We all know about the Pulitzer Prizes for journalism. They're the Oscar, the Emmy, the Gold Medal for excellence in the reportorial arts.
But what about the opposite end of the spectrum? Where's the journalistic equivalent of Hollywood's "Razzie Award," given out to commemorate the truly awful in American Cinema? Where, you may wonder, is the Anti-Pulitzer for journalism?
Well, my good friends, wonder no more. Where a void exists, your Humble Columnist rushes to fill it, in the spirit of public service. That, and the spirit of trying desperately to make his column deadline. I hereby establish the first Dusty Rhoades Awards, or "Dusties," for truly egregious "accomplishment" in American journalism.
Now, there are still some details to work out, such as how often the awards will be held. There are an awful lot of news sources these days, and Sturgeon's Law ("9o percent of everything is crap") has never been more eloquently demonstrated than in the cow-pie-covered field that is journalism.I could easily
The first category is the "Wait, What?" Award, given to the American reporter who says something so mind-bogglingly stupid that you feel like you need an instant replay just to confirm that your ears aren't deceiving you.
The first nomination goes to CNN's Glenn Beck.
Beck, a C-list right-wing talk radio host, was apparently brought on board by CNN on the theory that the best way to refute charges of liberal bias is to hire a mindlessly vicious bigot, prop him up in front of the camera, and let him babble to his shriveled little heart's content.
Beck wins the nomination for his remark during his coverage of the Southern California wildfires. Beck started off all Obama-esque: "Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean you hate America and I love America. We all love America. We just disagree on how we should function." So far, so good. But then Beck blurted out, "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today."
Wait, what? Who, exactly, was he talking about? There were a lot of people in the way of a lot of fires -- rich, poor, Republican, Democrat, etc. To which of these fire victims was Beck referring? Does all of Southern California hate America, even the ones in the upscale Republican enclave of Orange County? Beck remains inscrutable.
The next category is the "Memento" award. This one is named for the movie about a man with short-term memory loss who couldn't remember what he did from day to day, which posed some real challenges for the man in solving his wife's murder. This award is given to the journalist who can't seem to remember what he did from day to day, which poses some ... wait, did I already say that?
Anyway, the first nominee for this award is Fox News' John Gibson.
Gibson is best known not only for his bizarre televangelist hairstyle, but also for his bloodthirsty gloating over the killing of an innocent man after the London subway bombings ("Five in the noggin is fine"). He gets the nod for his recent comments decrying "liberal journalists." He took MSNBC host Chris Matthews to task for "advising" Barack Obama about what he "needed to say" to Hillary Clinton.
"Is it legitimate," Gibson huffed, "for one news anchor to publicly advise one candidate on how to beat another, and still try to pretend he's objective and neutral? My friends, fair and balanced this is not."
Gibson apparently had forgotten that the day before, he himself had said, "I think if Obama is going to close the gap with Hillary, he needs a new attack." Hypocrisy? Brain damage? You make the call. It's admittedly hard to tell with Gibson.
Third, we have the "You Got Served" award, given to that journalist who asks a stupid question, only to have his or her subject strike back and leave the questioner with egg on one's face. This nomination goes to CBS' Lesley Stahl, who sat down for a "60 Minutes" interview with French President Nicholas Sarkozy.
When Stahl got into questions about Sarkozy's relationship with his wife Cecilia (from whom he was divorced two weeks after the interview), Sarkozy, in an admirably calm voice, said, "If I had to say something about Cecilia, I would certainly not do so here." Then he got up and left, with a dumbfounded Stahl gaping after him. Awesome.
Well, I see we're running out of space. We'll have more later. In the meantime, feel free to suggest nominations to me, care of this newspaper. And in case you were wondering, Dusty Rhoades and his staff and employees are not eligible.