Responding to Buzzfeed’s Hit Piece on Right Wing News
The liberals over at Buzzfeed did an article called Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages Are Publishing False And Misleading Information At An Alarming Rate. One of the websites they incorrectly claimed had put out a large amount of false information was Right Wing News.
After a back and forth with Buzzfeed, I noted that their article was libelous and asked to be allowed to put a statement on the article disputing their untrue assertions about this website. They agreed, but after I wrote the statement up, they said it was too long for their purposes and so they asked me to post it on Right Wing News. After publication, Buzzfeed promised to excerpt it.
Although I seriously considered not responding at all since the article didn’t seem to get that much traction, it occurred to me that this is the sort of thing that might still come up years from now if I don’t get the truth out there now. So, with that in mind, here is the statement I prepared to go on the Buzzfeed article.
“I was surprised and dismayed to see that so many articles from Right Wing News were rated as “mostly false” in the piece called, Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages Are Publishing False And Misleading Information At An Alarming Rate. Of course, there was a reason for that. After twice reviewing the 30 items Buzzfeed had initially rated as “Mostly False,” I found that it was wrong about 23 of those stories.
I brought this to Buzzfeed’s attention and even provided the website with examples while alerting Craig Silverman that there were many more. Look at these stories and make your own judgment.
This is a meme that accurately quotes Charles Krauthammer (http://insider.foxnews.com/2014/02/19/krauthammer-name-me-just-one-thing-hillary-clinton-achieved-secretary-state) https://www.facebook.com/OfficialRightWingNews/posts/1537693769624080
VIDEO: Black Woman Claims it’s Sexual Harassment after Random White Man Says “Hello” (There’s a video that has exactly what the title describes in it) http://rightwingnews.com/videos/video-black-woman-claims-sexual-harassment-random-white-man-says-hello/
After pointing out these three errors to Buzzfeed, the website did remove three articles from our “mostly false” ratings but claimed that after rechecking everything, there were no other errors.
Given that 76% of the stories Buzzfeed rated as “mostly false” were incorrectly rated, I concluded that the website was completely indifferent to whether the article was accurate or not. I could speculate about the motivations behind the research being so wrong, but in the end, it doesn’t matter.
In the small number of instances where I concluded that Buzzfeed was right, I made sure to address those issues with our entire staff in an effort to insure that they didn’t happen again. All news outlets have a responsibility to be accurate and when mistakes are made, it’s important to deal with them seriously. If Buzzfeed had the same attitude, the website would have admitted how inaccurate this piece turned out to be and would have retracted this libelous article. If Buzzfeed wants to fact check other people, it should start being careful about getting its own facts right.”