(The Federalist) Buzzfeed is in peril. Yesterday the site published unverified claims that President-elect Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with Russian operatives in Prague in August 2016. Given the current news environment concerning Russian hacking of Democratic National Committee emails, this is explosive news.
BuzzFeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith, in an attempt to be the good publisher, released on Twitter his letter of rationale to BuzzFeed staff:
Note his comments about transparency and erring on the side of publishing. Even though one of their “ferocious” reporters had been “chasing specific claims in this document for weeks,” they still had “serious doubts about the allegations.” Smith had BuzzFeed publish the story anyway. “Publish and let the reader decide” might sound good—to everyone but the slandered entity, that is.
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