You know it's bad when an anchor from CNN is calling out a BuzzFeed editor for publishing something irresponsibly. It was Jake Tapper who was fired up over BuzzFeed's editor, Ben Smith, who allegedly made the decision to publish the Steele Dossier. Tapper said that it was "irresponsible" and "uncollegial" for the Steele Dossier to be published, according to emails that were released on Friday as per a report by The Daily Caller.
“I think your move makes the story less serious and credible[.] I think you damaged its impact,” Tapper wrote to Smith on Jan. 10, 2017, just after BuzzFeed published the dossier in full on its website.
The emails were released in response to a federal judge’s order to unseal documents from a lawsuit against BuzzFeed, which was sued in February 2017 by a Russian businessman who was accused in the dossier of being a Russian agent.
Now there are lawyers for Aleksej Gubarev, who's Russian, who are picking apart the Tapper-Smith conversation as a way to show that BuzzFeed did not perform "due diligence" prior to publishing the piece which was apparently paid for by Democrats. The dossier was pieced together by Christopher Steele, who used to be a British spy.
The Daily Caller also reported that BuzzFeed had noted that the dossier was unverified, but that editor Ben Smith still published it anyway "on the grounds that numerous policymakers, government officials and journalists were aware of its salacious rumors, which included that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to win the 2016 election."
Tapper was seemingly upset with Smith because shortly before BuzzFeed published the dossier, CNN had reported parts of the document had been briefed to then-President-elect Donald Trump in a meeting with top intelligence community officials Jan. 6, 2017.
CNN did not publish the dossier, but BuzzFeed used CNN’s story as a hook to publish Steele’s 35-page report.
“That was pretty uncollegial[.] Not to mention irresponsible[.] No one has verified this stuff,” Tapper wrote to Smith.
Smith defended his decision, telling Tapper that publishing the dossier “was not an easy call.”
“Collegiality wise it was you stepping on my dick,” Tapper responded.
“You could have waited til morning,” he said.
It's a beautiful thing when you have people from CNN and BuzzFeed arguing with each other about an unverified document.