Our weekly recognition of less-than-meritorious excellence in journalism worthy of a skewed version of Pulitzer Prize consideration.
As an extension of the media-mocking venture at Townhall, Riffed From the Headlines, we once again recognize the exalted performances in our journalism industry and compile worthy submissions for 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 National Reporting
- Matt Lavietes – NBC News
In Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee was poised to sign new legislation limiting drag show performances where children would be involved. Lavietes, in completely non-activist-media fashion, came up with a scathing expose: Bill Lee has dressed in drag himself!
This explosive revelation, however, loses a bit of impact when you learn it occurred about 50 years ago, when he was a teenager, for an annual event. Yes, Lavietes believes he has shredded the governor’s efforts since he managed to find a high school yearbook photo where Lee and other students were participating in a homecoming powderpuff game ritual.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee appears to have dressed in drag — an art form he wants to restrict. https://t.co/55SMYENxZZ
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 28, 2023
Distinguished Sports Reporting
- Andy Nesbitt – Sports Illustrated
With Spring Training underway, we are beginning to see some baseball news leaking out — and we are not sure this is a good thing. We get this detailed report about Boston Red Sox star Kiki Hernandez, who was asked about an embarrassing moment in his career while he was playing.
Hernandez overshares about a game during the 2020 playoffs where he was feeling ill — and managed to soil himself while in the batter’s box. Let’s Play (#)2!
Kiké Hernández told an embarrassing story about going to the bathroom in his pants during the 2020 NLDS https://t.co/xaFHYiCICq
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 2, 2023
Distinguished Editorial Writing
- Monica Hesse – Washington Post
There is a chance some of you might be enduring a professional lull in your career or feeling as if you could do better professionally, but I am here to lend you some perspective. At least you are not enduring the travails experienced by Monica Hesse!
The Washington Post firefighter reveals how her job requires her to comb through the voluminous tranche of tweets created by author J. K. Rowling in order to find her anti-trans content. And, get this – Rowling makes it hard because she is not a flaming phobic who flies off of the handle with obvious hatred. No, Rowling makes Hesse’s life harder because she couches her views in language that is not obvious and needs to be hunted down and parsed in order to prove how vile she is!
Rowling’s tweets are exhausting because they require constant vigilance. They are not screaming out obvious bigotry, rather, they are whispering plausible-deniability bigotry, the kind that purports to be just asking questions. https://t.co/AQr9xKEynS
— Monica Hesse (@MonicaHesse) March 6, 2023
The Rice Cake Award Nomination (for content-free reporting)
- Emily Heil – Washington Post
Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the journalism spectrum, just how easy must it be to work as a food reporter? Ms. Heil here shows off the merits of her post, as she delves into a weighty matter concerning the First Couple.
The food critic seemingly has never heard the phrase, “I’ll have what she’s having.” Apparently, tongues were wagging after Joe and Jill Biden were spotted dining out, and their orders drew Heil’s attention. That is to say, “their order.”
It wasn’t what they ate, exactly, that got people all worked up. Their choices were on-brand: The Bidens are well known to be fans of red-sauced pasta. And they hadn’t opted for some culinary lightning rod, such as foie gras or pizza topped with pineapple. It was the mere fact that they both ordered the same entree.
Oh, to have been in the office when Emily’s editor came across this gem of an article…
To think that just a few years ago the WaPo was all but accusing a sitting president of being a Russian asset. Now… this.
“The Bidens ordered the same dish at a restaurant. Who does that?” https://t.co/STBMZ1j70y
— Jason Buttrill (@JasonButtrill) February 28, 2023
Distinguished Local Reporting
- Ashley Shook – WWLP Channel 22 News
During the recent select board meeting held in Whatley, Massachusetts a business proposal was brought before the members. Locals who own a zoned property want to open a new enterprise at the location. Owners Nicholas Spagnola and Julius Sokol spoke about possible plans for Club Castaway, a venture that had to close as a result of the pandemic.
The business partners, in trying to figure out the best use for the property, have even proposed to remove nude dancing and alcohol from the license.
Instead, they are looking to open up a topless marijuana dispensary.
Whately property owners propose topless cannabis dispensary https://t.co/RruVWeDvn9
— WWLP-22News (@WWLP22News) February 24, 2023
Distinguished International Reporting
- The Netherlands Times
It might be fair to say that the Chinese spy balloon has created an international tremor. In Holland, there was a report — of sorts — of a local policeman who spotted one of these spy crafts hovering over his township.
While on patrol in the city of Boxtel, the officer looked through his windshield and thought he spotted one of those nefarious balloons hovering over the town. He decided to pursue it for a spell and then pulled over to a safe area and got out to analyze the floating object further.
Only as he stood outside of his vehicle he could no longer locate the espionage dirigible. After he was perplexed the cop turned around and spotted his object — it was a smear of bird crap that hit his window.
Dutch cop monitoring “spy balloon” realizes it’s bird poo on his windshield 🙄👮🎈https://t.co/rMel6mQKEQ
— 🏴Samantha Lara Cresta (@Sampfan) March 3, 2023
Distinguished Explanatory Reporting
- Diego Mendoza – Semafor
Some huge changes are in store for the scalene-shaped confection Toblerone. This is not anything affecting the recipe, consistency, or flavor of the product. Instead, look out for a drastic change in its…wrapper.
It turns out that the company will be removing its iconic image of a mountain peak, with the hidden bear figure seen in the negative space. This, Semafor explains in great detail, is the result of the company moving some of the production out of Switzerland. Apparently, the featured mountain is the Matterhorn, and if a product is not made of at least 80 percent Swiss-produced product then it cannot use iconography from the nation because it does not achieve the requisite “Swiss-ness criteria”.
Toblerone is ditching its iconic Matterhorn mountain peak logo in an effort not to violate Switzerland’s Swissness Act https://t.co/SMia9KsIdq
— Semafor (@semafor) March 3, 2023