Pulitzer Prize Dis-Honors: Gobbling Legos, Banning Anthems, and Colorizing Onions
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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 Explanatory Reporting

  •   and  CNN

The so-called Doomsday Clock is still a thing, and the gang at CNN appears to be on the dwindling list of those who take this annual announcement seriously. A group of scientists calling themselves the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists gather to assess all of the global threats and then tell us how close we are to complete eradication of ourselves. The “big” announcement this year is that they have moved the clock up 10 seconds, meaning the clock was set at 90 seconds until midnight — the closest to the hour it has ever been!!!

This was originally conceived as a measure of how close we are to ushering in our own nuclear destruction, but some years ago they also began factoring in influences to their metrics involving climate change – just to underscore how deeply serious we should take these eggheads telling us their Chicken Little palaver. CNN took them seriously, involving three writers to tell us the clock is about to run out! (The clock that has been intoning doom for about four generations now, since it first began to be a thing in 1948.)


Distinguished Public Service

  • Regina Barber – National Public Radio

On an episode of Shorty Wave, Barber covered a study conducted by a panel of pediatricians headed up by Dr. Andy Tagg. He wanted to address parents’ concerns that their children may have inadvertently swallowed a piece from their Lego play sets.

The vast majority of kids, like Andy, simply pass the object through their stool within a day or so. Still, Andy wondered whether there was a way to spare parents from needless worry.

So…rather than simply informing parents they needn’t become anxious, Dr. Tagg and five other physicians conducted a study where they would swallow the heads from Lego character pieces, and then examine their stool to measure when they passed the toys. “Each of them swallowed a Lego head,” says science journalist Sabrina Imbler, who wrote about the experiment for The Defector. (NOT The Defecator, it has to be noted.)

Now…um…instead of informing parents there is nothing to be concerned with one by one, as Dr. Tagg was preoccupied with apparently, he now has a scientific study to refer to — as he informs parents one by one…?


Distinguished Investigative Reporting

  • Paige Freshwater – The Mirror UK

In a piece that just screams, “I need to meet my article quota”, Ms. Freshwater delves deep into a vexing issue that has confounded gastronomy experts and foodies for generations now.

Finally, we get to the bottom of this paradox that has derailed many a gourmet eating session — Why are they called red onions, when they are quite clearly purple in color?!?!


Distinguished Headline Writing (The NY Post Prize)

Just to alert those of you here, reading the CNN report does nothing to clarify things.


Distinguished Local Reporting

  • Staff Report – Boca News Now

In my area of the state, a Florida man was charged with exposing himself in the parking lot of a Chipotle restaurant. For the sake of an apt description of events, throughout the article the man’s wedding tackle is appropriately described with a replacement euphemism.

We note that we have replaced the body part in question with “Jalapeno.”


Distinguished Sports Reporting

  • Richard Marsden – Perth Now

The Welsh Rugby league has taken a serious (ahem) step at curtailing potential confrontations with the fans. They have a violent sport where they serve alcohol, so their solution to curbing the rage? Get rid of a 60-year-old Tom Jones song! It has been announced that “Delilah” will no longer be permitted to be piped into stadiums.

The Welsh Rugby Union – currently in the midst of a crisis due to claims of a “toxic” culture of sexist, racist and homophobic bullying – has announced Delilah will now not be played by bands at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, nor sung by choirs during the upcoming Six Nations.

This is all due to the lyric, “She stood there laughing / I felt the knife in my hand / and she laughed no more”. So this is what league officials fear is inspiring violence and intolerance from their fans, not the result of watching their teams get throttled on the pitch and reacting in a drunken fashion. Got it.


Distinguished Content-Free Reporting (The Quaker Rice Cake Recognition)

  • Christy Pina – The Hollywood Reporter

We of course have little use for the opinions of celebrities, as they frequently display an inability to formulate cogent and pragmatic conclusions. It is even more vacuous when they offer an opinion that few people care about one way or another.

Years back Liam Neeson proved himself a star not to be listened to when he slammed the U.S. for the 2nd Amendment. Mockable enough, but for him to do so while on a press tour for yet another of his gun porn actions films — one in a string of movies in which he is brandishing a gun on the posters — was the depth of ignorance.

Now we get delivered the latest offering of his wisdom — Liam doesn’t like UFC fighting competitions. Oh… okay, trenchant commentary from the actor, we suppose…?

“Why don’t you just grab a beer bottle and hit the other guy over the head? That’s the next stage of the UFC. I hate it.”


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