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CNN’s Stelter Confronts BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith on Dossier: Are You Trying to Be Like WikiLeaks?

CNN’s Brian Stelter faced off with BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith this morning over BuzzFeed News’ decision to publish that dossier full of unverified allegations against President-elect Donald Trump.

Smith told Stelter that he disagrees with what CNN did––reporting on Trump being briefed on these allegations while not sharing what exactly those allegations were––and he said he doesn’t get the “middle position.”

Stelter countered, “The middle position is journalism.”

He cautioned Smith against trying to conflate CNN’s reporting with BuzzFeed’s, saying that as journalists do every day, the CNN team behind their report made an editing decision not to share unverified “sordid details.”

He even went so far as to say that what BuzzFeed did seemed more like something WikiLeaks would do as opposed to The Washington Post. Stelter argued that there should have been more reporting around those allegations instead of simply publishing them and trusting their audience.

Smith said he just wants to “treat our audience with respect,” but Stelter suggested they could have easily annotated or redacted the dossier if they wanted to do more to inform their audience.

He asked Smith if he’s concerned about the BuzzFeed report being used to allow Trump and his team to dismiss the legitimate reporting about the intel briefings. Smith found that to be a “fantasy” argument given Trump’s relationship thus far with the press.

Watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac