The Pulitzer Prize Dis-Honors: Sympathy for a Serial Killer, a Bud Light Boycott Scandal, and Racism in Diversity

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 water mark in the press.

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Distinguished Explanatory Reporting

  • Jamie Frevele – Mediaite

In a rather amazing story on Long Island, they captured a decade-long serial killer by analyzing the scraps left behind in a discarded pizza box from a public trash bin. The authorities were able to pull DNA from the crusts found in the trash, in order to trace evidence back to Rex Hauermann, suspected to be behind at least 13 killings.

At Mediaite they were covering the Fox News coverage of the arrest, where they had on as a legal analyst the retired homicide detective Brian Foley who had some commentary on the suspect that Frevele took offense to: He dared to comment on the rather corpulent nature of the suspect.

No one is going to accuse the suspect of being skinny, and I’m not surprised he left only a little bit of pizza.

How dare those heartless Fox people to insult the good nature of a murderer of over a dozen people!

 

Distinguished Investigative Reporting

  • Ryan Young – CNN

As the Bud Light saga continues to unfold CNN’s field reporter Ryan Young went to Nashville to deliver the typical “on the scene” dispatch. In the usual choppily-edited segment, there was a score of man-on-the-street comments, an interview with an expert on the matter, and the lengthier portions of Young telling us what is up.

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The thrust of the piece is when he blows open the somewhat scandalous expose: After reminding us that singer Kid Rock made a video of him shooting cases of Bud Light when the controversy erupted, Young went into Mr. Rock’s honky tonk on the Broadway section of downtown and found that Bud Light was being served!

 

Distinguished Editorial Writing

  • Jennifer Rubin – Washington Post

Things with Ms. Rubin have become so bad in recent years that it can be easy just to disregard most of her posts, but on occasion, she manages to surpass even those expectations to the point you cannot ignore her. One thing has become apparent; Rubin, by the looks of the evidence, does not have an editor. She must have the freedom to directly submit her pieces, because how else would one explain this kind of error getting onto the pages of WaPo?!

In a column where she was intent on demeaning Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis and his in-state followers, Jennifer fell prey to confirmation bias. Having seen a report earlier from Business Insider, Rubin repeated the claim that Florida was seeing a flood of people leaving the state the past couple of years. The only problem; the exact opposite is true. Ms. Rubin clearly did not read the census tables herself, otherwise, she would have seen the numbers of new residents and departing residents had been misread and actually show Florida is the fastest-growing destination. She also missed that B.I. had issued a complete retraction and correction on its story days earlier.

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Her own paper had to go in and issue a correction at the top of her column that now completely invalidates the entire piece and its premise.

 

Distinguished National Reporting

  • Brakkton Booker – Politico

In looking over the GOP field of candidates running for president it seems clear the press is somewhat bothered that there is diversity and inclusion on display from the party that is constantly called racist. As Booker shows in his piece, that will not stop them from accusing racism. 

It is a remarkable stretch being made that the fact the GOP shows to not be racist with its diversity ends up becoming racist, all because they do not make a grand display of the diversity in the field.

The GOP has its most diverse presidential field in modern history. The Republican Party is now up to a half dozen candidates of color seeking the GOP nomination, surpassing the previous record of four set during the 2016 cycle.  But the party isn’t keen to trumpet it — if they address it at all. Few of the candidates speak directly to it. And definitely not the Republican National Committee, which declined to have any official speak on the record with POLITICO.

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Distinguished Cultural Criticism 

  • Emily Yahr – Washington Post

Proving that millennials in the press frequently have an inability to think beyond either their experienced history or the social activism they adore, Emily Yahr displays possibly both, as she delivers a measurement and condemnation about something in the music realm.

Country star Luke Combs has a hit currently on the country charts with his reinterpretation of Tracey Chapman’s “Fast Car”. At WaPo Ms. Yahr sees this as a privileged release, and she needs to inform us all about the affront to norms this appears to be. “Combs’s remake of Chapman’s 1988 hit now dominates the country charts, renewing difficult conversations about diversity in Nashville,” she insists. We get treated to details of how few POC-LGBT𝜋 artists make it onto country music charts. (We get no information on how many  POC-LGBT𝜋 artists there are, who are said to be excluded from the country music charts.)

To suggest that Chapman is somehow slighted by the success of this song ignores that she sold millions of copies in 1988 when the song was a smash hit, as she won multiple Grammys, and one other detail precludes suggesting Chapman is harmed here. She is the lone published songwriter on “Fast Car” and as such she is being rewarded significantly by hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties so far.

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Distinguished International Reporting

  • Chandra Philip – CTV News

A Canadian court in Saskatoon has ruled in a case brought between two companies with a dispute about a business arrangement. South West Terminal Ltd. was suing over a breach of contract with a farming company, Achter Land & Cattle Ltd. over a lack of an agreed-upon bulk grain delivery. SWT maintained that they had a contract for delivery, but Achter’s claim is that they never finalized a deal.

The judge ruled in favor of SWT, when they showed that after drawing up a contract and signing on their end, they sent a photo of the contract via phone text. When they received the text an Achter owner sent a “thumbs up” emoji, which they contend was only to indict they received the text. The judge instead ruled the emoji was a sign of agreement, and that Achter was responsible for $82,000 in damages, interest, and court costs.

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Distinguished Coverage of Frozen Desserts (The Joe Biden Prize)

  • Danielle Wiener-Bronner – CNN

Oh look, here is something else Joe Biden has managed to make worse. It was just National Ice Cream Day, so of course our media complex had to come up with some dire news reports to honor the occasion. CNN arrives with the report that in the last study on the industry that American consumption of ice cream has plunged by one-third. Certainly one might suggest that the pandemic had a negative influence, but the news outlet see other nefarious influences.

But like full-fat milk, soda, red meat and other former heroes of the American diet, ice cream has been scrutinized for its impact on health and the environment. 

Then there are plenty of disqualifying elements in this article. It clarifies that this drop concerns “regular dairy ice cream, which does not include frozen yogurt, sherbet or non- and low-fat ice creams”. It would seem that including those adjunct products would deliver a less negative result, no? Also, we get this nugget buried in the deeper layers of the piece: Dairy ice cream purchases by volume have dropped by about 8% from 2018 to 2022. In that time, unit sales have also fallen — but sales by dollar have gone up, showing that people are spending more for less.

This is explained by two realities. Either people are buying premium options, or they are being impacted by inflation.

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