BuzzFeed waves the white flag
April 20, 2023
Morituri te salutant – the old and Latin way of saying “We who are about to die salute thee.”
This is what BuzzFeed News should be saying to us here at Accuracy in Media. We’ll even be kind and make it painless. BuzzFeed News is to close as a result of not being very good, so not very good that no one bothers to read it. We here at AIM have been instrumental in pointing this out. So, yes, we will take some of the credit for this.
As an example of the journalistic excellence at BuzzFeed News that actual news of the closedown is carried at NBC but not at, umm, BuzzFeed News. Odd really, especially as they’ve been able to take the time to bring us this story: “Le Creuset’s New Color Is The Trend Child Of Millennial Pink And Alison Roman’s Shallot Pasta. The launch of the “shallot” shade from Le Creuset is apparently a big deal — in our newsroom, at least.” Well, yes, perhaps views of what constitute breaking news vary across newsrooms – or perhaps not across newsrooms that are going to remain open.
But this is something that we’ve been detailing over time. The fact that BuzzFeed News isn’t actually very good at, well, that news and journalism thing.
For example, and most recently, BuzzFeed fails to distinguish between sex and gender and thus entirely mangles the argument they want to make. We were amused, we admit, by the argument against democracy – holding a vote might actually allow Trump back on Twitter and that would never do even it it were vox populi.
BuzzFeed News also got into a tangle over numbers – the complaint being made by these workers was how many hours they got, not how much per hour – but the solution suggested was to raise the minimum wage. Matters environmental are no better than economic – eat local harms, not protects, the environment from carbon emissions.
We were, as so many others, appalled by that habit of “writing” articles that were simply collections of tweets. Or even just reading Reddit as the research method.
We tend to think that banning the use of credit cards on legal transactions is immoral, even evil. BuzzFeed News disagreed. Perhaps it’s this failure of interaction between journalism and BuzzFeed that led to them pretty much stop trying to do journalism in favor of the lifestyle stuff and listicles.
Certainly, many of the executives bailed on the stock some time ago as they saw the writing on the wall – presumably not brought to them by their own journalists. Oh, and when BuzzFeed the company went public in a Spac deal the stock declined 85% in a matter of months. Investors weren’t all that keen either that is.
And then when we tricked several people with a “BuzzFeed or Russia” quiz.
The problem at BuzzFeed News was simply that it wasn’t very good at journalism. The reason was that it had absolutely no standards of journalism or objectivity at all. Like all too much of the progressive and woke attempts at media it simply reflected the prejudices of its intended readership. It didn’t explain, investigate or report, it reflected only. And there aren’t, in fact, that many both biased and ill-informed – those who are both tend to be eating their crayons instead of looking for news – so a news site catering to them has a basic economic problem. It has to do some journalism to attract the audience which pays for it but actual journalism doesn’t conform to the prejudices of those who write it.
As ever, exposure to the real world of capitalism and markets gets rid of the failures. Now all we’ve got to do is make this true of the other such biased media outlets – when do we insist that PBS, NPR, ProPublica and the others have to face the rigors of the marketplace?