If BuzzFeed is trying to get in the good graces of the journalism industry, they might have thought longer and harder about hooking up for an event with liberal New York Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s entertainment office.
It’s not as if they’re joining forces to cure diseases.
They’re coming together to teach New Yorkers what they should be reading (and buying for that matter).
BuzzFeed recently muddied its reputation when the site published a 35-page dossier of alleged compromising info they had on President Donald Trump from the Russians. It involved prostitutes and urine. And they knew it was likely untrue. In fact, much of the piece involved saying how it was probably not true. Even so, Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith went out on a limb and boldly defended his choice as readers having a right to know what was out there.
And by boldly, I mean, he dumped the blame on CNN for reporting on an intelligence briefing in which then-President Obama and President-elect Trump were told that the Russians had “comprising” goods on Trump.
“You trust us to give you the full story,” Smith wrote in an op-ed in the NYT. “We trust you to reckon with a messy, sometimes uncertain reality.”
Translation: We can publish bullshit. We trust that you, dear reader who reads our listicles on defecating, know it’s bullshit. [RELATED: Do You Poop Like Everyone Else?]
And now this: An initiative out of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is launching “One Book, One New York.” In conjunction with BuzzFeed, they claim it’ll be the “the largest community reading program in the country and the first ever in New York.” (Somehow I think there are already book clubs and community reading programs in Manhattan.)
On Wednesday night, BuzzFeed will host a party with the Mayor’s office.
And, of course, everyone is just thrilled.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate our enduring literary capital with the One Book, One New York program,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin.
BuzzFeed will help produce celebrity testimonials on their book choices that will be “disseminated widely” during the voting process.
There are five finalists in the book selection process:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Between the World and Me by liberal Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, who counts Obama among his fans.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
The Sellout by Paul Beatty
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Readers will have the month of February to vote for the book of their choice.
BuzzFeed is as thrilled as the Mayor’s office.
“When the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment told us that they were planning on launching the One Book One New York program, we at BuzzFeed were excited to partner with them to make this dream a reality,” said Isaac Fitzgerald, BuzzFeed’s books editor.
Fitzerald couldn’t have sucked up to the Mayor’s office more. And, yes, he, too, is thrilled.
“One Book One New York has been an incredible team effort and throughout it all partnering with Commissioner Julie Menin and her team has been an absolute delight,” he said. “Along with the publishers, bookstores, and libraries of New York, we are proud and thrilled to support reading here in this great city.”
Blurred lines between government and the media. Who ever thought that was possible? (Ahem, Ex-Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon, now a key adviser to Trump, wouldn’t know anything about that.)
Are we still pretending this is journalism?