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-water mark in the press.
Distinguished National Reporting
The network’s resident Republican pundit (ahem) brought back to their airwaves Tennessee state Representative Justin Pearson, one of the trio of legislators who was initially punished, but then rewarded, for helping stage a protest on the floor of the state capitol. Pearson was there to — of course — lambaste the Republicans in his state House chambers, but Wallace exposes herself by letting Pearson rant on in an idiotic fashion without ever thinking to use corrective context.
To summarize: Nicolle was content to have on the air someone who not only instigated a mob on the state House floor, and then complained about new rules that would limit mobs from taking place, but Pearson goes on to say such an effort to prevent mobs was an example of “mob rule.” It does not get any better than this stunted display, seriously.
“Our democracy is in peril. The reality is we have people in the state of Tennessee, a Republican Party, who in much more interested in turning our democracy into their mobocracy for mob rules” – @Justinjpearson w/ @NicolleDWallace pic.twitter.com/jQe4Y8egew
— Deadline White House (@DeadlineWH) August 22, 2023
Distinguished Editorial Writing
With the government attempting to restoke the pandemic panic and trying to force vaccine boosters and mandates on the populace once again, the press has been dutiful in promoting this to an apathetic and resistant crowd. Phil Bump made his tepid attempt to sway people with a column in which he claims that Republicans are willing to swallow any false COVID misinformation, as opposed to the brilliant and wise Democrats.
He cites a deeply suspicious study that proves those uneducated dupes on the right are filled with false information.
New research shows the extent to which Republicans are disproportionately credulous about health-related misinformation. It’s not just that there is an uprising against an imaginary imposition, it’s also that Republicans are consistently more likely to express belief in false claims related to COVID and other things.
Just for fun, we offer Mr. Bump a list of fraudulent COVID claims:
Masking prevents the spread of the virus.
Vaccines prevent contracting the virus.
Vaccinated people cannot spread the virus.
The virus originated from bat soup sold in an exotic food market.
Black Lives Matter protests would not spread the disease during lockdowns.
Ivermectin is a horse deworming medication.
To also help out Philip here – these were not falsehoods put out by Republicans
On a wide range of health-related issues including covid and vaccines, Republicans are much more likely to believe false things than Democrats. https://t.co/YL9gcqeZJm
— Philip Bump (@pbump) August 22, 2023
Distinguished Public Service
The big news item for the week was Donald Trump’s arraignment in an Atlanta courthouse – because the previous three indictments were not historic enough, apparently. This time, however, there was cause for explosive celebration; the DA’s office released mugshots of all of the co-defendants, and Trump himself!!!
To illustrate just how hysterically ebullient the network was with the revelation of these photographs, it was measured by the gang over at Newsbusters.
They found that in a 24-hour broadcast window, CNN and MSNBC displayed the collage of photos nearly 200 times – with MSNBC being particularly obsessed with presenting the image. The network displayed the pics 122 times, comprising nearly one hour of displayed screen time.
CNN, MSNBC Display Trump Co-Defendants’ Mugshots 188 Times in 24 Hours https://t.co/xcz9Aivx9N
— NewsBusters (@newsbusters) August 27, 2023
Distinguished Investigative Journalism
Adding to the giddiness of the Trump arraignment, there was rampant speculation about the personal details listed on the booking documents; specifically, many in the press were focused on the listing of Trump at 6’3” and 215 lbs.
Woodward and Bernstein must be glowing with pride to see their home paper dedicating nearly 900 words, and having three reporters chipping in work, on nothing more than an exploration into Donald Trump’s listed weight in court documents.
Trump’s booking record declared the former president’s height to be 6′3″ and his weight 215 pounds — more than 20 pounds lighter than his officially disclosed weight at the time of his last official White House physical. https://t.co/QU2s5OaQvj
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 24, 2023
Distinguished Explanatory Reporting
Following the Republican debate, it was expected the press would be swarming with the type of corrective reporting that we do not experience following Democratic Party competitions. Chris Hayes oddly saw one topic brought up and decided it needed his intrepid fact-checking skills since it was something concerning the governance of Joe Biden.
During a portion of addressing the issues with the southern border immigration issue, candidates mentioned the preponderance of fentanyl crossing into the country through the porous border. Hayes snapped to rectify the record and defend the president in the process.
The fentanyl is coming through the ports of entry and airports, not that anyone cares about the truth here.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 24, 2023
Since Hayes appears to be a fan of the facts here, allow us to inject some. The Port Authorities do not tabulate confiscations made by other agencies and police departments, so his stats are skewed. But let us entertain his premise and go with the claim that most of the fentanyl is coming through our ports; is that not still an indictment of the Biden administration being incapable of stemming the tide of this drug pouring into the country at alarming levels?!
Distinguished Breaking News
Also leaping to dispute the GOP debaters was the star of MSNBC Sundays. When she saw the portion of the debate when Ron DeSantis dared mention that Democrats push for abortion up to the time of birth, Mrs. Psaki was having none of it! “No one supports abortion up until birth,” she boldly declared. This left us with a few choices.
We could show the various Democrats who are on the record pushing for this very standard. Or we could list the seven Democrat-run states that have based limit-free abortion laws. But instead, we thought it would be more explanatory to show it was when Democrats proposed the Women’s Health Protection Act in Congress. It was voted in favor by nearly all the House Dems, and the Senators. But it was also promoted by the Biden administration, something that was touted to the press – by Jennifer Psaki.
Rather interesting that your name is attached here to the official White House position in support of the WHPA, which called to strip all restrictions on abortion.
1/ https://t.co/xb190qITij pic.twitter.com/aX1YJPLmAp
— Brad Slager: CNN+ Lifetime Subscriber (@MartiniShark) August 24, 2023
Distinguished Feature Writing
The term “navel-gazing” is often employed to describe when distracted members of the press resort to self-indulgent pieces focused more on themselves than important issues. It is with this in mind that it appears curious the Post’s health advice columnist would delve into such a trivial topic as the appearance of navel lint.
This is not only a pedestrian concern that would defy anyone needing to inquire about its presence, but to then explore the topic deeply is just bewildering. Further, Pasricha manages to cite no fewer than three scientific studies that explored the complexities of this non-phenomenon, something that is alleviated with the most basic acts of personal hygiene.
What’s that stuff in your bellybutton? Science has the answer.https://t.co/yJIm7CGv8q
— Carol Etta Kelso💝🌌👥🐾🌠🔭👥🐾🌍🦅🐢🐘🐋🐝🌲🌾🙏 (@CarolEttaKelso) August 15, 2023