GotNews.com’s editor in chief Charles C. Johnson is offering a $100 reward per instance for anyone who can find other BuzzFeed news reporters plagiarizing at any point during their professional or academic careers.
“It’s become increasingly clear that BuzzFeed’s business model is built on theft of content,” says Johnson. “From stealing intellectual property of photographers, artists, and moviemakers, to this latest instance, I think it’s important to know the extent of the theft, especially as BuzzFeed plans to be acquired in the near future.”
Johnson says that BuzzFeed is easily one of the worst sites on the internet. “Steve Jobs famously got one of his employees to speed up the boot up time of his product but every day BuzzFeed steals time from each one of us. Add up that time and they’re clearly a net negative on all of us.”
Johnson is inviting other people to donate to the Gotnews.com research fund if they are interested in participating in funding the reward but says he’ll pay it out of his own pocket if necessary.
“What struck me as far more interesting than all the tut tutting of the chattering classes regarding BuzzFeed is that two Twitter users, @crushingbort & @blippoblappo were the ones that found that Benny Johnson had been plagiarizing,” Johnson noted. “I have great faith in the researchers out there discovering other instances by BuzzFeed’s news staff.”
Johnson founded Gotnews.com to provide a voice for the kind of anti-establishment researchers that are invading social media sites like Twitter and to provide them some sort of financial arrangement to “do justice.”
The reward can be collected anonymously or publicly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. “If you do a really good job,” Johnson says, “I’ll hire as a researcher.”
BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith fired Benny Johnson early Saturday morning for plagiarizing at least forty times on the viral politics site. BuzzFeed issued a swift apology to its readers, but this is not the first time the site has been caught stealing work from others.
“It’s not fair to Benny Johnson that they fired him,” says Johnson. “Suddenly BuzzFeed has standards. How convenient for them.”
Johnson, a long-time critic of BuzzFeed, calls the site an “intellectual black hole,” but was particularly annoyed by them last year after they published a “hit piece” against him.
“BuzzFeed wrote a factually inaccurate piece against me relying on opposition research from Cory Booker’s team,” says Johnson, who provided a link. “Yep, this is payback.”
Shannon Knutsen (@STKnutsen) is a researcher affiliated with Gotnews.com.
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