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.
30. NewsGuard – Ostensibly set up as an arbiter of correct and proper news delivery, this outfit has shown itself to be a comedy routine with a web address. Incapable of doing the core job description – measuring sites delivering misinformation – NewsGuard gave out a series of perfect scores to sites revealed to have pushed fake Hunter Biden Laptop stories. Its own CEO, Stephen Brill, pushed the fake story of Russian involvement, and former CIA Director Michael Hayden signed the letter with over 50 intelligence officials saying the laptop story was a Russian hoax, as he sits on the NewsGuard board. In November, two NewsGuard members wrote about "right-wing sites" spreading debunked information about Paul Pelosi's attack. The sites shown used reports from mainstream outlets (which were excused by NewsGuard), and the "debunked" information came out after their cited examples.
29. Aaron Rupar – The man so bad he has become a verb on social media was in his usual deceptive form all year. He tried correcting a fact-check about Trump and drinking bleach. He disputed that high voter turnout disproved voting restrictions. He discovered white people at a Trump rally. He declared it was "stolen valor" when someone used a video news clip that HE had stolen from OAN.
28. Daniel Dale – Fact-checked that Raphael Warnock's campaign ads with him walking a dog were not lies since he never stated that he owned the dog. Dale worked to redefine "energy independence" on behalf of the president. Slammed Senators Marsha Blackburn and Ron Johnson for false information about D.C. pandemic restrictions. He declared them in the wrong for quoting Mayor Muriel Bowser directly. Dale declared Bowser "used overly broad language," but the GOP senators were responsible for researching the laws more thoroughly. The mayor not knowing what her own laws were was not a concern. And for the record, Dale never fact-checked the Jose Biden claim he was raised Puerto Rican.
27. Ari Melber – He laughably embarrassed himself with a rant on Elon Musk, announcing all of the things he might do if running Twitter, while what he was describing was in fact all the problems Twitter had already been doing for years. To back abortion rights, he raved his guest Samantha Bee was "on the forefront with comedy and facts." He wrote the forward for one of the many published editions of the January 6 Committee Report.
26. John Avlon – I personally enjoy listening to CNN's walking definition of the term "smarmy." Avlon delivers histrionic vocalizations that greatly exceed his minimalist content. That he was part of the now-dispatched CNN "New Day" program was a loss for comedy. He raved about Biden spending his way out of inflation, saying the elements of the bill would counter the recession that they were all denying was taking place. The best was his hot take about the missing hours of White House call logs from the J-6C investigation, delivering all manner of grave dramatics about the story that evaporated almost instantly. Just his saying it "makes Watergate look like a game of patty cake!" is the perfect balance of hysteria against a non-story.
25. Katy Tur – Joining the chorus of journalist doomsday preppers over Elon Musk buying Twitter, Tur suggested, "There are massive, life and globe-altering consequences for just letting people run wild on the thing." On election night, she actually proposed that John Fetterman run for president in 2024. During the book tour for her sales-averse release "Rough Draft," she actually pondered why she does her job with so many distrusting the media.
24. Stephanie Ruhle – After taking over the late-night slot vacated by Brian Williams, Ruhle's "The 11th Hour" displayed all of the impacted thinking she offered in her previous 9 am schedule. She swooned to Dr. Anthony Fauci, "You make us smarter and safer and better every day." Ignoring who runs the country, she bleated to Republicans to come up with an inflation plan. She raved about John Fetterman's trolling skills. Tried to insist that non-existent book bans were leading to violence.
@SRuhle cannot apply logic to her emotional rant.— Lie-Able Sources (@LieAbleSources) December 14, 2022
1) Limiting books for kids based on age appropriateness is not "banning books" any more than a film Rated-R is a movie ban.
2) To link elementary book restrictions to violence means elementary kids are committing the violence. pic.twitter.com/jDolgUTYGA
23. Jonathan Karl – ABC's newsman was effusive about Cassidy Hutchinson's laughable J-6C testimony. Saw a need to impugn Senator Josh Hawley about "cheering on" the January 6 crowds. On "This Week," he stated no first-term president since Kennedy gained Senate seats, oblivious that the previous president accomplished that.
22. Glenn Kessler – He attempted to refute the Washington Free Beacon report that the Biden administration was distributing crack pipes. (Turns out they are.) He shared a false story by Politico about Justice Clarence Thomas without fact-checking the story himself. Glenn felt the need to correct Trump on his opposition to windmills, basically supporting the killing of birds. When Stacey Abrams made her fully ignorant comments about ultra-sounds, Kessler rushed to her defense with an absence of facts.
21. Adam Wren – Gave us one of the more despicable reports this year when he obtained the wrongfully released records of congressional candidate Jennifer-Ruth Green's sexual assault when she served in the military. Wren was bothered by prominent names on the right sharing "disinformation" about the Paul Pelosi attack when those details had been reported in his own outlet.
20. David Frum – It seems that "bitter" is the character trait Frum decided was the best look for him as a leading anti-Trump, vacillating conservative. He carped about broad weather predictions and invited backlash against his past wrongful predictions on the Iraq War. He defended Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from Hitler comparisons, after comparing Trump to Hitler. Encouraged Canada to shut down the truckers' protest. He proposed that the US government seize the Starlink internet system. Naturally, he blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin's nuclear threat on Ukraine on the man who had been out of office for two years.
