After Chuck Todd Grills BuzzFeed, Sean Hannity Continues The Onslaught With BRUTAL Takedown
Ever since listicle-floggers at BuzzFeed published a dossier on President-elect Donald Trump that was of very dubious provenance, the fallout has been swift and unpleasant.
While the website has usually been the darling of the liberal media, many — including NBC’s Chuck Todd and the London Guardian — have taken a stand against BuzzFeed for publishing salacious documents that BuzzField itself admitted contained errors and were “unverified and potentially unverifiable.”
Things got worse, though, when the president-elect called the website a “failing pile of garbage” during a news conference this week. Now, BuzzFeed is trying to salvage its reputation as the attacks intensify from both the left and the right.
For those of who you have been living under a rock this past week, the documents had to do with alleged information that the Russians had on the president-elect regarding his sex life. The documents had been shopped around for quite some time, but nobody would publish them until BuzzFeed decided to would step in and put them out there, even though the website admitted it had reason to doubt them. CNN pushed the story into the mainstream with a separate account about a two-page summary of the dossier the network claimed had been shown to both Trump and President Obama in private briefings last week.
Doubts about the document’s veracity grew larger after Trump went on Twitter to call it fake news and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen — whose presence in Prague played an important part in the story — was discovered to have never visited Prague in his life.
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) January 11, 2017
It all culminated when Trump opened a news conference Wednesday by calling BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage,” which the website is trying to capitalize on by putting the phrase on merchandise for sale. According to The Hill, BuzzFeed has also announced that it will donate the proceeds from the sales to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a sign perhaps that the website realizes what its flippancy is costing it a bit in terms of journalistic reputation. (A website that posts stories on “17 sex tips for a kinkier 2017” shouldn’t be too worried about that.)
But judging by the mainstream media’s current pariah treatment of BuzzFeed, it’s too late for that.
Perhaps the most damning evidence of this was BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith’s contentious exchange with Chuck Todd on liberal stalwart MSNBC, where he accused Smith of spreading fake news.
“Don’t you have a responsibility of not spreading false information?” Todd asked Smith during the Wednesday interview, according to RealClearPolitics. “Are you knowingly spreading false information?”
Smith, for his part, tried to compare what they were doing to coverage of the so-called “birther” phenomenon during Obama’s presidential campaigns.
“We certainly quoted the president-elect of the United States making false claims about it, and years ago we debated whether we should quote regular citizens in Iowa saying, ‘I don’t believe [President Obama’s] his birth certificate,’” Smith responded. “And I remember thinking at first, we shouldn’t pass that on.”
Todd did not buy it:
“You just published fake news,” he told Smith.
“The media, they’re pretending to be shocked that the president-elect slammed BuzzFeed and CNN over publishing an unconfirmed, completely unfounded political op research file,” Hannity said Thursday, branding BuzzFeed as a “political propaganda arm” of the Democratic Party.
While that’s pretty brutal, we shouldn’t be surprised. What BuzzFeed did was one of the most egregious examples of the dearth of journalistic ethics in recent years. It makes Dan Rather and the fake George W. Bush National Guard letter look like Woodward and Bernstein.
Perhaps what’s worst is the fact that the claims in the document were so salacious. The only reason BuzzFeed did this was because it would get so much attention and clicks. It is, however, entirely fake news.
BuzzFeed found that that not all attention is good, especially when it involves such a clear abdication of journalistic responsibility. Trump hit back and he hit back hard, and so did a lot of people in the media.
Let’s hope we see a lot more of that in the future.
January 13, 2017 at 09:11PM
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