Pulitzer Prize Dis-Honors: Morning Joe Drowns Its Own Claim, a Spy Whale Swims to Fame, and CNN Sinks Its Own Promo

(AP Photo/Stack’s Bowers Galleries)

Our weekly unworthy Pulitzer Prize recognition of less-than-meritorious excellence in journalism.

As an extension of the media-mocking venture at Townhall, Riffed From the Headlines, we once again note the sub-exalted performances from our journalism industry in numerous categories to properly recognize the low watermark in the press.


Distinguished National Reporting

  • Yacob Reyes – Axios

If you want to see just how the press operates with a default criticism of Ron DeSantis, Axios delivers this critique of a new law passed in Florida designed to go after illegal activity — and having the desired effect. Illegal aliens are reacting to a law targeting their illegality, which is presented as bad.

A new law that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed this month to tighten restrictions on Florida’s undocumented community is driving immigrants out of the state. The Florida Policy Institute, a progressive-leaning research organization, told Axios the law is vague and “does not align with the framework of federal immigration law,” making it difficult to predict who could be directly affected.

Note the lack of any comments from conservative-leaning research organizations, as well as the inability to describe those people affected as being “illegal” aliens.


Distinguished Explanatory Reporting

  • Graphics Team – Morning Joe

Over at MSNBC, the popular-enough morning show wanted to join the media dogpile mocking the tech issues with Ron DeSantis announcing his presidential bid on Twitter. After needing to ignore that overall, millions listened in on the Twitter Spaces discussion, Morning Joe tried to humiliate DeSantis by showing other streamed events that drew bigger audiences.


That many of those were in video format and had nothing to do with politics is only one issue. Another is that as the show tried to claim at its peak, DeSantis drew 300,000 listeners, their own on-screen illustration of the call showed a far greater number of live participants.

Distinguished Explanatory Reporting

  • Matthew Crowley, Amy Sherman – Politifact

The press continues to push out the lie that Florida is “banning” books, based on some younger grades having texts limited for age appropriateness. (If anyone still struggles with this, explain that a movie that is Rated-R is not “banned” because it limits minors from buying tickets.) The fact-seekers who rely on facts over at Politifact see a need to help the press, so when Ron DeSantis came out to boldly declare no books have been banned they went to work.

Their solution: Find an expert who would reclassify the word “ban.”

“Banning” is in the eye of the beholder, said Emily J.M. Knox, an information sciences professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. People who seek to ban books define bans narrowly as the total removal of books.

Do they define it “narrowly”? Or “accurately”?! It actually appears Politifact wants the definition broadened to a degree that the term includes any type of restriction placed on any content. This way, the fact-based outlet can now declare DeSantis to be FALSE with this statement. That’s rather convenient.



Distinguished Breaking News

  • CNN

One of the most embarrassing pieces of journalism evidence out there is the infamous CNN incident during the 2020 George Floyd riots where reporter Omar Jiminez was standing before a burning building and the Chyron read “Mostly Peaceful Protests.” It was such a bad image that it has become a punchline to describe media bias. You would think any network would strive to get as far away from that type of mockery as possible.

CNN does not think this.

Currently, the network is running a series of promos that display the intrepid work and consummate bravery of their field reporters, but one, in particular, has to leave you wondering what they are thinking. Not only does it involve the already compromised reporter Jiminez, but in covering a skirmish in Minneapolis in 2020, he once again tries to push the fraudulent “mostly peaceful” narrative, and then instantly he and his team have to clear out as they are beset with non-peaceful violence. Call this “Teargas Lighting.”



Distinguished Investigative Reporting

  • Alex Thompson – Axios

While the coverage of Ron DeSantis in the press has been uniformly negative, it has also been consistently weak in terms of legitimate content of critiques. One of the latest has been a manufactured “controversy” regarding the way to pronounce the surname of the Florida governor; specifically, it concerns how DeSantis himself pronounces it. Apparently, at times, he says it one of two ways. Why this matters or how it is significant of anything is a complete mystery.

Making this non-story all the more ridiculous for any reporter to put out there is that this has originated with the Donald Trump camp, and Thompson takes their bait and attempts to make it a story.


Distinguished Photojournalism

  • Viral Press

In Thailand, a Buddhist temple has been erected (ahem) that displays large gold genitalia, as a place for people to pray for fertility as well as atone for sexual crimes, such as abortion. The statuary was installed by “a cultist, Buddhist nun,” so we are no closer to understanding anything that is going on there.


Distinguished Headline Writing

  • BBC News

We love that there is a spy whale, we love that he is apparently retired – and love even more the BBC wanting to avoid legal trouble by using “alleged”.




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