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Buzzfeed Tag

Comcast subsidiary NBC Universal recently purchased large shares of Buzzfeed and Vox Media. NBC Universal, "owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses." With NBCU sinking about $200 million into each respective media conglomeration, both Vox Media and Buzzfeed are reportedly valued at over $1 billion each. Though Buzzfeed is valued around $1.5 billion. Re/code reports: addition to the NBCUniversal investment, the two companies now have a commercial partnership. That means, among other things, that they will collaborate on digital advertising, will work together on video advertising and video programming, and that you will likely see Vox Media employees more frequently on NBCU-owned networks like CNBC. (Re/code already had and continues to have a news partnership with CNBC).
Does this mean proliferation of Voxsplaining and cat gifs? Will the internet overtake television?! Is the future NOW?!

Earlier this week, President Obama sat down to promote Obamacare interview with Buzzfeed and Vox.
That the President chose listacles, cat memes, and explainer 'journalism' was not unnoticed by Right leaning media, and thus outrage ensued. Many, like Fox New's Greta Van Susteren simply want our president to be SERIOUS. ISIS is crucifying and beheading their way across the Middle East, Yemen is in shambles, thanks to Senate Democrats, DHS could potentially start the month of March unfunded, Montana is trying to ban yoga pants, Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show, and the whole world is going to hell. And here's our President turned gif, wielding a Selfie Stick, striking his best Tom Cruise in a dirty mirror.

Back in December of 2013, a woman named Justine Sacco boarded a plane in New York that was bound for South Africa. She was planning to visit family for the holidays. She tweeted what was perceived as a politically incorrect message to her tiny Twitter following and by the time she landed, she was national news. While she was in the air, her tweets were discovered and promoted by writers at Gawker and BuzzFeed and then the rest of the Twittersphere went into a fury. Professor Jacobson addressed the issue:
Yesterday was the worst Twitter day of all time. Or at least the worst that I remember. Some lady no one had ever heard of and who had about 100 followers at the time sent the Tweet above. The tweet went viral.... Whoever started it, plenty of websites picked up on it and ran with it to feed the mob and not miss out on clicks and eyeballs. By the time I saw it, long after she became a hunted woman, my first impression was similar to that of John Nolte at Looks like the type of “white privilege” claptrap we read almost weekly at or Some liberal white person coming to grips with her privilege and wanting the whole world to know about it.... Racist? You’d need to know a lot more. Maybe shoot her a tweet back and ask what she meant, or look her up and send her an email before proclaiming her to be a racist. But no one could do that. She was on an airplane to visit her native South Africa. For 11 hours. And in those 11 hours she became a hated and hunted woman.... Greg Gutfeld summed it up best:
Ms. Sacco was fired from her job as a result. Here's a video report ABC News provided at the time:

BuzzFeed News has announced that it's been granted an interview with President Obama on Tuesday. In their heart of hearts, Buzzfeed readers want to know what type of cat Obama was in a prior or will be in a future life. Or at least, which 80's sitcom character Obama most easily identifies with or which animated cat GIF he finds most endearing. But since Buzzfeed News has been transformed under Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith from pussy cat (Meow) to King of the Internet Jungle (hear them Roar), Smith is seeking reader input as to questions to ask:
What Should We Ask President Obama? BuzzFeed News will interview President Barack Obama Tuesday as the president works to sign Americans up for his signature health care policy, prepares for a final chance to push through other elements of his agenda, and balances an economic recovery with crises around the world. BuzzFeed News has had our share of big stories and big interviews, but this will be our first interview with a sitting president of the United States. (President Bush missed his chance back in the day.) It’s a nice tribute to the work my colleagues have done to take this place from an ambitious, zany experiment to one of the most ambitious new news and media organizations in the world. Separately, and also exciting, our inspired cousins at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures will be shooting a video with President Obama. The BuzzFeed News interview is also an opportunity for our readers, here and across the social web, to give us some ideas. Since its inception, BuzzFeed News has covered everything from the marriage wars to the shooting war in Eastern Ukraine, and our reporters have filed searing dispatches from Ferguson to Freetown. I’m hoping to ask the president about what’s next — and what you think is next. So tell us your toughest questions — in whatever form you think that question is best asked.
The reaction on Twitter was swift.

