John Stanton (aka @), the DC Bureau Chief of Buzzfeed, was shut out of a Donald Trump press conference yesterday. He remarked it was the first time in 20 years of reporting this has happened. Normally. I’d be inclined to say, “What the hell?” with respect to a Presidential campaign event or press conference shutting out reporters. Presidential candidates should be willing to answer questions and hold court with all kinds of media outlets.
But in this case, Donald Trump was perfectly right to deny access to Buzzfeed.
The snub obviously goes back to Buzzfeed saying they would accept no ad money from the Trump campaign or the RNC:
BUZZFEED CEO JONAH Peretti told employees Monday that the media giant is dropping the Republican National Committee as an advertiser, now that Donald Trump is the party’s presumptive nominee.
In an email to the staff, Peretti explained the decision, likening Trump ads to cigarette ads. “We don’t run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health,” Peretti wrote, “and we won’t accept Trump ads for the exact same reason.”
Peretti took particular issue with Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims, his approach to immigration, his comments about women, and his threats to limit the free press. “We certainly don’t like to turn away revenue that funds all the important work we do across the company,” the email reads. “However, in some cases we must make business exceptions.”
Wired says “Buzzfeed Takes A Stand” but are they really? Or is this just Buzzfeed engaging in partisan politics like they did when they said there are not “two sides” to the debate over same sex marriage?
This story certainly makes it seem so:
Roughly 60 Democratic donors are expected to rub shoulders with President Obama Wednesday night at the Manhattan home of BuzzFeed chairman Kenneth Lerer, CNN reported Tuesday, citing the Democratic National Committee.
But in a recent email to the news website, Mr. Lerer insisted that his “political activities are personal and have nothing to do with any of my business responsibilities at BuzzFeed.”
CNN noted that Mr. Lerer’s soiree comes on the heels of BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti terminating an advertising deal with the Republican National Committee.
“The business decision to cancel ‘Trump for President’ ads was made by Jonah Peretti, our CEO. He is not participating in any fundraisers for political organizations or candidates,” a BuzzFeed spokeswoman told CNN.
Does anybody actually believe that nonsense?
Buzzfeed decided to take sides. Trump and the RNC were ready to spend money at a publication that doesn’t have a history of being friendly to Republicans. The BF Chairman hosting a DNC fundraiser along with the BF CEO saying Trump/RNC ad money will not be accepted is most certainly linked, even if they want to deny it.
It is one thing for a media outlet to show bias. But Buzzfeed has crossed over into dangerous territory, first by establishing the “there is no valid argument opposing gay marriage” stance and now by denying a Presidential candidate and party ad space on their properties and not excluding any others.
If they are going to be that blatantly partisan, they shouldn’t complain if Donald Trump doesn’t want them around.