Buzzfeed Editor Defends #PissGate Leak [VIDEO]

CNN reports:

BuzzFeed’s editor in chief says his organization is “proud” of its decision to publish unverified memos alleging that Russian operatives have compromising personal and financial information about President-elect Donald Trump. “We thought that it was important, when you have a blanket claim like he was compromised by Russian intelligence, to share the details,” Ben Smith told CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” on Sunday. “I think we are trying to best inform our audience, to be true to our audience, to treat our audience with respect.”

BuzzFeed’s decision sparked an intense debate within the journalism community about journalistic ethics and responsibility. A number of outlets, including CNN, had obtained the memos in recent weeks, but they had not published the memos or any specific details from them because the accuracy of the memos’ information could not be verified. After BuzzFeed’s publication of the memos, The New York Times added some of the allegations contained in them to its article on the subject.

  • DaddyRay
    • Acronym Jim

      Which actually makes me support her even more. Long live the intergalactic treaty organization!

      • Treant

        Antareans make the best stuff.

      • ericxdc

        Thanks a lot. Now we’ll need a HUGE space wall, too.

        • B Snow

          It’s okay, we’ll make the Plutonians pay for it.

    • KCMC

      probe me like you mean it. I want to see (the) stars.

    • Skeptical_Inquirer

      They always try to ship Hillary with everyone in their fan fiction.

      • JCF

        LOL

  • Gerry Fisher

    On the one hand, I’m in favor of verifying information before journalists publish it. On the other hand, what WAS verified–I think–was that this information was provided to the president and president elect. That’s newsworthy, no?

    • Yes, the latter was newsworthy even without the specifics. And it’s interesting to note that while Buzzfeed published unsubstantiated specifics, CNN only reported on the substantiated detail that the report was provided to POTUS and PEOTUS. Yet it was CNN that Trump attacked, not Buzzfeed. The PEOTUS is trying to taint all legitimate news agencies. At the presser where he attacked CNN, they reserved a seat for the Brietbart reporter in the front — the ONLY reserved seat at the press conference. Breitbart is the new Pravda.

    • Buford

      Yes. My analogy for the dim bulbs who still don’t get it is thus – if the dossier shown to top-level officials had included a photo of Miley Cyrus riding a killer whale (for some reason), Buzzfeed would be Ok to show us that image. It’s newsworthy because officials saw it. Buzzfeed would not be obligated to confirm whether the image was genuine or photoshopped before publishing it… that would be moot.

    • BobSF_94117

      It’s also newsworthy that Trump denied having read anything about it.

      • Piet

        If he didn’t actually read it, he can deny it. Do we know whether his intelligence briefing on the matter included someone watching him (try to) read the two pages? Could the rumors be true that he’s functionally illiterate? What property developer/landlord doesn’t read the leases his company signs with tenants? Yet we have video documentation of him saying he didn’t read the lease in a deposition and doesn’t actually know the terms, with the excuse that it’s long. Leases for large commercial footage are always tailored in negotiations between landlord and tenant, so his not reading an important lease is more than suspicious and noteworthy.

    • another_steve

      Well… I dunno, Gerry.

      When the media ran with — posted details about — the hacked (alleged) emails of Podesta and the DNC, we were all rightfully outraged. Now we’re applauding the promulgation of unverified material potentially harmful to Trump.

      There’s somewhat of a double-standard there, me thinks.

      Me thinks a thousand dead Political Ethicists are moaning in their graves as we speak.

  • Buford

    Buzzfeed did nothing wrong here. This dossier is newsworthy specifically because it’s been shown to top-level officials, so it’s good that Buzzfeed showed us what they saw. Kudos to them!

    • jayjonson

      Of course, when they lose the insurance they have obtained through the Affordable Care Act they will blame President Obama for it.

  • Lazycrockett

    When you have every other foreign countries intelligence agency gathering information on Drumpf, including Israel, Pissgate is the least of this idiots problems.