David Brock is the founder of Media Matters for America, who's goal was to destroy Fox News and Rush Limbaugh by any means necessary. Brock also is the person behind American Bridge, the entity formed to hire trackers to follow Republicans. One tracker caught David Perdue, the Republican candidate for Senate in George, at a rally, and posted a video purporting to show Perdue signing his name on a woman's hip. The video was spread far and wide including at mainstream media publications such as The Washington Post as Perdue signing the woman's body. But, as Buzzfeed reports, which originally reported it as "David Perdue Signs Woman" (based on the url), the video was misleading, CORRECTED: Dems Miss Insulin Pump In Video Of Perdue Signing Young Woman (large print in original):
David Perdue, the Republican nominee for Senate in Georgia, appeared to sign a young woman’s torso at a campaign rally on Thursday in a video distributed by a Democratic opposition research group — but further video showed that the footage was misleading. “No pictures on this,” Perdue joked before autographing something on the hip of a young woman, while campaign staffers tried to block the scene from being filmed. The footage was captured by a Democratic tracker with the firm American Bridge at a Perdue campaign rally in Jonesboro, Georgia.

Correction: The American Bridge tracker footage did not capture the whole scene, according to the Perdue campaign.

“David was asked to sign an individual’s diabetic pump to help raise awareness for juvenile diabetes,” said Megan Whittemore, a Perdue spokesperson. “This was a Georgia family who shared their personal story of their struggle with ObamaCare and the rising health care costs associated with their daughter’s treatment which is not being covered by their insurance.”

Another angle on the video, not captured by Republicans or Perdue allies, appears to show the young woman is holding something on her body for Perdue to sign.

The pump is featured in the enhanced image from the Perdue campaign, via the Buzzfeed post. It appears the original video has been taken down, but here's the other angle referred to by Buzzfeed:

Remember when Katie Zavadski of NY Magazine, Sheera Frenkel of Buzzfeed and Jon Donnison of the BBC reported that Hamas was not behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, Gil-ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach? That gave rise to the widespread false meme that Israeli invented the Hamas connection in order to start the Gaza war (never mind that the Gaza war actually was started and continued due to Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities, not by Israeli reaction to the kidnapping). Since then, Hamas representatives repeatedly have admitted it was a Hamas operation. Indeed, they bragged about it, though Hamas denies that the most senior Hamas officials were involved. Israeli spokesmen not only identified the murderers, but also how they were funded and coordinated by Hamas operatives in Gaza and Turkey. Israel has been searching for the two murderers for several months. Israel finally found them last night in Hebron. After a firefight, the two were killed and Hamas, once again, admits they were Hamas operatives, as The Times of Israel reports:
Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha were both killed during an early Tuesday arrest attempt in Hebron, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.... At around 3 a.m., the forces descended on the house where the suspects were believed to be hiding and began firing heavily on the home. Both were killed after refusing to surrender. “We opened fire, they returned fire and they were killed in the exchange,” IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told Reuters. “We have visual confirmation for one. The second one, we have no visual confirmation, but the assumption is he was killed.” Hamas confirmed in a statement the two were killed, Israeli media reported. “Two members of the Izz A-Din al-Qasam brigades, Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha, were killed after a journey of sacrifice and giving,” Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran said in a statement. “This is the path of resistance and we walk it side by side.” An armed bulldozer was also used to destroy the home the two were in during the operation, Israel’s Channel 10 news reported.
The Jerusalem Post further reports:

