Ian Collins is Leading Britain's Conversation.
13 January 2017, 11:46
Anyone accusing Buzzfeed of "fake news" because they published the Trump claims is missing the point, says James O'Brien.
Ever since Buzzfeed made the decision to publish unverified reports that included lurid claims about Donald Trump's private life, they've been under fire from the right. Trump himself accused them of publishing "fake news".
But James says there's a big difference between what Buzzfeed did and the kind of invented stories that targets Hillary Clinton and others on the left.
"If you knowingly print lies, often designed to whip up race hatred, and subsequently boast about it - you are disreputable media.
"Buzzfeed is not. Buzzfeed might make mistakes and might do things wrong, but it would not deliberately publish lies in order to whip up hatred that would add to the political fortunes of a candidate they approved of.
"Not actual lies.
"So even if they printed a dossier that contains things that aren't true, they are printing a dossier that they are describing as "unproven".
"You go over to the right wing websites and it would be delivered to you as a top secret, absolutely incontravertibly true piece of evidence that demonstrates the Satanic roots of Hillary Clinton's entire family."
The issue even prompted James to mount a defence of a newspaper that he admits "upsets me on a daily basis".
"They might manipulate and spin and put an editorial slant on things, but they're not going to print [untrue stories]."