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Listing Off the Lowest Members in Journalism for 2022: THE TOP (Bottom?) 10

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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 on policies and issues but also on personalities. (For the previous entries, here are the links: #11-30  and #31-50.)


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 very tops in the bottom rung of journalism's elite.

10. Jennifer Rubin – While her content deservedly would see her rank higher, she has become such a farcical version of a political pundit that it is unclear who actually takes anything at all she delivers as anything approaching serious discourse. For proof, run this test in your mind: If you heard a journalist say, "Reversing Roe v. Wade violates the 13th Amendment banning slavery," you would have a visceral reaction. Preface it, though, with "Jenn Rubin said", and you would just nod and say that of course she said that. She declared Biden looking for unity in the country is counter-productive. Rubin has essentially contradicted herself on just about every issue, all the way up to abortion. Her inability to think caused her to claim a governor appointed Ben Sasse to the faculty of the University of Florida was not mentally capable of the position – despite him having degrees from three universities and once having been a college president.


9. John Harwood – The known partisan reporter completely abandoned objectivity in 2023 in order to at times appear he was applying to replace Jen Psaki as White House press secretary. He foolishly commented on the RNC's decisions to pull from debates, forcing many to remind him of rigging a prior debate moderator position with John Podesta. He felt free to agree with former Rep. Adam Kinzinger that Trump "is a sick man." He went Russian collusion to deflect Ukraine blame from Biden, boldly claimed there is no proof Biden knew about his son Hunter's business deals, said there was nothing at all Biden could do about ANY major problem in the country, and constantly gaslighted about the "good" economy to protect Biden. This imbalanced devotion led to Harwood being dismissed by the new ownership of CNN.

8. Mehdi Hasan – It seems that the election year motivated the pundit to new levels of political pandemonium. How else to describe his conclusion that the midterms were ONLY a vote for fascism or a vote for civil war? (I'd go with a write-in choice at this point!) As Russia was invading, Hasan thought it clever to focus on Trump. He went full 23andMe as he tried to suggest Governor Ron DeSantis was a hypocrite for having a great-grandmother who came from Italy. He tried to slam Elon for a story on child porn and Twitter, except the piece predated his ownership. In the face of record turnout in the Georgia primaries and early voting, Hasan still tried to claim blacks are "denied the right to vote." He idiotically claimed the House Democrats never investigated the Trump family members. 


7. Chris Hayes – You have to feel like the MSNBC host has a rather adroit mind, and yet cannot keep his positions on matters straight. He displays a rather capable level of intellect, but he also displays a bias so deep it marinates his mind and affects his output. He called bussing immigrants to other cities "sick," despite previously saying it was an acceptable move. When Trump called someone a son of a bitch, Chris was "repulsed;" when Biden said the exact same thing it became "literal LOL". He tried to slam Trump over foreign donations which actually were sent to Hillary. Hayes had a proposal to keep from buying oil from the oppressive Russians – buy it from Iran. He raged about the DeSantis flight to Martha's Vineyard, having forgotten that months earlier, he was touting that liberals loved the idea of living among immigrants.

6. Nicolle Wallace – As if to prove that she was no longer one of those vile conservatives, Wallace continuously fills her show "Deadline: White House" with either her unhinged theories and proposals or guests who will do the same. Her response to the Florida parental rights law was to compare it to Russian soldiers raping children. She blamed the Russians invading Ukraine on January 6. She brilliantly proposed that Democrats make illegal guns…um, illegal-er…? After years of bleating about foreign inference in our voting system as well as election denialism, Wallace proposed foreigners come in and monitor our illegal election process.


5. Chris Cillizza – Chris, who said a billion times there was no bias in the media, spent much of this year in both a biased and a confused state. It led to his being dismissed from CNN in November. To learn why, here is a lengthy summation of some of his unique brand of brilliance, just from the past couple of years.

4. Ben Collins – The NBC figure who touts that he covers the "dystopian beat" spent a large part of the year making himself into a larger figure at the network, in a very grating fashion. He came out in full support of the doxxing of Libs of TikTok. He said the Highland Park shooter was a right-wing radical based on photos of the shooter mocking Trump fans. Ben declares Elon Musk opening up free speech was a threat to our democracy. He intentionally misrepresented Musk actually enforcing TOS violations for impersonating valid accounts. He promised Musk's lack of standards would lead to problems on the platform and increased violence connected to the election. Neither happened. Like a weasel, he blamed the Club Q shooting on Breitbart and other right-wing outlets, then was barely able to acknowledge that the shooter was non-binary.


3. Brian Stelter – What more can possibly be said about CNN's deposed media maven? He spent the first of the year explaining away the firing of Jeff Zucker. He laughably tried to say it was too early to declare a failure the historical implosion of CNN+. He was a featured speaker at a misinformation conference staged by The Atlantic. (Was it a "How-To" seminar?!) After nine years and dissolving ratings of "Reliable Sources," Brian was let go from the network.

2. Joy Reid – MSNBC resident race-baiter defies logic – not just on her show each night, but by merely having a show. Her perpetual claims that everything is racist get her ensnared frequently, all while she repels viewers on a nightly basis. She complained about "forced birth laws." Claimed the FBI raid proved Trump had CIA assets killed. When Ron DeSantis warned people not to loot after the hurricane, Reid likened him to being a segregationist. She said no one talked about inflation before Republicans said it this year and that only fascists care about inflation. She had to assume all felons are black in order to say arrests of illegal voters were stifling the black vote. She ended up comically comparing "The Handmaid's Tale" to a Hedonism resort.


1. Taylor Lorenz – She has shown herself to be a recidivist hack, a fabulist, and a cry-bully. After joining the paper early this year, Lorenz has led to numerous embarrassments for the Washington Post. After doxxing Libs of TikTok, the paper issued denials and stealth edits. When Lorenz covered YouTube account holders, they exposed her lie that she had contacted them, leading to retractions. She wrote of LOTT being a foreign actor without any evidence presented. She blamed that account for an evacuation of a hospital that never took place. After she gave a sobbing interview to NBC News, it led to online mockery, and Lorenz managed to have the video taken down, later throwing the reporter Morgan Radford under the bus for the segment. 

She is easily this year's worst example of a media figure/journalist. 

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