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Hugh Hewitt Questions Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith On Clickbait Journalism

Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Buzzfeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith whether the website was engaged in “tabloid” reporting in an interview set to broadcast on Wednesday’s “Hugh Hewitt Show.”

The discussion centered on a piece that Hewitt said was originally titled “Dead Cops Chant a Myth,” a headline he alleged was “misleading” because the story shows that protesters have chanted for dead cops, and that while the chants may be “overstated,” they aren’t a “myth.” Smith didn’t argue the specifics of the piece because he hadn’t read the story. Hewitt did say that the piece made “a key point” that trolls are over-amplified, but that it was wrong to claim the chants were a “myth” when the story confirms that they took place.

Smith did concede that calling the chants a “myth” was “a little strong.” Hewitt then asked if Smith believed the headline was “tabloid” and whether he either regretted the word choice or if he considered it “fair game, tabloid journalism come to the internet.” Smith responded that he would take a look at the story and “headlines should be accurate.”

Hewitt later tweeted that Buzzfeed had changed the headline to “The Origins of the Alleged ‘Dead Cops’ Chant.”

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