BuzzFeed backtracks after Oatmeal hit piece falls flat

Jeff John Roberts for GigaOM:

Popular viral news site BuzzFeed this week slammed a cartoonist as an amoral hypocrite. Unfortunately, the story turns out to have been based on a grievous factual error — leading the cartoonist to issue a savage counterattack that has stoked popular anger at BuzzFeed and the author.

BuzzFeed quickly corrected the story, and editor-in-chief Ben Smith offered an apology of sorts on Tuesday — but the response still feels inadequate.

BuzzFeed should never have posted the original piece without much more carefully vetting it, and their attempt to smooth over their mistake after the fact smacks of second-rate New Media Douchebaggery – a weak correction tacked on to the end of the original smear piece.

  • D Pauw

    BuzzFeed a bunch of uncreative hacks?

  • Misandry

    I wish Buzzfeed had never written that article. The writer of The Oatmeal started this whole debacle because he made a rape joke in one of his comics. And now. because the Buzzfeed article, he’s getting framed as a precious little victim of a vicious attack. Interesting.

    • He didn’t make “a rape joke”. He made a joke about a key on a keyboard, and used the word “rape” as a verb. I think you need to check a dictionary for the definition of “rape”.

    • lomifeh

      As Ian Davies said the joke was in reference to a key on a keyboard. It was not at all about actual rape but used as a verb. The whole original ruckus was questionable.

      That said the Buzzfeed piece was an old school attempt at character assassination of a popular internet personality and site to generate traffic. The fact they did it in such a shoddy manner with a writer who was basically fired from his last gig for making fun of a child with down syndrome is pretty bad.

    • Inman didn’t start the whole debacle based on that tasteless joke. He’s been told by others that Steuf had been contacting comic artists for months trying to dish up dirt about him. Steuf used this misstep as a rally point for the article, but it sounds like he’d been planning it previously.

    • Don’t worry. Buzzfeed wishes they’d never written the article either. There are not enough negative adjectives to describe the level of pompous jackassery present in that execrable piece of garbage.

  • JDSoCal

    What really happened is the BuzzFeed writer thought that the Oatmeal cartoonist is a Republican. He was shocked to learn after publishing the article that the Oatmeal is an Obama-voting Democrat, and therefore given a pass to be politically incorrect, since Democrats are good people. Only mean Republicans have to be PC.

    Douchebaggery indeed.