Buzzfeed News, a news organization that started ten years ago to rave reviews in the liberal media environment ushered in by President Obama's election four years prior, quietly folded operations this week.
"While layoffs are occurring across nearly every division, we've determined that the company can no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News as a standalone organization," CEO Jonah Peretti told staffers.
Buzzfeed News relied on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook to promote its stories. As readers tweeted and retweeted articles from Buzzfeed News, more people clicked on the links to read them, bringing in more ad revenue.
The news organization delighted the Left by publishing the entire Steele Dossier before verifying its authenticity. In the massive trove of documents were salacious details about then-candidate Donald Trump, all of which were later found to be untrue.
The FBI even requested a FISA court to issue a warrant to surveil Carter Page, an advisor to the Trump campaign. Senior FBI agents included Buzzfeed News as the source for their suspicion. In 2019, the Justice Department determined that the last two of four FISA warrants to surveil Page were invalid and should never have happened. But the damage had been done.
Buzzfeed News was the media outlet that started the Russia-Russia-Russia fever in Washington, culminating in an extensive investigation by Special Counsel Robert Muller. The report concluded that there was no evidence of a criminal conspiracy to charge members of the Trump campaign. The report also concluded that Page did not coordinate with Russia in Russia's efforts to interfere in the elections.
Although Buzzfeed News faced criticisms from some in the media that it should bear responsibility for enabling an error-prone and faulty source, such as the dossier, to handicap the presidency of a young administration, Buzzfeed News never apologized. It did not have to because Leftist friends of Buzzfeed News on Twitter - including Yael Roth and Vijaya Gadde of the legal, policy, and trust team - allowed the organization's articles to thrive on the platform.
The same executives severely restricted the visibility of a series of New York Post articles about Hunter Biden's laptop in the run-up to the 2020 election. For a news organization that won a Pulitzer in 2021, Buzzfeed News never investigated the Hunter Biden laptop story. On the contrary, it published a 19-page list of talking points intended for use by surrogates who represent Biden on TV and in other media, including guidance on Hunter Biden and questions about whether he might testify at the Senate trial.
Reports by major news outlets, including the Washington Post and New York Times, confirm that the Hunter Biden story was accurate as the NY Post reported it. Multiple TIPP polls have concluded that the bombshell stories could have swung the election to President Trump in 2020.
Buzzfeed could not survive the new Twitter regime under billionaire Elon Musk, who fired over 75% of his team, including most of the woke staff on Twitter's so-called "Trust and Security" team. Under Musk, only tweets that are primarily illegal or harmful are flagged. Most are allowed through, including Leftist views, creating a vibrant platform wherein free speech is cherished. But Leftist views today are clobbered by a more vibrant rightwing presence that the Gadde regime had previously eradicated. The platform is imperfect, but we prefer a flawed, free-speech-friendly environment to one wherein a few individuals act as gatekeepers to thought in an echo chamber designed to appease the Left.
NPR, which also recently quit Twitter, did not like being branded a government media outlet, although a Hill article recently showed that 21% of its funding comes from government resources, such as the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. NPR, for its part, refused to air the Hunter Biden laptop story ten days before the 2020 election. Kelly McBride, NPR's "public editor," — quoted Terence Samuel, NPR's managing editor for news: "We don't want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don't want to waste the listeners' and readers' time on stories that are just pure distractions."
While we are for a thriving media ecosystem, we are not sorry to see the demise of such a blatantly partisan media organization as Buzzfeed, whose work helped alter world history. We doubt if Russia would have attacked Ukraine if Trump had been reelected, if the country would have had seven million illegal immigrants crossing the border, or if the economy would have been such a mess. America would certainly have been a lot more energy secure.
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Geopolitics And Geoeconomics
#1. Jens Stoltenberg Visits Kyiv, Declares 'Ukraine's Rightful Place Is In NATO' - UPI
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg set the stage for Ukraine to join the international military alliance during his first visit to Kyiv since Russia invaded more than a year ago.
"Let me be clear: Ukraine's rightful place is in the Euro-Atlantic family," Stoltenberg declared during a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. "Ukraine's rightful place is in NATO. And over time, our support will help you to make this possible."
In July, Stoltenberg invited Zelensky to attend the next NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.
#2. G7 Mulls Almost Complete Ban On Exports To Russia - Kyodo News
Japan is set to host the G-7 summit in May in Hiroshima, where discussions will take place on measures to expand support to Ukraine and strengthen sanctions on Russia, among other key topics.
The G-7 countries have already stopped exporting a wide range of items to Russia, including products that can be used for military purposes and luxury goods. But the latest plan could expand the trade embargo to used cars, tires, cosmetic items, and clothing, a Japanese government source said.
The May 19-21 summit brings together leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, and the European Union.
#3. U.S. Says No Determination On Russia’s Wagner Being ‘Foreign Terrorist’ Group - Reuters
The U.S. has made no determination if Wagner Group is a “foreign terrorist organization” despite its ongoing actions in Ukraine, White House spokesperson John Kirby said.
He added the paramilitary group was continuing to try to take control of the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine and was continuing to “throw a lot of prisoner bodies at that fight.”
#4. Russia Accidentally Strikes Own City Near Ukraine Border - AFP
Russia said one of its fighter jets lost ammunition over Belgorod near the Ukrainian border after local authorities reported a blast that injured two people and left a huge crater in the city.
Russian jets have regularly flown sorties over Belgorod since the launch of Moscow's offensive in Ukraine.
The Russian defense ministry said a fighter aircraft had lost ammunition over Belgorod.
#5. China's Foreign Minister: Both Sides Of The Taiwan Strait Belong To China - Reuters
China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang made the remarks at the Lanting Forum in Shanghai, where he discussed a wide range of topics from debt to the global economy and Taiwan.
"Recently there has been absurd rhetoric accusing China of upending the status quo, disrupting peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," Qin said. "The logic is absurd and the conclusion dangerous."
"It is not the Chinese mainland, but the Taiwan independence separatist forces and a handful of countries attempting to disrupt the status quo," Qin said. "Those who play with fire on Taiwan will eventually get themselves burned."
#6. Japan Wants 'Constructive, Stable' Ties With China: Japanese PM - AFP
Japan wants "constructive and stable" ties with China and calls on Beijing to behave "responsibly,” the country's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in an interview.
Ties between the countries have soured in recent years, with Japan calling China the nation's "greatest strategic challenge ever” as it announced a major security overhaul, including more defense spending last December.
China and Japan are the world's second and third-largest economies, respectively, and Beijing is Tokyo's largest trading partner.
#7. U.S. Supersonic Bombers Made Appearance In Drill Near India- China Border - WION
The U.S. B-1B supersonic heavy bombers made their maiden appearance at the ongoing Exercise Cope India 2023, a joint drill held by the U.S. and Indian forces not far from the Indo-China border.
The bomber, also known as Rockwell B1 Lancer ‘Bone,’ participated along with other fighter aircraft in the exercise.
This was the first time the Rockwell bombers participated in an exercise in India near the Chinese border.
Observers in China see this as Washington’s effort to push India to take a more aggressive stance toward China.
#8. Tiktok, Google Are Involved In ‘Cognitive War’ On Russia: Chinese Military Study - WION
A study by the scientists at China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said big tech, like TikTok, Google, Twitter, and so on, are involved in propaganda campaigns against Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.
Notably, TikTok, recently under scrutiny, is the only Chinese-owned entity on the list.
The study stated, “Combat in the cognitive domain is a new, advanced form of warfare. It is also the highest level of human (war) games.”
The study, led by Ling Haifeng, a professor at the Army Engineering University of the PLA, listed nearly 40 private entities from the internet, space, finance, and artificial intelligence sectors.
#9. China Unveils Deadly, ‘Non-Lethal’ New Weapon For Crushing Protests - Tibetan Review
China has unveiled a new electromagnetic gun that fires coin-shaped bullets for riot control. The weapon uses electromagnetic force rather than gunpowder and users can vary the speed and force of the bullets.
The product was made public in a military technology program aired on the state broadcaster CCTV. It was stated to have described the device as “non-lethal” but then shown to be able to penetrate the wood and shatter glass bottles.
The gun, known as the CS/LW21 handheld electromagnetic launcher, was stated to have been jointly developed by China North Industries Group Corporation Limited and other technology teams.
#11. Germany: Immigrants Made Up Over 18% Of 2022 Population - D.W.
Roughly 20.2 million people in Germany in 2022 either moved to the country themselves or were born to two people who moved there.
That's a 6.3% rise on the 2021 figure, representing 24.3% of the total population of around 83.2 million.
Increased migration from conflict zones like Ukraine, Syria, and Afghanistan in 2022 meant that the number of people who migrated themselves was rising faster, up 7.3% in the past year, than the number of children born to migrant parents, up 4% on 2021.
#12. North Korea Says Nuclear Status Is 'Final And Irreversible' - UPI
North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui dismissed recent calls for nuclear disarmament by the G7, claiming that the secretive regime's status as a nuclear power is "final and irreversible."
Choe said that the North was "compelled to have access to nukes literally to defend itself from the U.S. threat." Any effort by G7 members to infringe on North Korean sovereignty will be "completely deterred by strong counteraction," she added.
In a joint communique issued earlier this week, top diplomats from the G7 member states condemned North Korea's "unprecedented number of unlawful ballistic missile launches.” They urged the North to comply with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
#13. Sudan’s Top General Says Military Committed To Civilian Rule - A.P.
Sudan’s top general on Friday declared the military’s commitment to a civilian-led government, an apparent bid for international support.
In his first speech since the conflict engulfed Sudan nearly a week ago, army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan pledged the military would prevail and secure the vast African nation’s “safe transition to civilian rule.”
Burhan’s military claimed the sides had agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire. Its rival, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, also promised to stop fighting for the three days of Eid al-Fitr to allow evacuations and safe corridors.
#14. UNICEF Says 67 Million Children Missed Routine Vaccinations Because Of Covid - RFI
The United Nations Children’s Agency has said that 67 million children missed some or all common vaccines globally between 2019 and 2021 because of lockdowns and pandemic disruptions.
The report from UNICEF says that "more than a decade of hard-earned gains in routine childhood immunization have been eroded," adding that getting back on track "will be challenging."
UNICEF says the vaccination of millions was "severely disrupted," while 48 million missed out on routine vaccines. This has led to concerns about potential polio and measles outbreaks.
Africa and South Asia were particularly hard hit.
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