    • Skeptical_Inquirer

      Maybe some other foreign government will take out Rump.

      • Lazycrockett

        Mossard doesn’t fuck around.

  • JWC

    thats about all it did ..Create an active discussion in the jounalistic community regarding ethics Did it effect Teflon Donnie, not in the least, water off a ducks back!!!

    • Jo Wi

      I think you mean “Piss off a Russian bedspread”.

      • JWC

        well yes there is that CNN didn’t cover the “bedspread’s “point of view

        • KCMC

          Memory foam mattress can’t forget!

    • Acronym Jim

      You mean “water off a cuck’s back.” Do you really think Melania doesn’t have some nubile young stud hidden in the back ballroom?

      • JWC

        she mus!!! Imagine sleeping with that fat turd

      • bzrd

        she’s the dump’s possession thus followed everywhere and not just by the SS “no other touches my pussy,” said the stinkin’ turd

    • j.martindale

      Except that there is now a Senate investigation by Burr’s committee. I don’t know yet that this is anywhere near over. If you go back to Watergate, that dragged on for months and months before it came to a head. We might see the same occur here. I don’t know that a lot of Rethug congresscritters will be willing to overlook tRump colluding with the Russians. When the power of America is diluted, their power is diluted, as well.

      • JWC

        that would be about right 2 months in let Pence get hs wheels wet Trump resigns over indiscretions and the Re;publican juggernaut begins the real roadshow less one piece of baggage Consider it he has given them the executive Senate and House He has no more value beyond embarrassment

  • DaddyRay

    Republicans and Journalists had no issues with posting unverified Wiki-Leaks emails that were supposedly obtained from illegal hacks

    • Buford

      … or how about the major media outlets who found birther claims to be newsworthy? Did they also have an obligation to wait until the claims were proven true before reporting on them…?

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    • Do Something Nice

      The double standard is sickening.

    • TrollopeReader

      “Journalists” .

      • Jeffg166

        Edna Krabappel: “Ha!”

    • Yixing’s Fluffer

      EXACTLY! They opened their gobs and let Assange/the FSB & GRU pour that stinking slurry down the hatch, and now they do an about face and start screaming “journalistic ethics!!!”

    • Strepsi

      or Comey’s equally unfounded, unverified and uncourced allegations about investigating Hillary Clinton.

  • Good. Fight fire with fire. Though I doubt it will make a dent. The idiots who voted for Trump heard him say he’s gonna repeal their healthcare and still voted for him and now worried about losing their healthcare but still praise him. America needs to turn its attention on shaming Trump voters in every way possible.

    • David L. Caster

      Plenty of Trump voters will suffer as a result of their own ignorance. I say leave them to wallow in their own misery. The rest of us need to pay attention to congress, particularly now and at the midterms.

  • crowTrobot

    Buzzfeed, Teen Vogue; we are living in strange times.

    • pj

      add chump as president to that list

  • Kim K’s Kute Koochy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Say what you will, if that dossier is fake news, Tramp would sue Buzzfeed out of oblivion already.

    • Halou

      If it was fake he just wouldn’t be paying any attention to it whatsoever. I mean, he’s previously been accused of pedophilia! Such a serious accusation but he paid no attention to it at the time because it wasn’t true.
      Pissgate? He can’t shut up about it.

    • Dazzer

      He can’t sue anyone for libel. If he was to try to do it in a US court, he’d have to provide evidence that publishing was done maliciously. The facts of the case show that Bussfeed was merely publishing information that had already been gathered and given to intelligence agencies (who gave weight to it) from a trusted source.

      If Trump went to the libel courts in the English courts, he could potentially win millions.

      He daren’t do that, though.

      The dossier wasn’t intended for public publication and it is only a briefing of what has been heard through the grapevine – it’s not a legal document. It’s presented to the author’s employees – and then the intelligence agencies – ‘as is’. The author is not saying that all these things did happen – but on the balance of proof and available evidence, it’s probable.

