Following BuzzFeed’s reckless decision on Tuesday to publish an erroneous and salacious document pertaining to President-elect Trump, a diverse array of conservative leaders (including Media Research Center President and Founder Brent Bozell) offered their reactions to this damaging publication of fake news:
“Conservatives are no strangers to false attacks and outright lies. Whether it's Sen. Harry Reid lying about Mitt Romney’s taxes or the White House calling acts of jihad ‘workplace violence,’ the lesson is this: Don't believe the liberal media. It's no wonder people are turning away from the ‘mainstream’ press. The liberal media have only themselves to blame for falling ratings and declining circulations.”
-Gary Bauer, President, American Values
“I expect the formerly mainstream media will soon regret their enthusiastic stories covering BuzzFeed’s phony and error-filled release of baseless allegations about President-elect Trump and Russia. Their former journalistic standards lie in ruins. Those who falsely “cry wolf” lose their credibility rapidly, particularly when it becomes clear that their reports are deliberately malicious.”
-Morton Blackwell, Virginia Republican National Committeeman
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“There was a day not so long ago when even a liberal editor, publisher, or news director would have been fired, or fired someone, for releasing something as egregious as this news story. Now, unsubstantiated stories perpetuated by baseless claims create their own news cycles as they are bounced between broadcast networks.”
– Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.)
“The Department of Defense invented a name for the practice of creating a false story and getting people to believe it. The tactic is called “perception management” or PM, which is is similar to disinformation or propaganda used in a wartime context. This failed attempt to smear President-elect Trump is a particularly outrageous example of politically-motivated PM. Everyone who passed on or broadcast the manufactured story should be held accountable.”
- Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness
"In November, the American people in part voted against a media that had dropped even the fig leaf of impartiality and actively tried to work against the incoming president. If they want to earn back Americans' trust, they need to do better than just repeating ever rumor they hear. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be something that they've learned and the real damage that they will inflict will be on themselves, not on the incoming president."
- Heather Higgins, President and CEO, Independent Women's Voice
"If a business in any other industry participated in such reckless action as Buzzfeed there would be an outcry for congressional hearings and immediate government regulation. Buzzfeed needs to pull the story, apologize, and pledge to do some serious ethics and journalism training with all its employees. The company needs to take serious corrective action so that other entrepreneurial companies in this sector, and those to come, are not harmed by the credibility cloud that Buzzfeed has created. We need more competition in the media sector, and thankfully there is plenty of opportunity and space for entrepreneurs to launch innovative companies. But Buzzfeed's actions hurt everyone and every company in this sector, and they need to own up."
- Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
"President-elect Trump's response to the Buzzfeed #FakeDossier was brilliant. For far too long, Republicans have chosen to stay silent while the Left launches baseless attacks and character assassinations. Trump recognizes that's a losing strategy. Instead, he takes the fight directly to the mainstream media by calling #FakeNews out for what it is. That is why he won, and that is why he will continue to win big."
- Terry Schilling, Executive Director, American Principles Project
“As a WH veteran I find it shocking that a confidential briefing given to the current and incoming presidents would be used to publicly shame Donald Trump in an attempt to weaken his political standing. The American people should be outraged. It is clear that the boundaries of the swamp extend to those who are guilty of feeding defamatory information to reliably liberal media outlets who apparently will publish anything – accuracy and fact-checking be damned – to preserve what’s left of their dwindling influence.”
- Matt Schlapp, Chairman, American Conservative Union
“Buzzfeed’s fake news article regarding unverified and blatantly false claims that attempted to tie President-Elect Donald Trump to Russia should not come as a surprise. The liberal media spent the last year trying to destroy Donald Trump. This “reporting” is why Americans’ distrust in the media is at an all-time high. Until news reporters give the American people the facts, based on verified and accurate claims, there is no reason to believe what they say or write.”
- Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) is the Chairman of the Media Fairness Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“BuzzFeed’s story is clearly fake news. Any media outlet that does not produce a news story that declares BuzzFeed’s story fake news is giving aid and comfort to fake news and furthering its proliferation. This fiasco is exactly why the media’s ratings are in the toilet. It’s exactly why Donald Trump said the election was rigged and it’s also why Donald Trump hasn’t done many press conferences. BuzzFeed should stick to cat gifs for the foreseeable future until they figure out how to do journalism. And President-elect Trump shouldn't conduct any more press conferences unless and until the 'news' media start treating him fairly.”
- Brent Bozell, President, Media Research Center