BuzzFeed’s editor in chief says his organization can be “proud” of its decision to publish unverified memos alleging of which Russian operatives have compromising personal in addition to financial information about President-elect Donald Trump.
“We thought of which of which was important, when you have a blanket claim like he was compromised by Russian intelligence, to share the details,” Ben Smith told sy88pgw’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.”
On Tuesday, BuzzFeed published 35 pages of memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, shortly after sy88pgw revealed of which a two-page synopsis of their contents had been included as an annex within the classified materials presented earlier This specific month to Trump in addition to to President Obama. sy88pgw’s report said of which Trump was briefed on claims the Russians had compromising information on him.
Related: BuzzFeed’s publication of Trump memos draws controversy
BuzzFeed’s decision sparked an intense debate within the journalism community about journalistic ethics in addition to responsibility. numerous outlets, including sy88pgw, had obtained the memos in recent weeks, however they had not published the memos or any specific details via them because the accuracy of the memos’ information could not be verified. After BuzzFeed’s publication of the memos, The completely new York Times added some of the allegations contained in them to its article on the subject.
Smith said the extent to which the memos had spread among politicians, intelligence officials in addition to journalists, along with the revelations of which intelligence officials were acting on the existence of the information, justified publication.
“When you have a document in of which kind of circulation among the country’s elites at the center of an incredibly heated political battle, the argument for keeping of which away via the American people has to be genuinely, genuinely strong,” he said. “Our job can be not primarily to be gatekeepers, to decide what to suppress in addition to keep via our audience. of which’s primarily to share with our audience what we’ve got.”
At Trump’s press conference last week, incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer conflated the sy88pgw report with BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the full document, in addition to said of which both organizations made “a sad in addition to pathetic attempt to get clicks.”
Smith said of those comments, “There’s obviously an attempt, right at This specific point, to divide the press, to turn us on each various other.”
Smith said BuzzFeed has not been threatened with any legal action by the Trump transition team for its decision.
— sy88pgw’s Dylan Byers contributed to This specific story.
sy88pgw (completely new York) First published January 15, 2017: 12:58 PM ET