      The importance the author’s employers give to his conclusions are based on his reputation for getting things right – not on instantly verifiable evidence. Everyone involved in the commissioning of that information understands that.

      And the author, Christopher Steele, has a high reputation in intelligence circles.

      The other problem that Trump faces is that if he goes into any court anywhere, he has to prove guilt. To do that, he would have to face the possibility of far stronger evidence against him being released by various intelligence agencies from around the world.

      Essentially, Trump can threaten to sue whoever he wants, but Buzzfeed and every other agency involved in this story is going to laugh in his face and say: “Try it”.

      • Kim K’s Kute Koochy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Agreed but Tramp sued everyone for stupidest shit even if he had 1% chance. So his blabbing nonstop but not suing only highlighted the thing even more. Though I’m a bit baffled that he’s normally a great distractor why drawing so much heat to sth he clearly wants to bury

  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    Seems one PissGate for one PizzaGate is more than fair and balanced!
    Suck it up, puppet!

    • Dazzer

      PissGate is more likely to be true, though.

      And if other rumours surfacing are to be given any kind of credence, getting into water sports is one of the least of his problems.

      PizzaGate is just stupidity.

      As ever, there’s no balance here.

  • Lazycrockett
    • Skeptical_Inquirer

      Yes, but what are you going to do about it NOW?

      • David L. Caster

        Keep any related facts in the news is about it, analogous to the way the Birther controversy doggedly followed the Obama administration.

      • Lazycrockett

        I’m bout 100% positive that the FBI has proof of collusion between Drumpf and Russia and Drumpf needs to be arrested and charged with treason, constitutional emergency be damned.

        • Skeptical_Inquirer

          Yeah but it appears the FBI is riddled with traitors as well.

          • Lazycrockett

            Or the agency is trying to extract as many “spies” as they can before going forward.

          • Todd20036

            Coney….

          • TrollopeReader

            Island.

          • TrollopeReader

            at least in the NYC Field Office.

        • David L. Caster

          The GOP controlled Congress is going to blackmail Trump into doing its bidding. Ryan and The Turtle have their puppet, forget about Putin.

          • Skeptical_Inquirer

            Unless someone mysteriously fires a poison pellet into Trump, using an umbrella..

          • IamM

            They’re only kidding themselves if they think Twitter, Wikileaks, and the FBI wouldn’t work as well against them as they did against Clinton.

            Congress either reestablishes checks and balances on acceptable behavior or they’re all serving at Trump and Putin’s pleasure.

    • KP

      WOW Feinstein so rarely comes out of her Coma these days.

    • Strepsi

      why did NO senators force a discussion to block the inauguration? Not one!

  • Dot Beech

    Months ago, Trump slimed John McCain with his disgusting comments about McCain’s military service and five years of imprisonment. This summer, McCain heard about this report and sent a representative to Europe to obtain a copy and return it to McCain. McCain read it and handed it over to the FBI, thereby sticking it to Trump in the most dramatic way. If we don’t know what’s in the report, we have no way to assess what McCain is up to. And it looks like he’s up to a great deal, vis a vis taking down Trump. Just because of McCain’s actions, the document AND its contents became newsworthy. Add to it Comey’s actions and it is newsworthy all over again. We cannot appreciate the shocking nature of Comey’s choices if we do not know the contents.

    The document seems to have been passed around a lot this summer. Every time it changes hands, it becomes a bit more newsworthy. The contents cannot stay suppressed forever.

    And a website with gay readers can readily appreciate that only if the contents are secret can they be used for blackmail. Buzzfeed helped Trump out of his piss soaked closet. The contents are damaging to Trump politically here in the U.S. But the salacious facts in this document are no longer useful to blackmail and control him. We are all safer for that. That result is MORE than enough reason to publish the contents. Why Anderson Cooper doesn’t seem to grasp that is beyond me.

    Buzzfeed should get a huge every award out there for setting this precedent. The only way to defend ourselves from Trump is to publish every bit of dirt that comes down the pike.

