Benny Johnson, the 28-year-old Viral Politics editor at Internet leviathan BuzzFeed, came under fire from two Twitter users on Thursday for copying text from a variety of sources, including Yahoo! Answers. Today the same users, @blippoblappo and @crushingbort, provided several more instances where Johnson stole the work of others—including About.com, Wikipedia, and National Review—and passed them off as his own.
Yahoo! Answers, one of the great artifacts of Internet history, is intently studied at viral news website BuzzFeed, where its trove of half-literate questions (and even less literate answers) has supplied material for at least fifty different posts and listicles. One BuzzFeed editor, however, has streamlined this aggregation process to its vanishing point: Simply copying text from Yahoo! Answers and pasting it, without attribution, into his own work.
As part of its secretive judging process, the Pulitzer Prize committee closely guards the names of outlets and reporters who submit their work for consideration. But a loophole in the Prize’s online submission website inadvertently revealed that BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast sought but did not win journalism’s highest honor.
You’ve probably read BuzzFeed’s long profile of Donald Trump, in which political reporter McKay Coppins explains the absurdity of the businessman’s political aspirations and the “yes-men” who enable them (one of whom Trump quickly fired). Even if you haven’t read it, the editors of Breitbart.com sure have.
It’s not easy working for Donald Trump. Following BuzzFeed’s lengthy evisceration of the real estate titan’s presidential ambitions, one of Trump’s aides, Sam Nunberg, resigned from Trump’s full-time staff. Nunberg confirmed the resignation to Brian Stelter in an email, later obtained by Betsy Rothstein of The Daily Caller, in which he responds to BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins, whom Nunberg allowed to interview his former boss:
Yesterday, Business Insider chief correspondent Nicholas Carlson stuck a subtle shiv into his competitors at Buzzfeed, attributing the site's success in exploiting Facebook's ever-evolving newsfeed algorithm to its practice of buying traffic in the form of Facebook ads—as opposed to, you know, attracting readers. Then he took it out. Without telling anyone.
Jerry Seinfeld, the most successful comedian in the world and maker of comedy for and about white people, isn't interested in trying to include non-white anything in his work.