The 2022 T Dog Media Turkey Awards

The biggest turkey of 2022.

Welcome to the 17th annual T Dog Media Turkey Awards! This year, 22 unlucky recipients (with one shared) are honored for being awful people, terrible companies, and those who are jerks in every walk of life. 

If there’s a theme, it’s the year of being a CEO or billionaire – or both as they’re throwing their power and influence around, treating the rest of us like peasants. The only way to express our displeasure is to give out these awards.

And so without further a do, let’s get gobblin’: 

Dan Proft. The co-host of Chicago’s Morning Answer on WIND-AM had no answer for Democrat dominance in Chicago as his PAC – funded by an office supplies king from Wisconsin, put racist and violent campaign commercials on the air – even during times when children were watching. The anti-Pritzker stuff was one of the most odious and repulsive political ad campaigns to ever air in the Chicago market and as a result, all the Republican candidates got their clocks cleaned in the recent election. The Summer Of Joy? More like The Autumn Of Joy for us TV viewers.

DirecTV. Just as bad as Proft’s racist and violent advertising campaign is one from coming from a past-its-prime broken-down satellite TV service who had one featuring various Real Housewives with illegitimate Miss USA 1993 winner Kenya Moore coming into my home uninvited.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Her majesty’s administration decided to sell land designed for public housing residents on the near West Side to the billionaire owner of Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire who by the way (in a side Turkey Award) struck a deal with Apple to put ALL games on the streaming service, costing fans $15 a month or $99 a year. Rule of thumb – big business matters, your poor ass doesn’t.

Apple TV’s MLB Friday Night Baseball. And speaking of Apple: while the production is quite good, their play-by-play and commentary left a lot to be desired.

Darren Bailey. The Republican gubernatorial candidate from downstate Xenia called Chicago “a hellhole” and on election night, lost the governor’s race in a mere eight minutes after the polls closed. 

Chicago White Sox. The return of 77 year-old Tony LaRussa after 35 years away turned out to be one of the biggest blunders in local sports history as his ineptness showed in several embarrassing episodes as the team finished 2022 with a disappointing .500 record. For example, during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers this year, LaRussa decided to walk a player on a 1-2 count and the next player at bat hit a homer, sealing the deal for him to get the boot, health issues or not. Good riddance. 

NBC Sports Chicago. And speaking of that 6th-inning moment, the sequence was excised from a prime-time replay of the game, thinking no one would notice as most viewers that evening were glued to the January 6 hearings. Oh, someone noticed all right.

Marquee Sports Network. And the credibility of the Cubs’ network run by Sinclair wasn’t any better as a taping of The Reporters was stopped midway during production and re-taped after criticism of Cubs management was too much for their producers, leading sports columnists from the Sun-Times to decline future participation. There has to be some kind of odd vibe here because this program isn’t original in any shape or form, right down to the name as it was used for a trashy Fox newsmagazine show (from the producers of A Current Affair) in 1988.

NewsNation. The hiring of Chris Cuomo is the latest embarrassment for the barely-watched cable news network owned by Nexstar, who promised to be “neutral” but proved to be anything but by inviting guests like Dan Proft on their air.

Will Smith gets a Turkey Award to go along with his Oscar after slapping Chris Rock on stage during the ceremony.

Kanye West. Yes, this space has often chastised Chicago celebrities Jim Belushi and Jenny McCarthy in the past, but at least they didn’t make anti-Semitic statements, said slavery was a choice, or said George Floyd died of drugs. West, or Ye or whatever he wants to call himself is the biggest embarrassment this city has exported since R. Kelly. And yes, he is very overrated as a rapper. 

David Zaslav. After taking reins of a newly merged Discovery Warner Bros, Zaslav decided to erase and wipe numerous programs from HBO Max completely in order to get tax write-offs. Perhaps the worst excuse for cost-cutting ever – but he has nothing on the executive we’ll see later in this column.

Velma. Warner already trashed the Scooby-Doo franchise (and this was years before Velma officially “came out”), so why not finish it off by hiring Mindy Kaling to do the job?

The Real Love Boat. CBS’ “reality TV” version of the classic ABC show sunk after four episodes as it sailed to obscurity to streamer Paramount Plus.

CNN Plus. Perhaps the biggest media bomb of the year, CNN Plus got subtracted a mere month after launch.

Miss USA. So the beauty pageant once owned by Donald Trump is now accused of rigging this year’s contest as the president of the organization was suspended. Wasn’t this contest rigged before, like in 1993?

Will Smith. “Gettin’ Slappy With It” as he decked Chris Rock in front of a worldwide audience at the Oscars.

Camp LeJeune advertising. Brings a new meaning to the phrase “don’t drink the water” if the constant bombardment of ads is any indication.

Bet Rivers ads. For Dan O’Toole going from Canadian sports channel TSN to terrible commercials shilling for a sports gaming company is perhaps the biggest career demotion one has ever seen. 

Bob Chapek. The Disney CEO was bounced out Sunday night by a returning Bob Iger after two years marked with underperforming stock prices and other turmoil as during his reign, the governor of Florida proudly proclaimed “I’m Disney CEO now” by dissolving its precious Reedy Creek Improvement District in the state.

Ken Griffin. Speaking of Florida, after donating millions of dollars to Republican candidates only to see them lose in Illinois, the billionaire took his talents (and money) to South Beach, praising Miami’s low crime rates and clean streets as compared to Chicago – never mind Miami had several race riots in the 1980s as the struggling (and mostly Black) Overton and Liberty City neighborhoods and the drug cartels permeating the city doesn’t exist in his world and neither does the TV series Miami Vice. Griffin thinking Miami is like Toronto even on a bad day is quite laughable.

Elon Musk. Saving the worst for last as this “businessman” purchased Twitter for $44 billion and practically destroyed it by turning into the ultimate 1960s stereotypical sitcom boss. Bewitched’s Larry Tate has nothing on this horse’s ass, firing employees at will (basically half the company) and letting anyone pay $8 to buy a verified blue check mark, with previously unverified pranksters posing as major companies or public officials, while real advertisers barreled toward the exits. Musk is the worst CEO I’ve ever seen – even worse than Sam Zell and Larry Tisch, and I didn’t think that was entirely possible. The world’s richest man is a spoiled brat who never had to work a day in his life to earn his keep.

Happy Thanksgiving, and don’t let Elon steal your turkey.  

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