BuzzFeed's Editor Explained The Decision To Publish The Unverified Trump Dossier

Ben Smith appeared on CNN to discuss BuzzFeed News' decision to publish the unverified dossier on Donald Trump's alleged ties to Russia.

BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith appeared Sunday on CNN after days of criticism from the network and others of his controversial decision to publish an unverified dossier containing explosive allegations of Donald Trump's ties to Russia.

"We're proud we published it," Smith told Brian Stelter of Reliable Sources, adding he believed it was "clear it was the right thing to do."

On Tuesday, BuzzFeed News published a 35-page unverified dossier compiled by a former British intelligence official which alleged that Russia had compromising information on Trump.

The report was published hours after CNN reported that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to Trump and President Obama.

Smith said the original CNN story prompted his decision to share the report, which he said BuzzFeed News had obtained weeks ago.

"I guess we thought that it was important when you had a blanket claim like, 'He was compromised by the Russian intelligence,' to share the details. I think that’s important," Smith said.

The decision to publish the unverified dossier sparked a fierce media ethics debate.

The Washington Post's media columnist, Margaret Sullivan, wrote that BuzzFeed "crossed the line" in publishing the dossier.

"It’s never been acceptable to publish rumor and innuendo," she wrote.

Some CNN anchors also publicly criticized BuzzFeed's decision to publish the unverified report.

But others, including the managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and the president of the nonprofit investigative site ProPublica, defended the decision.

Skip to footer