On the night Barack Obama gave his farewell address in Chicago, Donald Trump still managed to steal the thunder from the outgoing two-term president.
As Obama gave his 50 minute speech to the assembled attendees of the event, social media was buzzing with reactions to a breaking story from the media site Buzzfeed. The Buzzfeed story was of an alleged ‘Russian intelligence document’ posted on their site.
The document Buzzfeed chose to report on was unsubstantiated and of dubious authenticity. Claims made in the document included that Russia had been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” Donald Trump for at least five years, and that Russian spies had been using Trump’s “personal obsessions and sexual perversion” to gain leverage on Trump should he be elected president.
Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith essentially admitted that, although the veracity of the document could not be determined, Buzzfeed had chosen to run with it anyway.
The following is a note Smith sent to Buzzfeed staff:
Aside from the many enemies of Trump, who, of course, really don’t care whether a document making Trump look bad is real or not, many on social media lit into Smith and Buzzfeed for an unethical decision and breaking the rules of journalism.
Below are a sampling of the scathing responses:
The publishing of unsubstantiated nonsense is such a departure from accepted journalistic ethics as to take one’s breath away. It is simply one more example of fake news published by crazy wingnut sites with a far-left agenda.
Ultimately, as they lose all credibility with a public who is catching on to their game, they will find a smaller and smaller audience who will pay attention to their lies and propaganda.