As a former POLITICO colleague of Ben Smith from BuzzFeed, who published the flawed BuzzFeed report rife with unsubstantiated rumors against President-elect Donald Trump, I’m disappointed by Smith’s journalistic choice. Yet BuzzFeed’s conspiracy theories seem to channel Trump himself, a former presidential candidate who accused Ted Cruz’s father of helping kill John F. Kennedy and made a killing off questioning President Obama’s birthplace. Is this karma? That’s what I wondered in my latest Salon.com piece:
Trump, the darling of Manhattan gossip sheets for decades, ignited a political flame from embers he had fanned for years by trying to question Obama’s status as a “natural born” citizen and undermine his presidency. (It’s entirely possible that Obama would still have been eligible even had he been born in Kenya, but never mind. And there is heavy evidence that Obama is indeed Keynesian.) Now Trump hates it that critics are trying to delegitimize the Trump White House. For the sake of the country, Trump should move on from this tabloid trash and refuse to elevate such yellow journalism. It was partially Obama’s attention to Trump about the birther issue that legitimized Trump. Trump would be smarter to ignore BuzzFeed’s irresponsible conduct rather than elevating it.
Publishing these unsubstantiated allegations in a mainstream outlet like BuzzFeed amounts to a serious violation of journalistic ethics; they are the epitome of “fake news.” If the tables were turned and BuzzFeed or even a conservative outlet like Fox News had published serious allegations of sexual impropriety against Hillary Clinton, the mainstream press would be apoplectic.
Read the full piece on Salon.com.
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others.