Imagine going to journalism school for 4+ years only to wind up working for Buzzfeed. To the disdain of many, they’re dominating the headlines, and it’s all because a controversial “expose” they just released.
The website behind hard hitting pieces such as “how trash are your Dunkin Donuts opinions,” “you can only eat chocolate if you pass this quiz,” and “China finally nailed making ballpoint pens and everyone is excited AF,” came a release of what they claimed was a letter from a retired British intelligence agent detailing Trump’s relationship with Russia, and asserted that the Kremlin has been aiding Trump for the past five years.
Among the other claims in the 35 page document is that Trump participated in extremely graphic sexual fetishism in the Moscow Ritz-Carlton (which included Trump paying Russian prostitutes to pee on a bed Obama and Michelle slept in). If it sounds completely ridiculous, that’s because it is. It’s no coincidence it makes outrageous claims that are unverifiable.
Even Buzzfeed’s editor in chief Ben Smith had to admit that he was publishing unverified rumors, which apparently is fine with him because “Americans can make up their own minds.” It’s hard for peple to make up their mind when bombarded with false information, don’t ya think?
Trump replied in all caps.
Then he went on.
The report also alleges that Michael Cohen, Trump’s attorney and legal counsel, was central to “the ongoing secret liaison relationship between the New York tycoon’s campaign and the Russian leadership” and that he met secretly with Kremlin officials in Prague in August 2016.
Even they had to update their article and admit it was error-ridden.
As Lifezette noted:
Practically nobody else dared touch the story. It is a shocking breakdown of journalistic ethics. Even Mother Jones declined to publish the full details and dossier. “Even Donald Trump deserves journalistic fairness,” tweeted David Corn, Mother Jones’ Washington Bureau chief.
“Not how journalism works: Here’s a thing that might or might not be true, without supporting evidence; decide for yourself if it’s legit,” tweeted Brad Heath, an investigative reporter for USA Today.
Julia Ioffe, a journalist who left Politico after suggesting in a tweet that Trump might be having sex with his own daughter, tweeted Tuesday that she had been approached with the story that BuzzFeed ran with but declined to publish. “Because it was impossible to verify. (I tried.)”
New York Times reporter Adam Goldman heaped criticism on both BuzzFeed and CNN, which aired a version of the story Tuesday but did not publish all of the unverified details. “Sequence of events: @CNN finds way to talk about report and @buzzfeed uses that as reason to publish. Media critics are gonna be busy,” he tweeted.
This is just one more example of fake news we (and Buzzfeed) can add to the list: