The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

BuzzFeed Is Democracy, or Something

Posted on | January 31, 2019 | Comments Off on BuzzFeed Is Democracy, or Something


It’s hard to take seriously Farhad Manjoo’s claim that layoffs at BuzzFeed represent “a story of impending slow-motion doom — and a democratic emergency in the making, with no end in sight.” (Hat-tip: Instapundit.)

As I explained Wednesday (“Who Keeps Paying BuzzFeed’s Bills?”), the company has devoured nearly $500 million in investment capital since its founding in 2006 and in recent years has been burning through cash to the tune of $75 million a year, with no prospect of profit.

What are investors getting for that money? Just days before BuzzFeed announced staff layoffs, the publication was embarrassed by a bungled “exclusive” about the Mueller investigation (“Haunted by Ghosts of ‘Fitzmas’ Past: Jason Leopold’s Trump/Cohen Debacle,” Jan. 20). Evidently, reporting “fake news” is so vital to democracy that if BuzzFeed can’t afford to keep doing it, that’s an “emergency.”

Liberal journalists do not want to admit that their political bias may be a major reason for their industry’s decline, but when the money crunch hits, they insist that their work is valuable to “democracy.” But what did BuzzFeed do to attract hundreds of millions of dollars of investment capital? Quite simply, they figured out how to game the Facebook algorithm for cheap hits with clickbait, which might have been good for BuzzFeed’s traffic numbers but didn’t do anything in terms of creating an informed citizenry. And here’s a Daily Caller headline from 2017:

BuzzFeed’s Infamous Trump Dossier Is Facebook’s Most Read News Story In Past Year

Oh, that’s right — BuzzFeed was the first to publish the phony Steele dossier, a pile of anti-Trump propaganda commissioned by Fusion GPS under contract to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Is it an “emergency” that BuzzFeed had to lay off some staffers? Or is it just liberals upset that liberals are losing their jobs? It never occurs to them to reconsider their biases (“‘Learn to Code’ and the Collapse of the Millennial SJW Clickbait Bubble,” Jan. 25), so we can expect further layoffs and further declarations that “democracy” is in peril.



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