Must be somewhat awkward being quoted like an expert in a story that also cracks on your website. This is what happened to BuzzFeed‘s Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith over the weekend. It came at the hands of crafty New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who made fun of the site like it was dirt under America’s shoe (or a Corgi’s butt, whatever the case may be). Then several graphs later, look, there’s Smith, someone whose opinion clearly seems to matter to her.
Which is it? Has Smith done America a great disservice on the weekend of the fourth of July? Or is he someone to be revered? At least in this column, it’s a tough call.
Dowd writes, “Are we winners who have been through a rough patch? Or losers who have soured our sturdy and spiritual DNA with too much food, too much greed, too much narcissism, too many lies, too many spies, too many fatcat houses, too many cat videos on the evening news, too many BuzzFeed listicles like “33 Photos of Corgi Butts,” and too much mindless and malevolent online chatter?”
Twelve graphs later — a roomy amount of breathing space but still — she quotes Smith as if she didn’t just profoundly insult his life’s work.
Dowd says young people aren’t interesting in America being better than other countries.
And then Smith backs up her premise.
“The 23-year-olds I work with are a little over the conversation about how we were the superpower brought low,” he said. “They think that’s an ‘older person conversation.’ … Technology isn’t a section in the newspaper anymore. It’s the culture.”
The Mirror sought comment from Smith on whether he was taken aback by the column.
UPDATE: Smith replied, “I didn’t take it that way, and enjoyed the column.”