Media

BuzzFeed Banning Ads from Trump. For Similar Reasons, They Should Ban Ads from Clinton, Too.

Both candidates have terrible records on free speech.

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Hillary Clinton
Reason

BuzzFeed (which, if you haven't noticed by now, has been producing more and more news and investigative stories over the past five years) has decided that it will not be accepting any campaign ads from Donald Trump and terminated an agreement with the Republican National Committee for a potential $1.3 million ad buy.

Politico got their hands on an internal email from BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti. Part of the reasoning for blocking Trump ads is that he's bad for their own business model. From the memo:

Since signing this advertising deal, Donald Trump, as you know, has become the presumptive nominee of his party. The tone and substance of his campaign are unique in the history of modern US politics. Trump advocates banning Muslims from traveling to the United States, he's threatened to limit the free press, and made offensive statements toward women, immigrants, descendants of immigrants, and foreign nationals.

Earlier today Buzzfeed informed the RNC that we would not accept Trump for President ads and that we would be terminating our agreement with them. The Trump campaign is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world and in some cases, such as his proposed ban on international travel for Muslims, would make it impossible for our employees to do their jobs.

BuzzFeed should feel free to be able to decide whether to take ads from any candidate for office. Isn't it a great sign that our media choices have become so broad and multi-layered that we don't even have to deal with a thorny issue of whether members of the public are being denied a campaign's message just because a single large outlet refuses to carry it? Nobody will be denied access to Trump's messages because of BuzzFeed's decision.

Let us hope that media outlets keep this refusal to accept ads in mind when they insist that the press plays an important role in democracy in providing information to help people cast their votes, though. After all, they're publicly choosing to ban messages from a one candidate because they don't like what the campaign stands for, not because they think the messages are fraudulent. They still intend to cover Trump as a candidate, so what they've done is to make sure that any message Trump and the Republicans wants to send out is filtered through the editorial process. They are tacitly telling the public that they will not give one candidate (and only one candidate) control over his own message. Again, that's their right to do so, but it's also partly an indictment of the self-identification of the media as some sort of open forum for political debate.

Let us also hope that, because Peretti points to Trump's attitudes in opposition to "free speech," BuzzFeed also considers whether it should be rejecting advertisements from Clinton is well. Clinton is no friend of the First Amendment. She is very specifically and very openly pro-censorship. Do you want to talk about making journalists' jobs impossible? Let us remind everybody that this scandal about her keeping her emails on a private server when she was Secretary of State is partly about shielding her and her aides from Freedom of Information Act requests from journalists. It was a way to shield herself from accountability just as Trump's threat to try to weaken libel laws to go after media outlets is a way to shield himself from accountability.

Clinton wants to censor video games, censor television shows, censor encryption, and censor documentaries that are critical of her (that is what the Citizens United Supreme Court decision was about). If BuzzFeed wants to make advertising decisions on whether they think a candidate is awful on positions that matter to them and their business model, that's fine. But Clinton's record on speech as actually much worse than Trump's in the long run.

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  1. Hillary is different, she’s one of us. /10 billion progressive journalistspropagandists pod people

  2. Trump doesn’t need any ads. That’s what Reason is for.

      1. “Bicameralism”

        That’s a new one to me, I’ll have to do some more research on this one.

      2. Completely ludicrous. Anything proposed to have been a built in part of all of humanity 3000 years ago would still be around somewhere now

  3. Buzzfeed is now worse than Breitbart, because I do not believe those dirtbags have made their Trump allegiance a stated policy.

  4. For Similar Reasons, They Should Ban Ads from Clinton, Too.

    Don’t hold your hand on your ass waiting for THAT to happen.

    1. Well what have i been holding my hand on my ass for, then?!?

      1. To keep the homos away?

  5. If BuzzFeed wants to make advertising decisions on whether they think a candidate is awful on positions that matter to them and their business model, that’s fine. But Clinton’s record on speech as actually much worse than Trump’s in the long run.

    C’mon, Scott. You know, and I know, and everyone else knows BuzzFeed’s not taking a principled stand against controlling, censorious asshats. It’s about BuzzFeed showing everyone how awesome they are by not giving a platform to that awful person who is not a Democrat.

    1. Yep.

      Scroll back and gaze with wonder on that dog turd that Chapman laid on us this morning, and brace for more and more of it. The irony is that the more these asshats lie while completely ignoring legitimate criticism of the man the more likely he is to win this election.

  6. The tone and substance of his campaign are unique in the history of modern US politics.

    Judicious decision on where “modern” started? Or ignorance?

    1. Little of this, little of that.

  7. “Trump advocates banning Muslims from traveling to the United States,. . . ”

    I take a back seat to nobody when it comes to disdain of Trump. But this statement simply isn’t true. He said he was for a temporary ban of Muslim immigrants, not Muslim travelers.

