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When publishing the documents, BuzzFeed should have explained what it’s doing to verify the claims in the documents


You might have heard: BuzzFeed published documents claimed to be compiled by a former British intelligence agent claiming that Donald Trump and his associates have deep ties to Russian spies and that Russia has “compromising information” on Trump (Recode)

But did you know: In a note to the staff explaining why BuzzFeed was publishing the documents, editor in chief Ben Smith said the decision reflects how BuzzFeed sees “the job of reporters in 2017.” But Poynter’s Kelly McBride argues otherwise: “Publishing an entirely unvetted document is a significant departure from the way editors of most significant publications would define the role of reporting. … The act of publishing the dossier in its entirety isn’t journalism. Vetting the document and determining its veracity? That’s the work of journalists in 2017, or any other year.” In its defense of the publication, McBride argues that BuzzFeed should have done more to explain what it’s doing to verify the claims and what in the documents has already been verified.

+ “We shouldn’t assume either that this is simply a ‘fake news’ episode directed at discrediting Trump or that the dam has now broken and the truth is coming out at last. We don’t know what the reality is here, and the better part of valor is not to get ahead ahead of the facts — a matter on which, incidentally, the press deserves a lot of credit,” Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennessey and Quinta Jurecic write (Lawfare)

+ Trump is calling on the House and Senate intelligence committees to investigate the leak of classified information to NBC News reports (Politico); Emily Bell: News organizations covering Trump should frame him as a media organization as  “Trump sees himself not just in opposition to the existing press but in competition with them, too” (CJR)

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