Buzzfeed published an ‘unverified memo’ about Trump and Russia – and all hell has broken loose across America’s media (and on Trump’s timeline, of course, but that is no longer news).
Should Buzzfeed have published what amounted to a rumour, even though it made clear the news was unsubstantiated?
Shouldn’t Buzzfeed have published, considering American intelligence authorities had actually included said report in their official dossier on the Russia-powered Presidency of Donald J Trump?
According to the former New York Times and now Washington Post ombudsman, Margaret Sullivan, Buzzfeed crossed the line and tipped the balance of being taken as a serious news organisation: “CNN published a story Tuesday saying that much. And with the door cracked open, BuzzFeed pushed through. In doing so, the digital behemoth — which for years has balanced a tension between its start as a lighthearted click factory and, under Smith and a serious news team, a purveyor of investigative journalism and breaking news — set off a fierce debate.”
See full gist here.
To be honest, we don’t know what to think.