This morning, BuzzFeed announced it has killed a deal with the Republican National Committee to run ads across the website throughout this election season. In an email to staff, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said that the company decided to end the agreement because Donald Trump is simply too offensive:
BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith has an inside baseball report about a January 5 meeting between Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and the editorial board of The New York Times. According to Smith, many Times employees believe Trump conveyed to the paper—during a portion of the meeting deemed off-the-record —that his extreme policy positions on immigration are more flexible than he’s publicly admitted. Still, the Times refuses to release a transcript of the meeting, or even discuss Trump’s off-the-record comments:
USA Today media columnist and lazy gadfly Michael Wolff has finally weighed in on BuzzFeed’s report about an Uber executive’s inflammatory comments at a private dinner attended by dozens of journalists. Wolff is quite unpleased with the minor role he played in embarrassing the $18 billion car-sharing company.
As part of its secretive judging process, the Pulitzer Prize committee closely guards the names of outlets and reporters who submit their work for consideration. But a loophole in the Prize’s online submission website inadvertently revealed that BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast sought but did not win journalism’s highest honor.
Angry Birds is a new feature in which ChartGirl's Hilary Sargent takes a look at the ruffled feathers in the latest Twitter flaps. Today's: labor journalist Mike Elk vs. Buzzfeed political reporter Rosie Gray, engaged in a feud over Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, his son Max, and Max's new book about Israel.
Political blogger Ben Smith's career is a series of progressively wackier job moves. He was at the NY Daily News, covering state politics, and was more respected than the average tabloid writer. He moved to THE POLITICO, where he's been blogging about politics and media for the past five years, managing to stay more respected (by us!) than his micro-horse-race-obsessed paper as a whole. Now, he's off to an even weirder destination!
This is not about Ben! Ben Smith is the most tolerable person at The Politico. He works very hard, and he deserves to have people on TV mention his name as if it is no big thing. It is about how the internet has been around for almost 100 internet-years now, and TV is still scared of it and stupid about it.
So says Politico blogger Ben Smith, who wore a suit to appear — looking nothing like his illustration, albeit kind of cute! — on Martha this morning.* The lifestyle queen invited political bloggers to her show today because she thinks it's scary the nation might elect a president who doesn't know how to read them and also probably because the more topical subject of complex financial shenanigans is not her specialty, oh wait just kidding. Personally I have always thought not being addicted to the internet was John McCain's most attractive quality since being tortured, but it raises a good point: I do not want presiding over this perilous economy one of those people who asks "You actually get paid to do that?"Like, for god sakes, yes motherfucker I majored in personal electronics assembly but there just weren't a lot of opportunities in that.
Let's see, how to get press for Applebee's dreary Middle American cuisine? How about... invite members of the national political press corps to plop their ass down in the restaurant for a week while they talk to REAL Americans, eat Baja Potato Boats, and blog about it? What reporter could resist the combination of boneless buffalo wings and a private booth? Sadly, this is an actual idea that a professional at Rubenstein PR was paid money to come up with. Full pitch to Politico's Ben Smith (who declined the offer) after the jump. [Politico]
The final two presidential debates before Super Tuesday will be co-hosted at the end of January by CNN, the Los Angeles Times and Politico. Apparently, nobody relayed news of this partnership to LA Times media critic Tim Rutten, who, over the weekend, called CNN "corrupt" and "incompetent" for botching last week's "debacle masquerading as a presidential debate." Awkward! Also, we think it would make some damn fine television if Politico reporter Ben Smith was allowed to ask Rudy Giuliani a question on live TV, such as "How much do you hate me for writing about your mistress slush fund and exposing the blueprints for your presidential campaign?" [LAT]
MerchantCircle has secured an additional $10 million in series B funding from past investors Rustic Canyon Partners, Scale Venture Partners, and Steamboat Ventures (Disney's VC arm), as well as new investors including Barry Diller's IAC and Square 1 Bank. The press release claims, "the investment validates the company's 'merchant-first' business model." I'd say, rather, it confirms that investors who should know better will sink cash into a disreputable business.
Silver-tongued entrepreneur Auren Hoffman was able to extinguish a growing wave of criticism directed at his people-search company Rapleaf with a single blog post. He promised to mend his ways and bring fixes to Rapleaf's privacy practices. We didn't have much faith in Rapleaf's reform — Hoffman's post was mostly rhetoric, little change. A week later, Hoffman has gone out of his way to prove our doubts by partnering with MerchantCircle. MerchantCircle, of course, is the local merchant directory we've criticized before. Of course, Rapleaf and MerchantCircle are in some ways a perfect match.