    • Do Something Nice

      lol! If only Anthony Wiener had sexted to Melania Trump, we would have know about this before the election.

      • Lazycrockett

        The problem is it seems that everyone who’s anyone in DC was aware of these damning allegations and even if the FBI, who is still investigating, sat on their hands. After the dems storming out after meeting with Comey this week they have every right to feel that Comey threw the election.

        • Do Something Nice

          For some time my gut has been telling me that the election result was a macro-level back-room deal. Those who don’t acknowledge that Clinton was, minimally, treated unfairly or worse, are going to awaken someday and find themselves victims of the same immoral tactics.

          • IamM

            Yes. If your Republican politicians want to know why they would want to rein Trump in, remind them that the same tactics can be used against them and the FBI is part of the executive branch.

    • j.martindale

      I am with you up to the point that the blackmail ends now. If the video surfaces, that could very well be the end of tRump.

      • Skeptical_Inquirer

        If they ever show the video online or on air, I’m so fed up with these smug fundigelicals always mouthing off about their morality and how Jeebusy they are, that people should use a big screen TV to show that video in a loop outside their churches while people scream, “YOU voted for this asshole!” Because I’d like to see them realize Trump is not their Second Coming and that everybody knows that for worldly power, they were willing to throw all standards out the window.

      • IamM

        He’s gotten away with doing far worse in public and on camera.

      • GayOldLady

        The Russians could be holding information much worse than golden showers. They likely know every deal he’s brokered, every investment he has, every illegal sexual exploit. Those are things that are likely to be used to control him. He’s never been held accountable in his life. This is likely to be a predicament he can’t buy his way out of.

        • Todd20036

          So what? Trump has flirted with his daughter on camera, and bragged about sexual assault and he still won.

          There could be videos of him disemboweling a boy and fucking him in the wound and he’d STILL have the Trumpanzees’ loyalty.

          • GayOldLady

            There are some things that could sink him if there’s evidence.

        • Strepsi

          I agree that the real kompromat is worse than pee — I think it’s direct business dealings and bribery from Russians.

      • JCF

        Y’know, BEFORE PussyGate, I would have agreed w/ you. Now? The Deplorables have NO floor. They really don’t.

        OK, I correct myself: video of Drumpf having necrophiliac sex w/ aborted fetuses (esp male ones). That’s the floor.

    • Jerry

      They could still easily blackmail him because he, of course, denied that any of it was true. I’m hoping the proof actually comes out, and I was certainly glad that Buzzfeed published the report.

    • ChrisMorley

      Surely dRump should blame the Brits because it was one of our ex-foreign intelligence experts who gathered and assessed all the evidence and indirectly passed it to Senator McCain.

    • jixter

      I just finished reading all 35 pages of the report and it’s jaw-dropping. Just as an example, according to their ‘sources’, the President of the Russian government-owned oil company, Rosneft, offered Trump and his ‘associates’ up to a 19% (private) share in the company if the sanctions on Russia were removed. The offer was made to Carter Page, the ex-foreign policy adviser to the campaign. That would have been worth billions of $$ to them in exchange for selling out our country’s interests.

      https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html

  • Speaking of Buzzfeed and Trump, Buzzfeed has exposed that the violent anti-Trump protesters are actually alt-righters trying to discredit the grievance of real protesters. Question any narrative that conveniently align with Trump, we live in a world where mainstream media laps up every word he says for profit.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/josephbernstein/inside-the-alt-rights-campaign-to-smear-trump-protesters-as

  • j.martindale

    This is a document that was created by government officials. It states in the document that the veracity of the accusations is not verified. I think considering the huge consequences to the nation of the man about to be inaugurated, it would have been journalistic malpractice not to let the American people see what accusations are out there. This is not merely a fabrication or a rumor. It is a serious investigation of great significance.

