The arduous task of cataloging who ranks among the worst in the pundit class is a daunting one and imprecise. While inundated daily with media malfeasance in my column "Riffed from the Headlines," I am exposed to all manner of journalistic misbehavior and malpractice. Subjectivity rises as there is not only a degree of personal measurement of policies and issues but also on personalities. It is similar to comedy; what you find deeply amusing could only elicit a smirk from another, and likewise, the disgust felt from a journalist.
I did attempt a level of measurement to items such as the impact of outlets, degree of influence, and the like, as well as objective assessment of reporting at times. Some delivered long-term problems; others gave a few notable standout performances. Ultimately, I believe when looking at the nadir of the journalism class, we can all agree – while you may see certain entries as better or worse, they all have a place in the mire of their industry. So for today, here are the entries from #31-50 in the bottom rung of journalism's elite.
50. Matt Fuller – The "Politics Stuff" at The Daily Beast sometimes struggles with his beat. He stated that Senator Mitch McConnel eliminated the filibuster on judicial votes. He was still selling the Christine Blasey-Ford testimony as accurate.
49. Peter Jamison – Tagging along with Taylor Lorenz has hurt his rep. Helped claim Libs of TikTok was "blamed" for harassment of children's hospitals as he and others at WaPo were the ones doing the blaming. Stoked January 6 anniversary melodrama by highlighting those who are quitting D.C. due to January 6 PTSD.
48. Yacob Reyes – He managed to stand out among the PolitiFact truth manipulators. Reyes slammed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for exaggerating student loan debt percentages held by grad students – as DeSantis was using stats from The Poynter Institute, owner of PolitiFact. He challenged DeSantis, saying Lee County was not in a hurricane forecast based on an inhibited barrier island barely touching the edge of the projected zone. As Senator Marco Rubio discussed the recent mass shootings, he said none involved weapons from gun shows, but Reyes proved him "wrong," citing shootings from well over a decade ago. Yacob gave one of the best fact-checks of the year by proving the claim false that a man turned himself in after killing his imaginary friend.
47. Ryan Lizza – Lizza raved that Democrats would use the January 6 anniversary to push federalized election laws. He has placed Biden as one of the greatest presidents. Ever. After the Pennsylvania Senate debate, Ryan focused on the policy weaknesses of Dr. Mehmet Oz – with no attention to John Fetterman's weaknesses.
46. Aymen Mohyeldin – The MSNBC weekend host complained when a restaurant enforced Covid policies on his family his own network promoted. Aymen found it funny when a guest wanted to have sex with the SCOTUS leaker and then abort the baby. He defended Qatar from its human rights abuses by insisting the U.S. was actually worse.
45. Elie Mystal – The columnist at The Nation and perpetual firebrand is such a consistent vehicle for over-the-top rhetoric that it is understandable why MSNBC has him on so frequently. The thing keeping him from ranking higher is that he is so hysterical that he is a living parody. Nobody takes him seriously, even those following him ardently. He says Senators Manchin and Sinema are the white people Martin Luther King, Jr. warned people about. He calls the Constitution "trash." Said fascists ship people around while praising Martha's Vineyard… which had already shipped the immigrants elsewhere.
44. Laura Coates – Joined in with the conspiracy galaxy brains that sending Roe v. Wade back to the states would lead to bans on same-sex marriages and travel across state lines. When Ketanji Brown Jackson accepted her nomination, she said, "Mount Olympus decided to choose and give her each of the credentials and gave this great — almost a legal deity of sorts." When she tried suggesting restaurants could deny gays or blacks service by claiming what they do is "art," one guest had to walk her through it by explaining it was a case of protected speech and "Macaroni & Cheese is not speech."
43. Matt Dixon – His perpetual animosity toward Gov. Ron DeSantis leads him to trouble. Dixon said Hurricane Ian would be the governor's first storm test, oblivious that Hurricane Sally hit Dixon's home base in Tallahassee in 2020. Declared that relief funds for Florida only come from Biden's wallet. He spread the fake report of a DeSantis conference being canceled over immigration controversies. Filed a wildly inaccurate piece about the state of Florida paying for CRT services despite DeSantis banning such curriculums, and never retracted when proven wrong.
42. MaryAlice Parks – This is what it looks like when you start off with a partisan mindset. Parks breathlessly detailed how Washington, D.C., was dealing with nine thousand immigrants this summer, apparently oblivious that parts of Texas see that amount flooding into town in a matter of days, all year. When Jose Biden was proposing new gun restrictions, she focused instead on the theater of his speech. After SCOTUS placed limits on the EPA, Parks embarrassed herself as a journalist by actually asking in response, "Who is going to save the planet?"
41. Jemele Hill – The former sportscaster turned discount Joy Reid at The Atlantic continues to churn out race-baiting empty thoughts that have no one biting. She said Spotify should pay someone Joe Rogan money so as not to be racist, ignorant that the outlet signed Michelle Obama to a deal. Hill basically called Latinos racist for supporting Gov. DeSantis. She mocked anyone with opinions on the Brittney Griner prisoner swap, forgetting she had written her own "expert" opinion on the matter.
