After President-elect Donald Trump called BuzzFeed “fake news” and a “failing pile of garbage,” MSNBC’s Chuck Todd provided some additional criticism for the media company’s editor-in-chief.
On Wednesday, editor Ben Smith appeared on Meet The Press Daily to defend BuzzFeed’s publication of an “unverified” dossier on Donald Trump’s alleged ties with Russia.
“I know this was not your intent,” Todd told Smith during the interview, adding, “I’ve known you a long time, but you just published fake news. You made a knowing decision to put out an untruth.”
Smith went on to defend his news organization, claiming they had a responsibility to allow their audience to see the document:
“I think people love to throw the term ‘fake news’ around to diminish anything they don’t like, but I think this was a real story about a real document that was really being passed around between the very top officials of this country, and then the question you say is, OK — it’s OK for you, Chuck Todd, to see this document, it’s OK for me to see it, it’s OK for John McCain, OK for the CIA, why is not OK for your audience?”
“When top officials are making decisions on it, not just seeing it, I think it’s appropriate to let your audience see it and say whether they think it’s nonsense,” Smith added.
Todd then called out Smith again for publishing the unverified document:
“Transparency can turn into a crutch to turn into laziness. I mean, the job of the reporters is: we’re doing our best to find truth. OK, at the end of the day, it’s the best truth we can have,” Todd said. “You made a knowing decision to put out an untruth, or at least something you hadn’t proven true yet.”
The interview can be seen below:
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