    • DaddyRay

      Add to to this the fact that Trump will trash talk anyone in the world including people in his own party but goes out of his way never to say an unkind word about Putin make this a very plausible accusation

      • IamM

        True. I don’t think you even need to blackmail Trump to get him to betray the country though, I believe a little bribery is more than sufficient.

        • DaddyRay

          Heck all you need to have Trump betray his country is to pay him a compliment

    • Helen Damnation 🍑™

      It was considered credible enough to present to President Obama.

  • DumbHairyApe

    I’m so glad that the BBC is a real journalistic body.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      As is CBC and ABC (Australia). Hell, even Al-Jazeera is making CNN look like a joke…I know, not hard to do these days.

  • Cuberly

    Comey and other intelligence orgs had been sitting on the report since the summer.

    Comey sticks it to Hillz with unverified emails on Huma’s laptop.

    The priority at work here is staggering. Buzzfeed not only did the right thing they did the country a service.

  • Michael R

    I’m struggling with how much I hate fake / unverified news and exactly how we are supposed to deal with these evil people in the post- fact era ….. so far the lies and fraud only work to their advantage .

    If we sink to this level it becomes a ” both sides do it ” thing , then the whole effort to stay in touch with reality becomes moot .

    • DaddyRay

      The controversy over “fake news” is a way for the Trumpsters to dismiss any thing negative against Trump

  • bkmn

    Is there some reason CNN actual journalism in the run up to the election instead of giving jobs and validity to Rump’s mouthpieces?

  • DaddyRay

    Given that Trump’s tweets are mostly lies why doesn’t the media call them “Fake News”

    • Gustav2

      The jounos are just now realizing the have to call it propaganda

      • TrollopeReader

        AM Joy was certainly calling it that this morning!

  • Cuberly

    Conservative pundit John Ziegler, over on Mediaite, actually does a good job of breaking down where we’re at when it comes to the dossier. In particular, why Buzzfeed did the right thing.

    If interested check it out here, I thought it was a pretty good read.

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/in-defense-of-buzzfeeds-publishing-of-the-trump-dossier/

  • Randy503

    I will be forever grateful for Buzzfeed for leaking this. One, for giving us all a big laugh at Trump’s expense, two, for providing us with a colorable rumor about Trump that is highly plausible and will provide jokes until the day he dies, and three, for giving me a smidgeon of hope that this might be big enough at some point to impeach the guy.

  • Treant

    Clearly, it would have been irresponsible NOT to speculate!

  • MonochromeMouse

    Anything that humiliates trump is a good thing, as long as it’s only being reported as allegations and rumors then it does not harm journalistic integrity, especially when it’s just embarrassing stuff that couldn’t possibly get anyone innocent hurt.

  • Cuberly
    • DaddyRay

      Depends on if the leaks are about Trump or Democrats

      • Cuberly

        ….or about a woman.

    • TrollopeReader

      Nothing, of course.

  • greenmanTN

    This Piss-Gate thing is really dampening the inaugural spirit. It really has thrown a wet blanket over the whole thing.

  • TrollopeReader

    O/T ,….Trump follows about 40-45 twitter feeds … his kids, his “companies” and some media / politicos. One of those: Corey Lewandowski …. just think about that, CNN.

  • TrollopeReader

    My comment on a BBC story: Fascinating story. And credible, based on other things I’ve read.
    We need to remember that everyone sworn in over the next several weeks take an Oath to the Constitution of the Unites States, and not a loyalty oath to the president. The distinction is the core of our system.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38589427

  • The_Wretched

    Given that fake news has been manufactured on the right for a long while now, it’s a bit late for them to bitch about lack of standards on the left. Also, pee-pee gate has had some pretty great laughs. (and not so great part is that the coverage of trump colluding with putin and feeding him info on expat russian oligarchs etc is all outside the bandwidth.)

  • JCF
  • Maggie 4NoH8

    Question: the pushback rec’d by Buzzfeed – coming from same sources as pushback against Wikileaks?