Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith joined me today to discuss his media platform’s editorial position on SSM and how it will impact how it covers the issue:
HH: In between, @BuzzFeedBen, Ben Smith is the editor of BuzzFeed. I tracked him down in Latvia this weekend, and then he fled to Paris to avoid me. But now, he’s back in the States. He’s been extradited to appear on the Hugh Hewitt Show. Hello, Ben.
BS: Thanks for having me on, Hugh.
HH: You can’t escape.
BS: You got me confused.
HH: Yeah, you can’t escape the Hugh Hewitt Show. Ben, I got my Twitter feed after the marriage decision came down.
BS: You really did nail me, though. I said I’m in Latvia, and you were like, well, they have phones there. And I couldn’t argue with that.
HH: But what was the, I couldn’t figure it out first. I’ve subsequently done some research, and I see the quote that set it off. But what would you explain the controversy about BuzzFeed to people who don’t know what it was about last week?
BS: I don’t really think there, I mean, I guess I don’t really think there was much of a controversy, or at least I didn’t see. There were like, I’ve been tweeting with three people today – Tim Carney and a guy named, just, I mean, but I’m not sure like three or four people make a controversy. But I think we have, we drafted and published a Standards Guide and an Ethics Guide several months ago, and I think we’ve been wrestling with something I’m sure you think about a lot, which is, although I think I probably come down somewhere a bit differently from you, which is you know, is it possible to, look, what is the tradition that used to be called kind of objective journalism, mainstream media journalism, the tradition the New York Times and the Washington Post come out of, which is the tradition I come out of? You know, how do you do that in a way that, you know, that’s honest with your readers? And I think you know, there’s always been, for a long time, been this debate both on the right and on the left saying come on, you guys, stop lying, don’t conceal your opinions. We know you have real opinions. And at the same time, of course, everyone has a set of implicit opinions about, you know, you don’t have to say, Hugh, that like you oppose racism and that you favor free speech. Those are obviously baked into your coverage, just as much as they’re baked into the New York Times’ coverage. Continue Reading