BuzzFeed News, the notorious clickbait-driven leftist blog, is closing up shop after 10 years as its parent company struggles to remain profitable.
CEO and co-founder of BuzzFeed Jonah Peretti informed the company that 15 percent of its payroll, about 180 people, would be getting pink slips. Peretti said he had "overinvested" in BuzzFeed News as an act of charity, but the project was not sustainable any longer.
“I’ve learned from these mistakes, and the team moving forward has learned from them as well,” Peretti wrote.
BuzzFeed will shift its resources to HuffPost, which BuzzFeed owns, Peretti said, adding the website is profitable and "less dependent on social platforms" like Facebook for revenue.
“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,” Peretti wrote.
BuzzFeed News launched on the eve of the 2012 presidential election under the aegis of Ben Smith, who had been the editor of the left-wing political blog Politico. At the time, BuzzFeed was in its heyday and was looking to break out into "serious journalism."
But it was often hard to tell the difference between BuzzFeed News and its frivolous parent site: BuzzFeed News' worshipful coverage of Barack Obama was once described as "creepy" and "sycophantic" by the left-wing group Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting.
To their credit, BuzzFeed News had more candor than many others in the left-leaning media, declaring, "we firmly believe that for several issues, including civil rights, women's rights, anti-racism, and LGBT equality, there are not two sides."
Over the years, BuzzFeed News' hard-hitting journalism included pieces like a 2021 clarion call to "Deplatform White Parents."
Buzzfeed wants to "deplatform white parents" from any decisions about their children's education. They want to use taxpayer money to push gender ideology and critical race theory—with no obstruction. pic.twitter.com/cptWvDkOVu
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) December 23, 2021
Smith, who is now editor of Semafor, shared his reaction to BuzzFeed News' demise.
“I’m heartsick about it, and proud of the great journalism we did when I was there and after I left," he said.
BuzzFeed News was also eulogized in the mainstream media, where it was widely described as a scrappy, "pioneering" force in digital media that fell victim to broad contractions in the industry.
On the other hand, BuzzFeed rival Breitbart published an irreverent epitaph from John Nolte, who writes: "The reason BuzzFeed News is closing is because BuzzFeed News sucks."
BuzzFeed News had its biggest "scoop" in January 2017 when it published the discredited Trump-Russia dossier in full.
At the time, then-president-elect Donald Trump -- with characteristic prescience -- called BuzzFeed a "failing pile of garbage."