40. Manu Raju – He tried to concoct a feud between Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump when the governor had actually said critical things about Dr. Anthony Fauci. He seemed unaware that after GOP lawmakers said a Democrat hearing on the Club Q shooting was set up to blame Republicans, his report ended up confirming that claim. He challenged Senator Tommy Tuberville that if he voted against giving Ukraine another package of billions in aid, he was essentially helping Russian President Vladimir Putin.
39. Stephen Colbert – The face of late-night gabbers being liberal mouthpieces was in high form all year. When gas prices spiked to record highs, he said so what, because he drives a Tesla. In the run-up to the election, he featured on his program more than two dozen Democrats. The Republicans visiting his show totaled – zero. Had a number of his staffers arrested for trespassing in the Capitol. He called the FBI raid on Donald Trump "Christmas."
38. Felicia Sonmez – Perhaps no news outlet has had as bad of a year as the Washington Post, and helping their decline into asininity was Felicia Sonmez. This summer, the reporter saw that WaPo devolved into a daycare center. It all began when columnist Dave Weigel retweeted a joke without comment. Sonmez took offense and made it all about herself. She went on a tirade impugning her workplace, insulting co-workers calling for calm, and making any suggestion to keep things professional and keep comments in the office into personal attacks. Management had to get involved. Weigel was forced to apologize, then was suspended, then left the paper, and Sonmez was ultimately fired. Her whole episode was as infantile of a scene as ever seen.
37. Sam Stein – It is always amusing when the bias of a journalist interferes in the execution of journalism. Stein saw a Taylor Lorenz piece on the end of Biden's Disinformation Governance Board and thought it was "wild" that Fox covered the story so much – and few outlets covered it at all. Sam was flummoxed over what caused the furor over the Florida law while using the very pejorative "Don't Say Gay Bill" title that caused the furor. He saw the George Santos story crop up and wondered if there was ever a politician making up his bio like this.
Joe Biden was raised Puerto Rican, had cancer, jailed with Mandela, arrested in civil rights, drove semis, played flankerback, his hometown rained oil, awarded a dead uncle the Purple Heart, went to synagogue on Sunday, and fought a drug dealer named Corn-Pop.— Brad Slager: CNN+ Lifetime Subscriber (@MartiniShark) December 23, 2022
Source: Joe Biden https://t.co/yY6cfWDInq
36. Nicholas Confessore – Delivered what could be considered an anti-Semitic attack by suggesting Jewish groups were behind the pardons delivered by President Trump. In an immense report supposedly taking down Tucker Carlson, Confessore allegedly proved the pundit's history of racism. It was based on thousands of hours of research and was laughed off in a matter of days.
35. Ian Milhiser – Many would expect the hysterical Supreme Court correspondent from Vox to rank higher, considering all of the SCOTUS news this year, but Ian trends lower as a result of his consistent displays of mental atrophy on court coverage. It is to the point that his approach of "Liberal Justices Great/Conservative Justices Venal" that his hot takes and opinions can be written ahead of time by anyone.
34. Paul Waldman – His lack of objectivity would make him Ron Klain's darling at any White House function. Evidence is found in his look at the evils of GOP gerrymandering…and not on Democrat efforts of the same variety. He praised Biden last month for his work on the rail strike – ignoring the failure of his previous work on the rail strike. Funniest was his attempt to say GOP opposition to HHS Department safety kits with crack pipes was racist. This was rooted in Waldman's own racist assessment that Crack = Black and Meth = White.
33. Tom Friedman – Proposed that Biden should ditch Kamala Harris and take on Liz Cheney as his new running mate. He declared the Russian-Ukraine conflict was "our first true world war." Claimed there was mistrust between the White House and Zelensky, then the U.S. went on to fork over $100 billion to Ukraine. Friedman had an exclusive sit-down interview with President Biden, then in the opening of his piece, announced their entire discussion was off the record.
32. Michael Beschloss – This historian is a permanent fixture on CNBC and never fails to deliver the goods. Which are truly bad in quality. He said the Highland Park shooter drove to Wisconsin to be acquitted like Kyle Rittenhouse. Claims right-wing rhetoric was to blame – for the Kennedy assassination. He demanded to know why GOP congressional members did not clap for Zelensky. The best, though, was this laundry list of promised calamities that will happen if Republicans take the House. (Children arrested!)
As @MSNBC leans heavily on a loss of democracy next week, none can top the melodramatics of @BeschlossDC with @ChrislHayes.— Lie-Able Sources (@LieAbleSources) November 3, 2022
We will lose democracy, also historians, publishing, and our children can be rounded up and arrested or even killed. (Why?!)
Hell of a GOP platform, that. pic.twitter.com/uhpdr4HW8V
31. Scott McFarlane – The end of the committee hearings will be a blow to the reporter obsessed with January 6. Scott and his CBS panel were baffled to learn voters cared more about the economy and inflation than January 6. He delivered criteria to be considered an election denier.
(Tomorrow, the next 20 entries will be delivered!)