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As an extension of a new media-mocking venture at Townhall, Riffed From The Headlines, we once again recognize the exalted performances in our journalism industry and compile worthy submissions to 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 Feature Writing
- Darryl Fears, The Washington Post
It may be time to accept a new reality; we are incapable of doing anything without it being polluted by social activism. Sports, entertainment, fashion – all have already been injected with woke culture and virtue signaling. But this mission creep continues, and now we see that another leisure diversion has been affected. Bird watching is now in the social equity crosshairs, and not in the manner one might think, according to the Washington Post. Surprisingly the gripe is not that this is a largely caucasian pursuit or that privilege is built into the study. The problem rests with…the birds.
The headline – “The racist legacy many birds carry” – says it all. This essentially means there is no escape from this mindset when the very object of an activity is the problem. Well, this should be fun. How many textbooks and birding guides will now have to be rewritten in order to properly designate the “Variegated Woke Thrush” or the “Virtue-tailed Ibis”?
— Julie Hauserman (@jhauserman) June 3, 2021
Distinguished Social Commentary
- Anna Russel, The New Yorker
It is rather amusing to see the dichotomy in the media as the country is reopening. Many are cheering for the return to normal activities and the reunions taking place in workplaces (as we in Florida say, “Welcome to the party”’) but there is another subset who feel the need to cling to the negative and highlight the downside of normalcy.
Thankfully The New Yorker is here to let us in on the fact that the prospect of returning to our life of freedom and movement is not the rosy enterprise we may expect it to be as we set foot outdoors.
And you thought reopening the country was a good thing –
The New Yorker is here to let us know just how bad of an idea it is to allow us to come out of the lockdowns. pic.twitter.com/hAPStYm65X
— Brad Slager – Media Antagonist / Bad Movie Curator (@MartiniShark) June 4, 2021
Distinguished National Reporting
- Yeganeh Torbati, The Washington Post
It is that delicious temptation in journalism when a story comes across your radar and it seems perfectly tailored and almost pre-written. A more experienced journalist will take this moment as the time you really need to step back and analyze the whole story, because the more perfect it seems the more likely that tripwires exist therein. Torbati did not step back, and as a result, stepped on a rake.
The reporter eagerly rushed forward with the story of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice who passed legislation that ultimately ended up benefitting his business interests. A corrupt Republican was afoot, correct? Well, only indirectly. What transpired was Justice repealed the unemployment Covid relief payments for his state — the benefit suspected of keeping employment figures low — and what followed was a rush of people applying for jobs, ultimately to the benefit of his business. So ultimately, Torbati got the story right, it was just the wrong story.
Distinguished Social Criticism
- Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times
Actress Lena Dunham is involved with a new clothing line. This is apparently big news, as The Times spends A LOT of time detailing this – over a clothing release that comprises all of five items. But take their word for it, this is big news. (Hey, we are just relieved that she is wearing clothes.)
In the piece, the over-sharing Dunham says something rather encouraging – “I’ve totally given up on the idea of being any type of impresario or person who had something to say to everyone.”
Well okay, you might react, this is certainly an encouraging development. Nope, not the case. Because after declaring she has nothing to say, the article unspools for over 2,200 more words, concerning mostly things she had to say.
Distinguished Investigative Journalism
Recall how the past four years gave us numerous examples of the press tailing President Trump doggedly as he made his ventures away from the White House, actively working to glean more information while challenging our leader with probing queries on topics that may not have been addressed in official reports and pressers?
Well, we can happily display that same journalistic spirit endures during the Biden administration. Last week the First Family took a brief vacation to celebrate Jill Biden turning 70, and during a bike jaunt, the press was on hand to pepper our leader with incisive questions.
— Mario Parker (@MarioDParker) June 3, 2021
Distinguished Explanatory Reporting
- Chiara Vercellone, USA Today Fact Check
It might be difficult to find a better representation that typifies our contemporary media and its relationship with Donald Trump. Following the speech he delivered Saturday evening to the North Carolina Republican Party, Donald Trump was a fixture on social media, as people insisted there was video showing that he wore his pants backward. Now, anyone even entertaining the likelihood of this taking place should be mocked roundly. But what, then, is to be said of a news outlet dedicating its time to fact-checking this prospect?
Imagine being the stringer over the weekend tasked with studying Donald Trump’s crotch. And to illustrate just how ardently these intrepid truth-detectors were focused on their mission, they relied on no less than five sources in order to determine that this was a FALSE story and that Trump had, in fact, worn his slacks in the traditional fashion.
Video footage and images taken throughout the night show the pants had a zipper in the front, indicating Trump wore his pants facing the right way. https://t.co/bogANIrBwv
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 7, 2021
ANNOUNCEMENT: Official Withdrawal of Nomination
- Joe Schmoe, The New York Times
As we had looked to honor the intrepid work in the category of Distinguished Feature Writing, for their coverage in the scientific field regarding the discovery of watermelons on the planet Mars, we need to withdraw the nomination at this time.
It has come to our attention that this was not in fact a verified article, and it has been reported that the paper had mistakenly posted this feature, possibly during a testing phase of the website operations. If at a later date this becomes posted once more as a legitimate news item, we will revisit the feature as one worthy of consideration.
Breaking: NYT retracts big “Watermelon on Mars” scoop. https://t.co/6jyfrDXv67
— foster kamer. (@weareyourfek) June 8, 2021