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BuzzFeed editor: Public deserved to see Trump dossier

BuzzFeed editor: Public deserved to see Trump dossier
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Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, says the public deserved to see the controversial dossier on President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE published by the news organization earlier this month.

Smith in a New York Times op-ed published Monday cited two reasons for BuzzFeed’s decision.

He wrote that the dossier was distributed among top government officials and pointed to CNN’s report that Trump and former President Obama were both briefed on its contents. 

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“Whether reporters from Washington to Budapest succeed in verifying its claims or otherwise does not diminish the compelling public interest in the story — or the presumptive right of the public, and not just a Beltway elite, to see the document,” Smith wrote.

The news organization’s release of the 35-page document caused a debate among journalists and politicians alike over the decision. 

BuzzFeed said when it published the document that it “includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians.”

Citing the current “media ecosystem,” Smith maintained in the Times op-ed that Americans needed to learn to “read carefully, exercise judgment and view with skepticism” future politics claims, as well as those from the 2016 presidential campaign.

“In a democracy, the justification for shielding the public from something like that must be overwhelming. The instinct to suppress news of this significance is precisely the wrong one for journalism in 2017,” Smith wrote.