BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief “Doubts the Allegations”

BuzzFeed have stuck their neck out publishing what they admit are unverified allegations about Trump in Russia. Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith emailed staff to explain this extra-ordinary departure from the usual journalistic norms:

From: Ben Smith

As you have probably seen. this evening we published a secret dossier making explosive and unverified allegations about Donald Trump and Russia. I wanted to briefly explain to you how we made the decision to publish it.

We published the dossier, which Ken Bensinger obtained through his characteristically ferocious reporting, so that, as we wrote, “Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.”

Our presumption is to be transparent in our journalism and to share what we have with our readers. We have always erred on the side of publishing. In this case, the document was in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media. It seems to lie behind a set of vague allegations from the Senate Majority Leader to the director of the FBI and a report that intelligence agencies have delivered to the president and president-elect.

As we noted in our story, there is serious reason to doubt the allegations. We have been chasing specific claims in this document for weeks, and will continue to.

Publishing this document was not an easy or simple call, and people of good will may disagree with our choice. But publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017.

Ben

Ben actually disses his own story, which they have been unable to stand up. Would the New York Times have published this – no. Would Guido have published it? Possibly, if we thought the source was credible enough. Imagine if we published a story about a union leader consorting with a prostitute based on widely circulating rumours and off the record briefings, naming no names and getting no affidavits or pictures. Would that be credible?

My Week: Hugo Rifkind*

my-fake-news-shame

Wednesday 23rd

Trying to rack my brains for something I once wrote about the Donald. Have to do it manually in the cuts archive as you can’t find anything on the bloody Times website. Who says staying awake in semi-darkness attempting repetitive hand movements is a waste of time? Eventually I get lucky: “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her,” and her response: “If he wasn’t my father I’d spray him with mace.”

Thursday 24th

Pretty pleased nobody spotted that quote during the entire election campaign. I beat the entire US media – they must be collectively distracted by the intensity of reporting on @realDonaldTrump’s Twitter account.

I tweet out my scoop: “Why does the world recall Trump saying “if she wasn’t my daughter, I’d be dating her” but not Ivanka’s reply?” Everybody’s re-tweeting it. What a story! 500 re-tweets already…

Friday 25th

My find has already been followed up by the Telegraph, Independent, Express, Chicago Tribune, The Hill and The New York Daily News. None of them credit me. Better send another tweet reminding everyone who was responsible.

Slight pang of doubt though. Why did no one recall Ivanka’s reply? I wonder how not one member of the whole US media had unearthed such a great quote. Notable lack of people saying, “oh, I came across that already”. Ah well, look at those re-tweets…

Friday 25th – Evening

Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no. Someone has traced the quote back to a joke told by a comedian in 2006. Ivanka didn’t say it at all. And my accidental lie has gone halfway round the world. So this is what they mean by all that ‘fake news’ going round.

I’m going viral again. But in a bad way.

*according to Guido.

New European Calls Remain-Backing Clarkson a UKIPper

clarkson-767

The New European has big feature trailed on their front page today on how Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond “built the Brexit juggernaut” and are are “UKIP on Tour” . There’s only one problem. The ex-Top Gear team backed Remain:

The sacked ex-Mirror columnist Kevin O’Sullivan only mentions this in passing 86 lines after he confidently wrote: “For them, Brexit isn’t a political decision, it’s a way of life.”  Fake news headlines…



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