    1. “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

      -Campaign Press release

      CNN

      1. I stand corrected. Thanks.

      2. And why is that a bad thing?

    2. I know this is going to seem horrible … But since this whole “crisis” is great enough for us to be using the AMUF to continue to conduct active warfare around the world … Congress fixing our immigration fiasco seems like a good judgement call.

      Not anti-immigrates or anti reform. I just see this as one of his less provocative comments.

      1. Don’t you see? We are killing them there, so we don’t have to discriminate here!

  8. Nobody will be denied access to Trump’s messages because of BuzzFeed’s decision.

    Is this a great country, or what? I mean — a country that could be great again?

  9. Makes solid business sense on Buzzfeed’s part. They are unabashedly progressive. Taking money from the RNC would be bad for their brand and they get to social signal at the same time. Win-win.

    1. I thought this too, when I read it. If 99% of their audience are Bern victims, I can see that they might fear offending those eyes, and want to make Buzzfeed a safe web space.

  10. Keep giving him ammo you idiots.

  11. The RNC didn’t need you guys anyway. Otherwise known as the “that girl won’t date me because she is a lesbian defense”:

    RNC spokesman Sean Spicer responded: “Space was reserved on many platforms, but we never intended to use BuzzFeed.” He added, in a reference to Hillary Clinton, “It is ironic that they have not ruled out taking money from a candidate currently under investigation by the FBI.”

    1. Otherwise known as the “that girl won’t date me because she is a lesbian defense”:

      Because I’m sure the GOP’s media strategy involved massive buys from Buzzfeed. Along with Jezebel, Salon and the Daily Kos.

  12. Why did they make the agreement in the first place?

  13. When does Reason ban ads that suggest there is a weird teeth whitening trick that has dentists furious?

    1. if they did that, 25 more celebrities might turn transgendered.

    2. This one secret trick will make your electric company furious.

      1. It’s furious life-hacks all the way down.

        1. I for one want to see more of these scandalous pictures from Walmart.

  14. Everyone’s so principled about freedom now.

    1. Banning things is the mostest funnest thing ever!

  15. As I recall Hillary was fully on board with Obama’s ‘we need to re-think freedom of speech’ efforts and of course banning movies. She is solidly against and has actively assaulted the first two, arguably the most important, inherent rights. She is a nasty horrible person who destroyed the lives of rape victims. I guess just mouthing the right social signals cancels all of that out.

    There is a problem with all these pinkos losing their shit over a possible Hillary defeat: None of the things Trump says he wants to do are his to do. He cant ban Muslim travel. The Mexican wall is absurd. He won’t be any more successful at limiting free speech than that shitbird sitting in the whitehouse now was.

    This really is a no-brainer.

    1. There is a problem with all these pinkos losing their shit over a possible Hillary defeat: None of the things Trump says he wants to do are his to do. He cant ban Muslim travel. The Mexican wall is absurd. He won’t be any more successful at limiting free speech than that shitbird sitting in the whitehouse now was.

      People don’t have time for facts…
      I was assured that in 2012, Obama HAD to win because if Romney won, the streets would be filled with back-alley abortionists.

      1. Week, the back alleys would be filled with back alleys abortionists. The streets would be filled with street abortionists.

  16. BuzzFeed (which, if you haven’t noticed by now, has been producing more and more news and investigative stories over the past five years

    LOL OMG FAIL WTF

    1. LOL OMG FAIL WTF

      It is, after all, their entire corporate motto.

      1. Sex tapes?

  17. Isn’t it a great sign that our media choices have become so broad and multi-layered that we don’t even have to deal with a thorny issue of whether members of the public are being denied a campaign’s message just because a single large outlet refuses to carry it?

    Yet we should fear for the future of free speech because of the Gawker ruling.

  18. The tone and substance of his campaign are unique in the history of modern US politics.

    Once again, Buzzfeed unzips and we find out just how young and naive they are.

  19. I do find it strange that an organization attempting to bill itself about being “serious” in the news business would drop ads from a given candidate merely because they don’t like the candidate. As everyone has nodded, their right to do so, blah blah blah. But it seems that if you’re going to cover a candidate and you publicly renounce the ads from a one candidate, and one candidate only, solely on the ‘tone of his campaign’, your editorial position seems pretty clear.

    I could see this in a small independent rag put out by the WSW, or any sources of news that take a strong editorial position by design. I’m not offended by them dropping Trump ads, I’m more mystified by it.

  20. Fuck Buzzfeed, their business should be fined, they should be boycotted and their executives should lose their jobs.

    Isn’t that the required punishment for not serving a willin customer???

    Don’t give me this “freedom association” bullshit. Either everyone has free association or no one does…

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