NBC anchor Chuck Todd laid into BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief Ben Smith over his news organization’s decision to publish an explosive 35-page document of unverified allegations that Russia had allegedly gathered on President-elect Trump.
From Washington Examiner
“Don’t you have a responsibility of not spreading false information?” Todd asked Smith on Wednesday on “MTP Daily.” “Are you knowingly spreading false information?”
Smith, bringing up the conspiracy theories surrounding President Obama’s birth certificate, said it’s “an incredibly difficult balance” that the industry deals with daily.
“Did you publish a false birth certificate?” Todd shot back.
“We certainly quoted the president-elect of the United States making false claims about it, and years ago we debated whether we should quote regular citizens in Iowa saying I don’t believe his birth certificate,” Smith responded. “And I remember thinking at first, we shouldn’t pass that on.”
“You just published fake news,” Todd said, telling Smith he could have redacted parts of the document.
BuzzFeed was the only news outlet to publish the document.
Smith sent an email to BuzzFeed staff on Tuesday explaining the outlet’s decision to publish to the unverified allegations.
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) January 11, 2017
“We published the dossier … so that, as we wrote, ‘Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government,'” he wrote.
“Publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017,” Smith continued.
BuzzFeed noted when posting the full document that the allegations were unverified and some were untrue.
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