery was recently made. Not a new item found, but a new use was applied to an existing item. The artifact was unearthed in 1992 which researchers initially recorded as being a darning tool, but today it is being looked at in a new position.
This misidentification was the result of the tool being found alongside dozens of shoes and dress accessories. However, researchers have reinterpreted the artifact as a disembodied phallus and, by examining it closely, have outlined some of its most likely possible functions. A nearly 2,000-year-old wooden object in the shape of a penis could have served as a sexual tool by ancient Romans in Britain, according to a new study.
A nearly 2,000-year-old wooden object in the shape of a penis could have served as a sexual tool by ancient Romans in Britain, according to a new study. https://t.co/lMUZMEwInA
— CNN International (@cnni) February 20, 2023
Distinguished Local Reporting
- Stephanie Duprey – WSYX 6 News, Columbus
There was another dose of upheaval on social media as overly-sensitive types decided to be offended by a job offer at a local pizza purveyor. When Santinos Pizzeria was looking for new hires the establishment hung a sign out front.
What had the Columbus Karens in a lather is that the business dared designate they were looking for workers who might trend more towards the middle-to-higher end of the IQ scale.
— Stephanie Duprey (@StephanieWSYX6) February 17, 2023
Distinguished Public Service
- Jeong Park – Los Angeles Times
In an exclusive exposé, the Times came out with a report on racist helicopters. They found that claims were made that police helicopters flew more frequently over black neighborhoods, and they did so at lower altitudes, delivering health risks and anxiety to black residents. The main issue was that the helicopters were violating FAA regulations stipulating flights over residential areas must be no lower than 1,000 feet.
That the LA Times got many key facts wrong is soon made evident. First, helicopters are exempt from the 1,000-foot mandate, as the rule is for fixed-wing aircraft only. Also, most of the black residential areas in L.A. surround LAX airport. There is another FAA rule that helicopters in that area are forbidden from flying over 1,000 feet. This is so they do not interfere with commercial airline traffic in that area. Otherwise, this was a compelling investigation.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) February 11, 2023
Distinguished National Reporting
- Jen Skeritt – Bloomberg
This is something of an annual panic attack. As the New England maple syrup industry begins tapping their trunks for the sweet nectar that is popular, the press has to stammer about how global warming is deeply impacting the industry.
This go-round, it is Bloomberg, among others, delivering the claim that Big Syrup is facing an environmental crisis that is reaching critical proportions. There is the supposed need to tap the trees earlier, it is a shorter harvesting season, and warmer summers mean the trees do not produce as sweet a sap. Allow me to run the risk of getting labeled as a climate denier.
Since maples need sunlight for the leaves to produce sugars for the sap, longer and brighter summers aid in the production. The harvesting has possibly shifted no more than a matter of days, but anyway it has not impacted the industry. The top seven syrup production years took place in the last seven years. In 2022, they set a new all-time record, beating the previous mark by 20 percent and becoming the first time that over five million gallons of maple syrup had been produced. Ever.
Climate change is threatening to upend the delicate balance needed to make maple syrup https://t.co/JskF1uMx4W
— Bloomberg Green (@climate) February 13, 2023
Distinguished Cultural Commentary
- Brooke Steinberg – TMZ
For reasons escaping our grasp — and our level of interest — the Discovery Channel series “Naked and Afraid” is on its 15th season. It seems like rather long odds that something of this nature had not happened prior, but in an EXCLUSIVE, Sam Mouzer details that in the new season, he experienced an inflamed body part.
Not a case of swelling, either. Sam and his co-star fell asleep at the campsite with a fire going, and as he dozed a bit too close Mouzer encountered an injury on his…walking stick…? Sam managed to severely burn the tip of his penis.
But we have been assured that since filming he has recovered, and his plumbing is still fully functional.
Sam says he did come home with a little souvenir … a very small blemish on the tip, which he refers to as his “Naked And Afraid” tattoo.
A contestant on "Naked and Afraid" had the tip of his penis burned by hot coals … and the whole, horrifying ordeal was caught on video. https://t.co/sAZ7v2Catc
— TMZ (@TMZ) February 15, 2023