The Palm Beach Post’s Pulitzer Failed Bid Reveals the Sad State of Journalism Today
You can almost hear the iconic sad paper clip sound echoing in the almost empty halls of the Palm Beach Post Office headquarters last week when the newspaper failed to win a Pulitzer Prize. They also went to great lengths, lying to their readers about the source of funding for his “Black Snow” project, and also about the real impact of the story.
The whole thing deserves one last look, as every major newspaper in Florida follows a similar model in an effort to win journalism awards. They choose a target, write their story, publish it with as much fanfare as possible, including polished graphics, then they write follow-up stories, op-eds, and if they’re really desperate, they start writing stories about their stories. And they do all of this with an eye on the prize.
That’s exactly what happened here, and more. the To post applied for and received a substantial grant from the Knight Foundation, laundered through a left-leaning media front group Pro Publicain exchange for an “investigative” journalism piece claiming that the air quality in some South Florida communities is harmful due to the agricultural practice of burning sugar cane before harvest.
Anyone with a shred of reason on their head could glance at the facts and instantly know that the outcome of the project was decided from the start, that there was no real “investigation”, but rather a methodical effort to collect information that would justify the cost of the Knight Foundation grant. the Posts journalist, Lulu Ramadhan, couldn’t have reported the story fairly even if she wanted to. And the To post declined to release its initial grant application, which would have defined the scope of the project, but likely outlined the Posts preconceived conclusion.
Imagine the scene in the Palm Beach Post Office editorial board boardroom if Ramadan had arrived after a full year of “investigation” and said, “Yes, boss, I looked into the matter, but the data we found is exactly up to the quality standards EPA Air.”
Ironically, that’s exactly what Posts data actually shown (see page 7, here), but they will never admit it because it undermines the whole project.
After a year of collecting data (some of which had to be rejected by the To post due to inaccuracies), Ramadan wrote his story, and the To post went into overdrive to get the year-long project all the attention it could possibly generate. Not only did they write their original story and post it on multiple platforms and websites, but they then wrote stories about their history. Finally, the Knight Foundation awarded the To post a “price” for the story they paid the To post produce, hoping that Posts readers would not see through the trick.
Through it all, the Post incorrectly claimed that their story had “significant public impact” because they asked state regulators to replace an allegedly faulty air monitor. In reality, the monitor wasn’t malfunctioning, but in fact, an upgrade was planned before the Post even thought of fabricating a fake reward.
In short, the Post’s 21+ stories and opinion pieces, all of their congratulatory interviews, and a self-awarded Knight Foundation award accomplished exactly nothing.
Maybe the Pulitzer judges saw through the facade? Whomp, whomp, indeed.
The Medicaid balloon could burst just in time for the impact of the 2022 election
One of the biggest issues in the United States from the coronavirus pandemic has been the expansion of Medicaid coverage through the federal declaration of a public health emergency (PHE). This declaration immediately prevented states from removing any existing Medicaid beneficiaries from their rolls, even if they have otherwise since become ineligible.
The declaration had a profound impact on the number of Medicaid enrollees in Florida. Before the pandemic, the state had about 3 million people enrolled. Today, that number has grown to 5.1 million people, and the estimated budget impact Florida’s net income over the past two years is about $2.3 billion, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Health Foundation.
But this balloon could be about to burst. One day after the president Joe Biden took office in January 2021, his administration issued directives governors of all 50 states that the public health emergency “would likely remain in place through all of 2021,” after which the administration would make the decision to end the declaration or let it expire on its own. The Biden administration also issued guidelines saying it would give states 60 days notice that the law would either be terminated or allowed to expire.
When either of these things happen, a lot of people could suddenly find themselves scrambling to get health care coverage (states will have about 14 months to remove ineligible enrollees, but many will ask if that’s enough time), and the timing of that decision rests entirely in the hands of the Biden administration. What happens to those who find themselves ineligible will instantly become political football, with plenty of finger-pointing for everyone.
In particular, a key date just passed last week: the 60-day termination window just passed the expiration date of the most recent PHE renewal – if you’re scratching your head trying to keep up, that just means we’re likely to get another 90-day renewal in mid-July, otherwise the Biden administration would have let states know the 60-day deadline was rolling.
But 90 days from mid-July is…drum roll please…mid-October. Two weeks before the 2022 midterm elections. Would the Biden administration issue the 60-day warning in mid-August to bring the issue to the fore to benefit Democratic campaigns that are already making health care a top priority? Or is Biden afraid to make it look like he’s pulling the rug out from under families trying to make ends meet?