19. Ali Velshi – He tried to sell us on the merits of abortions by highlighting the oppressive totalitarian regimes with looser abortion laws. He tried to shift blame for the Highland Park shooting by saying, "Guns get in from other places," when the weapons were bought legally in Illinois. He fought with a British historian on the air over British colonialism. Desperately deflected from our bad economy – and his hat – by listing other countries doing worse.
Ali Velshi: You might not like how the Biden administration or the Federal Reserve is handling inflation, but the problem is a global one, not one created by this White House...there are 100 economies with higher inflation rates right now than America. https://t.co/7QWge4nzwu pic.twitter.com/F1SugcGH3Y— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 25, 2022
18. Jonathan Chait – The New York Magazine thinker had a banner year of stunted lukewarm takes. He tried to say DC's mask-vaccine ordinances would be great for business. He, of course, sees Florida Governor Ron DeSantis granting freedom to Floridians as authoritarian. Was caught by his outlet misquoting Christopher Ruffo and claimed victory in the process. Says anti-Semites have taken over the GOP.
17. Chuck Todd – Always dependable for a slanted quote and fractured history, Todd had a bit of a tough time of it when he learned his show "Meet The Press Daily" was being sent to the minors, as it was pulled from MSNBC and placed on the little-known NBC News NOW streaming service. Basically admitted the left-controlled media was beaten by saying people had dour opinions on the economy due to the right-wing echo chamber. When Kathy Hochul pushed to limit free speech, Chuck had nothing to say. Probably because he thinks supporting free speech is a white supremacist move. Todd actually said more people accepted Abraham Lincoln's election than Biden's.
16. David French – Complained about Biden after the "conservative" thinker was pushing for his election. Said the next insurrection will come from our country's churches. After his lengthy Covid-shaming, French was on board with those this Fall calling for pandemic amnesty. Responded to the Twitter Files release by saying that people just wanted the ability to share Hunter's porno pics. Gave a lengthy thread in support of government 1-A suppression.
15. Yamiche Alcindor – The reporter and pundit consistently trips herself up by having her narrative in place before facing the facts. She cheered about a Biden press conference without giving any details. Perhaps the only person getting more undiluted praise from Alcindor has been Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Yamiche claimed it was a grave setback for black women when the final KBJ confirmation vote was delayed a few minutes by Senator Rand Paul. (She already had enough votes, was confirmed 60 seconds later, and was not taking the bench until months later.) Alcindor was comfortable becoming an election denier in saying the GOP could steal elections in 2022 or 2024. Helpfully said that pregnancies could turn into children.
14. Don Lemon – He called anyone thinking for themselves regarding their own health "idiots." Defied the new CNN management as he continued to rail against Republicans as being dangerous to society, as well as enthusiastically agreeing with Biden that the GOP is a bunch of fascists, and he was promptly demoted from the primetime gig he had for years to a tepid slot on the revamped morning show. He delivered comedy on a Stephen Colbert appearance by insisting CNN was never liberal.
13. Jim Acosta – He started the year by hosting a primetime special, "Democracy In Peril," that drew hardly any ratings. In discussing his tenure covering Trump, he claimed to Don Lemon to have "marks on my back." He hosted Ronan Farrow to decry the lack of trust in the media. Jim Acosta, HE dared to say this. Jim flatly accused Tucker Carlson as responsible for the Buffalo supermarket shooting. During the controversy in Florida, Acosta could not grasp why "any politician would go after Disney World."
12. Philip Bump – We accept Bump as a WaPo liberal columnist. We just don't accept his constant departure from common sense. When the Hunter Biden laptop was confirmed, he desperately tried explaining it away by listing the variety of other claims as disqualifying – which were the result of spin from the press to not cover the story. When Elon Musk posted an opinion about himself, Bump felt the need to fact-check him. After wailing about Twitter exposing people and information being a danger, Philip dismissed the idea of tracking the coordinates of Elon Musk's plane. When the Paul Pelosi details became deeply inconvenient, Bump actually stated that the police releasing details and video footage of that night is wrong because it would fuel conspiracy theories.
11. Oliver Darcy – After Brian Stelter was dispatched there was a dormant period for Darcy, who was Stelter's Boy Wonder sidekick. Then the network reconstituted the "Reliable Sources" newsletter and gave Ollie the reins. He quickly showed his departure from complete Fox News obsessiveness by delving into Twitter obsessiveness. When conservative outlets wanted to offer alternative entertainment for children, Oliver declared this was inspired by Qanon. After ignoring the Twitter Files, he exposed the resistance was because they were not brought to him but to lesser journalists. He lobbied other news outlets to stop advertising on Twitter and was ignored. When a fellow CNN reporter was suspended, Darcy acted surprised to learn of a policy to delete a tweet to be reinstated – despite him plainly knowing about this policy for years.
A prime example of Oliver Darcy being the gaslighting sham.— Brad Slager: CNN+ Lifetime Subscriber (@MartiniShark) December 18, 2022
He pretends to be alarmed a co-worker has to delete tweets to be reinstated (note his saying “apparent condition) while in the past he has posed as a lecturing expert on Twitter’s operations.
This is some sad posturing. pic.twitter.com/h3MIccoUc0
(Tomorrow, the final 10 entries will be delivered!)