In general, I have never been a big fan of BuzzFeed. For the past few years, their content has mostly consisted of click-bait horsecrap that compiles content from Reddit, or gif-laden articles with titles like “Which Celebrity Should You Date This Summer?” which was just published yesterday.
As much as we who pompously like to consider ourselves legitimate political pundits enjoy mocking BuzzFeed and other click-bait domains, the website started producing some good political reporting back in 2013.
Most news organizations will take advertising money from nearly anyone who is willing to cough up the cash. In this new media age, websites live or die by the advertising dollar. Our site is no different. If people aren’t reading articles and sharing with their friends, it is the same predicament newspapers faced decades ago if consumers weren’t buying the daily paper.
As cynical as I am about internet media, Buzzfeed did something unusual and principled by turning down over a million dollars in advertising – because it came from the Trump campaign.
BuzzFeed has pulled out of an advertising agreement with the Republican National Committee over objections to Donald Trump’s rhetoric.
The buy was for $1.3 million, a source close to BuzzFeed told POLITICO. The source said that the main consideration was the site’s employees – that BuzzFeed could not countenance “having employees make ads, or working at the company and having our site promoting things, that limit our freedom and make it harder for them to live their lives.”
Asked if the site would rule out any Trump advertising, the source said the specifics would matter: “In general, we have taken the position that we won’t take ads for his presidential campaign.” (Source)
Turning down this kind of advertising money from the Republican National Committee won’t hurt Buzzfeed much in the long run, but I applaud them on taking this position. If anything, it gives them a degree of legitimacy in the media, even if people who subscribe to their celebrity quizzes won’t notice.
The media really needs to stop giving Donald Trump free press – that’s how he has managed to win despite the millions of dollars spent by his GOP opponents. Instead of reporting on the latest outrage, we need to keep informing the public that he is the most unqualified and divisive candidate to ever run for president.
If there were awards for ethics in media, BuzzFeed just earned a degree of respectability for turning down Trump’s advertising dollars. If only others could follow their lead.