Ben Smith was a disaster for BuzzFeed, and I can’t imagine the relief over there now that the far-left website is finally rid of him.
Smith announced on Tuesday that after eight failed years he’s out as editor-in-chief, and he made the announcement in a pathetic, humble-brag letter about how “I get a lot of credit for everything we do, but…” and “I had no idea how deeply satisfying it would be to help make the work sharper and better when I could, but…” and “the company and the newsroom as a whole are now in a strong position,” but nowhere does Smith say it was his decision to leave.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t Smith’s decision to abandon the cruise ship he guided into the rocks. But it’s hard to believe a left-wing activist and extremist like Smith would choose to exit his own personal Pravda just as the 2020 race is heating up.
Either way, BuzzFeed has to be thrilled, and if BuzzFeed is not, more failure is on the way.
It was just a few weeks ago, in the annual Breitbart Fake News Awards, that BuzzFeed and Ben Smith won 2019’s prestigious “So Irrelevant No One Mentions Them Anymore” award.
And that award perfectly defines Smith’s stunning failure.
Back in 2012, fresh from his perch at the far-left Politico, Smith’s goal was to build BuzzFeed into something more than a site filled with cat memes and tired listicles. His goal was to turn the site, by way of the BuzzFeed News and BuzzFeed Politics verticals, into a left-wing powerhouse that would destroy the Republican Party and conservative movement; a site filled with dogged propagandists posing as reporters who would break stories meant to trip up the right; a site that would have enormous influence, not only in the political media, but on public opinion.
Looking back I can’t even imagine the amount of money that was poured down that rat hole only to have Smith’s legacy be his decision to release the phony Steele Dossier, which was not even an act of journalism but a full-blown vomiting of fake news.
Let me put it this way… It’s my job to cover the media, most especially the political media, and my hand to God, I can’t remember the last time I bothered to click on BuzzFeed Politics. Probably when Smith puked up the Steele Dossier a few years ago. There’s just no point in monitoring a site that simply doesn’t matter.
But if you want to know what “stillborn” looks like, head on over there. It’s a Dead Zone. The president of the United States is on trial; we’re less than a week away from the first votes being taken in the 2020 presidential race, and BuzzFeed Politics is such a tedious, dry, uninformative, check-all-the-left-wing-boxes slog, I couldn’t find a single piece that had more than 25 comments, and that includes all those “I am making $92 an hour working from home” comments.
Three whole days ago, Smith himself wrote a 4,400 word article titled “Can The New Left Have Its Own Political Party?” and with all that social media power at his disposal, he earned exactly eight comments, and one of those is “I’m making over $9-k a month working part time.”
Can you imagine crafting 4,400 words only to have it dead on arrival? Worse still, can you imagine knowing, before you put pencil to paper, that all your work’s going to just lie there in a massive pile of fail?
But that’s how Smith demolished BuzzFeed Politics, how he squandered the potential of an already popular infrastructure, all that money, and buried it alive with content that’s less interesting, insightful, and informative than a weekend at Socialist Re-education Camp.
How’s this for a death march…
It took four so-called reporters and — no shit — 2,100 words to write out this story: “John Bolton Wrote In His Memoir That Trump Did The Very Thing He’s Been Impeached For, As The Trial Continues.”
A whopping 22 comments, two of them of the “Single Girls Makes $89,844/Yr in Her Spare Time on The Computer Without Selling Anything” variety.
How does one fail so miserably to build a community around a vertical like this, to break any kind of consequential news, to make a ripple in the news cycle — when you have all that money and you’re piggybacking on BuzzFeed, a hugely successful website?
Oh, wait, I almost forget…
Smith did make a ripple in January 2019 when — LOL — then-special counsel Robert Mueller did something unprecedented during the three years he investigated the Russia Collusion Hoax. Yes, just for BuzzFeed, the Mueller Sphinx rose up to declare the only real scoop BuzzFeed’s produced in years a … giant pile of flaming fake news.
And it was glorious.
And in keeping with Smith’s inherent dishonesty and unwavering desire to mislead the public, the piece in question — which falsely claimed President Trump instructed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie under oath, and that Mueller was hot on the case — has not been retracted.
Now, to be fair, that piece did get over a thousand comments … but probably not the kind BuzzFeed hoped for.
But back to my question: How does one fail so miserably with a pile of money and a built-in audience of millions?
Well, you go woketard, that’s how… Being a woketard on Twitter is one thing. But to try and build a news vertical out of woketardedness is nuts, because even woketards are bored reading woketardity.
As someone who followed Smith’s propaganda crusades going back to 2008, I’ll admit to being surprised at the scope of his failure. He was pretty effective for a while, and I expected to be at war with BuzzFeed Politics forever.
But other than pointing and laughing at those two failures, BuzzFeed Politics is a nothing, a zero, a non-entity, a news site that fails to make news…
I mean, unless you count the news about those massive layoffs.
Smith is heading over to the velvet bubble of the New York Times, where he will be lost forever behind a big, fat, elite paywall…
So, in keeping with the BuzzFeed tradition, allow me to close with a gif…
— John Ocasio-Nolte (@NolteNC) January 29, 2020