The Pulitzer Prize Dis-Honors: Racist Trees, Cars Fighting Intolerance, and Other Media Failures This Week

The Pulitzer Prize Medal (Credit: Daniel Chester French/Wiki Commons)

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

  • Peter Baker – New York Times

Do you recall when the press used to look at the familial problems of a president and use those examples as evidence of an overarching character issue with the man? Yes, those fond memories linger — from the previous administration. These days, however, the Biden clan can be steeped in graft from foreign nations and the recidivist antics of Hunter Biden can linger, but the press takes a decidedly different approach. Ivanka Trump was excoriated for holding a can of beans, but defenses are put up for Hunter and scorn heaped at the GOP for daring to notice his tax evasion, federal gun crimes, drug use, and his payola art career.

At the New York Times, Peter Baker looked over all of these legal wranglings and came to a conclusion: This is all so hard on President Jose Biden.

The troubles of his son are personal and politically painful. Hunter is by various accounts a gaping wound in his heart and the most sensitive soft spot in his campaign armor.


Distinguished Explanatory Reporting

  • Bill Weir – CNN

Sportscaster turned climate expert Bill Weir delivered a new-ish report on the need for this country to turn to electric vehicles. Not just encouraging us to shift; we need to have the entire nation running on EVs within a quarter of a century. The reasons? Well, to save the planet, of course, but Bill’s reasoning is a bit…shall we say, curious. Two items he delivers behind this push defy reason.


He says that air pollution adversely affects people of color disproportionately. It is not at all clear how colorless people are not (or less) affected. But another aspect is he says we need to get away from “dirty power plants,” which are polluting. Those same power plants which will be needed to charge the batteries of the EVs Bill is intent on us driving.

Weir responded to this post by linking to a piece that stipulates how renewable power has passed coal as a provider of residential power. What he needed to overlook was that this was largely due to the scaling back of coal use, not that renewables were surging as a source. The chart in his piece shows that natural gas is replacing coal as the primary fuel source, and its use is on the rise.


Distinguished Breaking News

  • Asawin Suebsaeng,  Adam Rawnsley – Rolling Stone

It has been fun to chart, over the past few months, the mushrooming interest in the media circles of everything to be said, written, delivered, and otherwise made available from Donald Trump. You remember, the man these same media types told us needed to be silenced and de-platformed because his words were a threat to our democracy and the nation?


Yeah…that is no longer a concern, apparently, since they will report on anything, as seen by this report from his campaign. Rolling Stone got an exclusive on the electoral strategy in the Trump war room regarding his GOP competitor Ron DeSantis, and it is about as infantile as it gets. They have a plan going that essentially involves the men dropping trou and having a phallic contest.


Distinguished Investigative Reporting 

  • Madison Czopek – Politifact

The truth detectors in the press have been having a rough year already, and the exposure of their bias is becoming a daily event. In this latest case, we see Politifact intending to correct the viewpoint of Fox News, but then running into a problem — they were actually correct.

In a report, Fox stated that Target — a current point of LGBT𝜋 contention — was a donor to a controversial activist group that supports shielding parents from a minor wanting to transition. As Politifact looked into the matter they found the donations had been taking place, and even had to admit that the group, GLSEN, “supports policies that allow educators to maintain student privacy — even, sometimes, from parents,” This, of course, led to a lengthy piece detailing other actions the group undertakes, and reframing the approach by Fox News and Target, but ultimately it does acknowledge the report was accurate.


The solution for Politifact — it chose not to assign any grade to the claim, thereby avoiding calling the Fox claim True, or Mostly True.


Distinguished Editorial Writing

  • Chris Murphy – The Bulwark

It is always a warning sign when the government wants to press into our private lives for our own good. Here we get the “conservatives” at The Bulwark giving their site over to Senator Chris Murphy to promote the concept of giving the state more intrusions into our liberties, in true conservative fashion. He promotes legislation to combat loneliness, as he describes it as a political problem. (Um — what?!)

He wants new policies passed to help combat this issue. So…he is making loneliness illegal?? The biggest warning flag, of course, is that while he sees isolation as a mounting issue he needs to ignore that it was government lockdowns and social separation mandates that caused this during the pandemic. The government will now fix the problem made by the government. Suuuurrre.



Distinguished International Reporting

  • Time Magazine

The dam disaster in Ukraine that came about during its conflict with Russia is seen as having a deeply significant impact on the nation. In a report on the aftermath, Time covered things well, but in pushing out its coverage, there was a bit of a cartography misstep; they say that Ukraine is experiencing its own version of the Chernobyl disaster, something they actually experienced directly.


Distinguished Editorial Writing 

  • Robin Williams – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

As evidence that anything involving Ron DeSantis leads to media distemper, this Florida paper granted an op-ed to a former educator and current Democrat activist to lodge a criticism of a recent move by the governor. At issue is the state taking over The New College of Florida, and Ms. Williams wanted to address one particular issue that emerged recently — they changed the mascot!

The news came out that the new icon for the school would be The Mighty Banyans. Ms. Williams was not so upset with the deviation from a historical foundation; she does not like the new logo of the mascot because…she says it is racist. The new mascot is, literally, a tree. But in a grand case of missing out on her own projections, Williams says the new logo is insensitive.


To anyone with even a cursory knowledge of racial stereotypes, the new mascot should have set off alarms. Yet interim president…and the new board of trustees…supported and chose an altered mascot that depicts a tree that has been anthropomorphized to closely resemble an angry, threatening brown individual.


Distinguished Feature Writing

  • Adrian Chiles – The Guardian

If you are unfamiliar with the work of Britain’s Adrian Chiles, you could have some grand amusement in going through the catalog of his work. The man is a master of what I describe as an equal mix of quotidian banality and absolute mind-melding obtuseness. In this, one of his more reasoned pieces, Chiles addresses the subject of alcohol consumption and a recent study about its effects.

Nothing is particularly objectionable, but his approach is a bit conflicting. Here we get a newsman making a case while at the same time instructing his readers to ignore what they read in the news. It is a delightful dose of delusion.



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