Anne Helen Petersen announced that she is leaving academia to join Buzzfeed. Who is Anne Helen Petersen? Someone who holds a Ph.D in 2011 from UT-Austin in Media Studies, and teaches Feminist Media Studies, among other things.  Here's her Whitman College faculty description:
Anne Helen Petersen received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, where she wrote her dissertation on the industrial history of celebrity gossip and spent a lot of time eating breakfast tacos.  At Whitman, she teaches classes in television, stardom, feminist media studies, and theory.  She has published articles in the Journal of Film and VideoTelevision & New MediaFeminist Media Studies, Celebrity Studies, and Film & History, authored several book chapters, and writes a regular column on classic Hollywood for The Hairpin.  Her first book, Scandals of Classic Hollywood, is forthcoming from Plume/Penguin in 2014.   You may find her blog, “Celebrity Gossip, Academic Style,” at
Why is Petersen joining Buzzfeed?  Here's a portion of an interview announcing the move (emphasis added):
I’ve known for some time that my work, and the sort of audience I love writing for, is not a very good fit for academia, but I thought that I could wedge/force/hipcheck my way into a position that would reconcile the type of work that I wanted to do with the teaching that I love. But as a friend of mine said amidst her time on the market, “academia is drunk”—not belligerent or irresponsible so much single-sightedly focused on things that may or may not ultimately matter. In other words, no one wanted to hire me! I want to be super explicit about that because I think people will assume that because of all the writing I do, both on and off the internet, that I somehow had some cornucopia of choices and was like “show me the money.” OH MAN I WISH. I get so much satisfaction from teaching, but there was no way to keep doing so—and continue the writing I find fulfilling—and make a sustainable salary. BuzzFeed gives me the platform and support to do the type of writing (and reach the type of audiences) that I love, but can also provide me with a living wage.... Oh I was, but “fully funded” is a myth, especially at state schools, even “state Ivies” like the University of Texas. You have a salary, but that salary just about pays your rent, and then you get nickeled-and-dimed for all sorts of fees, insurance, buying food that’s not rice, and somehow surviving the summer, when you’re not getting paid but are expected to do scholarship and research. DON’T GO TO GRAD SCHOOL KIDS....

Yesterday was the worst Twitter day of all time. Or at least the worst that I remember. Some lady no one had ever heard of and who had about 100 followers at the time sent the Tweet above. The tweet went viral.  Some guy at Gawker is claiming credit for finding it, although a lot of people credit the big viral boost to someone at Buzzfeed who has over 100,000 followers: Whoever started it, plenty of websites picked up on it and ran with it to feed the mob and not miss out on clicks and eyeballs. By the time I saw it, long after she became a hunted woman, my first impression was similar to that of John Nolte at Looks like the type of "white privilege" claptrap we read almost weekly at or  Some liberal white person coming to grips with her privilege and wanting the whole world to know about it.

Buzzfeed seems to engender pretty strong feelings all around.  Mostly the criticism was from the right during the election, but I'm seeing grumbling from the left lately as well. I cautioned last February not to underestimate BuzzFeed Politics, which is an emerging force in news and uses cats to maximum effect.  Despite my tongue-in-cheek post, 5 Signs BuzzFeed May Have Peaked, I'm not really seeing the engine slowing down.  They have a lot of dollars, very talented staff, and they have me pegged. One thing that has caught my eye recently was that Buzzfeed lured in conservative readers through its Community section.  Yes, conservative readers. It must be some kind of Sun Tzu military theory: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"] (Buzzfeed: Some of our best friends are Conservative)[/caption] I first noticed that when two of the best listicles I've seen from the conservative side showed up at Buzzfeed. The first, 16 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Life Before Birth by National Right to Life on August 27, was highlighted here National Right to Life hits home run where it counts, Buzzfeed:

Buzzfeed National Right to Life 16 Things screen shot

Team Breitbart: We’re going to smack Politico across the face and expose Buzzfeed: Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro took a more bellicose tone, declaring that Breitbart News writers would challenge not only the existing mainstream media for their biased coverage, but also the newer online outlets. “You’ll notice that...

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