Last week Pew Research released a study titled Political Polarization and Media Habits that evaluated various media outlets by how trustworthy they were presumed to be based on the respondent’s self-identified political beliefs. Some of it is hardly surprising:
Down the list, the left is far more credulous about what they read or watch on television than any other group. This is hardly a surprise when you consider the stuff that they believe is true. Towards the end of the list, the sources that aren’t highly trusted it becomes more interesting:
No one trusts BuzzFeed. Why is that? The Poynter Institute asked chief BuzzFeeder Ben Smiith why the people who trusted Ed Schultz and Al Jazeera did not trust his website:
BuzzFeed EIC Ben Smith emails: “Most of the great news organizations have been around for decades, and trust is something you earn over time. Our organization is new, our news operation is even newer, and it’s early days for us. The more people know BuzzFeed News, especially young people who make up a small share of these surveys, the more they trust us.”
Let me offer an alternative explanation. Back in 2011, Ben Smith, while at Politico, posted on what he considered a grave faux pas by the Louisville Tea Party.
And an amused reader forwards on an email he got from the Louisville Tea Party, under the image above.
Those are, he was surprised to note, Redcoats.
This is actually an image of the US Army fife and drum corps of its Continental Army color guard. But the salient points are that 1) the info came from an obviously partisan source and 2) Ben Smith simply couldn’t be bothered to check it.
Move forward to last week. David Perdue, who is running for Senate in Georgia as a Republican, was at a campaign rally. He was autographing stuff for people. A young woman approached him and he appeared to autograph her abdomen. It was caught on video by the rabid leftwing group “American Bridge” and dutifully shopped to BuzzFeed’s Evan McMorris-Santoro who ran with it in a story initially headlined “David Perdue signs woman’s torso” or words to that effect. As it turned out, what he signed was the young woman’s insulin pump, she has apparently been collecting celebrity/politician signatures on her pump to raise awareness of Juvenile Diabetes. And the whole story has been rewritten in egg using crow’s feathers for quills.
This story follows exactly the same pattern as the Tea Party story. 1) An obvioulsy partisan source shopped a story to BuzzFeed. 2) BuzzFeed took the dictation and posted it as a news story…. and 3) this was followed by a humiliating climb-down.
BuzzFeed’s lack of credibility on the left, I must admit, took me by surprise. Ben Smith is pretty well known as a reflexive leftwinger. I had assumed that Ben Smith has simply brought the editorial policy he championed at Politico to BuzzFeed, planted that sucker, and allowed it to flourish. Andrew Kaczynski spends his days scouring speeches and writings by conservative politicians for dangling participles, misplaced modifiers and comma splices. I don’t know anything about the guy who transcribed the press release from American Bridge but he was hired from TPM which tells you what you need to know about his politics. So, in the past, I’d written BuzzFeed as just another mouthpiece for the Democrat party but with lots of girly pictures and quizzes.
The fact that the left doesn’t trust them indicates that I should have used Ockham’s Razor. These guys are idiots.