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Requiem for a Pundit: Here Is a Best-Of List as a Farewell to Chris Cillizza

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Townhall Media

"Riffed from the Headlines" is Townhall's daily VIP feature with coverage of the deeply flawed aspects of journalism in the nation. We'll look to bring accountability to the mishaps, malaprops, misdeeds, manipulations, malpractice, and manufactured narratives in mainstream media.


Reporting on the…Headstone

As the new CNN management is firing up the Poulan to begin pruning staffers from the network in a series of layoffs, we ruefully report on one departure. We at RFH do not particularly revel in the firing of those in the news industry, and we especially do not cheer the loss of a dependable source of content.

In the scope of this media column, Chris Cillizza was as reliable as they come for delivering the type of warped or obtuse commentary we savor. If we had a light workload on a particular day, we could always rely on Cillizza's Twitter feed or the latest newsletter release to provide some needed entries.

In honor of our lost muse, we will look back at some of his memorable entries from recent years. We shall begin back at the beginning of last year.

  • The GameStop stock exploits dominated the news for weeks. Chris was there to explain – this was all due to Trumpism.
  • In a mostly-deleted thread from last December, Cillizza comes around to admitting something he and most in the press had been denying, that vaccines were not preventing Covid infections. This did NOT lead to much in the way of personal reflection.
  • In wanting to mock Aaron Rodgers for vaccine denialism, Chris had scorn for anyone who wanted to find out vaccine facts for themselves – then delivered his own vaccine facts. Making it better, in the same segment, he ridicules anyone who uses the phrase "Do my own research," and then, after delivering his factoids, commanded viewers, "Go look it up!"
  • The man had another shame-deletion with a thread receiving mockery when he expressed surprise that after more than a year of shaming in the press, he came to learn people were not open about contracting the virus. "For months and months, no one I came into contact with admitted they had Covid. Not neighbors. Not co-workers. Not friends. Not acquaintances. No one. Which is fascinating to me. Because it suggests that they were embarrassed or scared to say they (or their family) had it before."
  • After the press had incessantly been preaching at us for over a year to "follow the science" and "listen to medical professionals," Cillizza lashed out at Senator Ted Cruz for daring to question getting vaccine advice from Big Bird.
  • Chris also deleted most of his Twitter history when Andrew Cuomo was proven to be the predator most though, but his CNN dispatches still contained his lengthy praise for the deposed governor.
  • Another curious focus for the man has been Herschel Walker. He suggested his selection was a nightmare for the GOP (while not currently holding the Senate seat). One reason is Chris saying the Georgia resident and star of the University of Georgia was not technically a Georgian.
  • Chris was absolutely beside himself that Elon Musk had impertinent words toward Senator Liz Warren. (That Warren was initially the rude party was not important.)
  • While claiming only Republicans talk about defunding the police, Chris complained Representative Cori Bush provided the GOP with ammunition when she called to defund the police.
  • It was declared "A monster troll move" in July when John Fetterman had a video endorsement form – Snooki.
  • Showing a study that "proved" the US became more corrupt under Trump, we are told by Chris the January 6 riot was a contributing factor. In the study, America's rating did not shift from year to year.
  • In the summer of 2021, he called anyone suggesting invoking the 25th Amendment an outlandish kook. In January of that year, he was basically using the same insult but toward anyone who denied the 25th be used on Trump.
  • After about a year, it was clear that Biden was a bit of a mess, so much so that even Democrats are looking for alternatives. Cillizza comes up with a way of explaining that people will be satisfied with Biden – by comparing the president to a bad seafood meal in a restaurant. "Now, consider that same scenario, except that when you are halfway done with the too-fishy fish, the waiter comes over and says that they would be happy to exchange your fish for the chicken entree. Now, you already chose the fish over the chicken for some reason — maybe you didn't like how it was prepared or maybe you just didn't feel like chicken. You are FAR more likely to stick with the fish in this scenario."

That…we got nothing…

  • Chris suggested that Donald Trump has a unique obsession with windmills. This was based on a handful of comments he found over the course of years. Meanwhile, it was NOT obsessive that Chris tweeted about Trump directly seven times, and there were at least 12 topics brought up in the course of various mentions and retweets 20 times – all of that delivered within just a few days of that video segment.
  • Chris saw a need to mask-shame some folks on a plane he was on. And get this – they were watching Fox News the entire flight!
  • Last Fall, when college football reopened stadiums, Cillizza was clearly torn on the matter. He went from bemoaning the crowds gathered together en masse, AND he was cheering the stirring visuals of…crowds gathered together. He did this in a matter of two days.
  • In the Virginia governor's race, the CNN expert hailed Vice President Kamala Harris for lending some of her "magic" to help Terry McAuliffe. At the time, she was nearly double-digits underwater in approval polls.
  • Chris cites a poll that he says proved viewers of right-wing news networks drove Q-anon conspiracies. The same poll showed an almost identical number of people watching CNN were also Q-nutters. 
  • Relying on another poll, Chris found proof the Republican was extreme. He had to ignore that in the same poll, the Democrats had nearly the same result, with a heavy dose of oversampling to help their cause.
  • After spending a lengthy amount of time declaring GOP candidates must turn away from election denialism, by September, a fair amount did just that. Chris then gave a segment demonizing those candidates who essentially followed his advice.


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