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.