A Friday article from The Verge asserted that when a person shares an article on social media, that very rarely means he or she has read it. On Tuesday, several high-ranking members of BuzzFeed’s editorial team proved that thesis by ridiculing an article from Breitbart News for a claim it did not contain.
Multiple BuzzFeed staffers mocked a Breitbart story covering allegations against author McKay Coppins of boorish behavior while he followed businessman Donald Trump for an article which Trump’s team characterized as a hit piece. Breitbart reporter Matthew Boyle relayed allegations–categorically denied in a statement from BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith–that Coppins had made women at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach uncomfortable by ogling them.
However, some among the hecklers attacked the story on a point it did not include. Several editors and writers snarked at the idea that Coppins, a Mormon, would drink alcohol.
Matthew Zeitlin, a writer for BuzzFeed’s business vertical, quipped, “when i think drinking bourbon and ogling women, i think @mckaycoppins.” Jack Moore, a Senior Editor for the site, wrote, “I mean when I think drinking, ogling women, & liberal shill the only person that comes to my mind is McKay Coppins. Obviously.”
BuzzFeed Politics Washington Bureau Chief John Stanton scoffed, “I hate it when @mckaycoppins looks at me like i’m yummy, sipping on brown liquids.” He continued, “I bet @mckaycoppins is drunk on bourbon right now, bein all nasty.”
Coppins himself said Breitbart News claimed he was “drinking” at Trump’s resort.
Trumpworld gets Breitbart to publish a funny list of fabrications about me drinking & ogling women at Mar-a-Lago. lol http://t.co/wi4A4kKaek
– McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) February 18, 2014
The only reference in the article to alcohol was a claim from former Trump aide Samuel Nunberg that “he had warned other aides to be sensitive about the topic and to avoid bringing up the subject of alcohol” so as not to make Coppins uncomfortable.
Each of these comments referred to a question from Breitbart News inquiring about an allegation which was not published in the final article. The question was part of an email addressed to Coppins, not his colleagues.