We did the norm: Cite the tweets, ask both sides for comment, provide clarification and publish.
Hastings sent us a comment after his boss Ben Smith did. We included both in the post.
After the story ran, we received an email from Hastings that said the following:
“[I]t’s generally an unsound journalistic practice to rely on the advice of public relations people to determine who is/isn’t a good journalist. Especially a guy like Grenell, who was one of the worst liars of them all during his time at the UN. If you actually look at my coverage of Obama’s foreign policy, it’s been as critical–or more critical–than most other journalists covering the same topic.”
What “advice” was Hastings referring to? He wouldn’t say, so we have to presume he was referring to a quote in the post from Grenell in which he said he admires BuzzFeed‘s Andrew Kaczynski and ABC’s White House Correspondent Jake Tapper as “aggressive reporters,” while calling Hastings “an Obama sympathizer.”
We asked both Grenell and Smith about the left-leaning accusations that have been made by predominately right-leaning outlets against BuzzFeed. We didn’t ask Grenell to determine good journalism, as Hastings assumed and told him to take up his grievance with Grenell.
His response: “No I don’t really care about that, but thanks for the press–keep up the good work etc. and if you ever get to a point in your career when you want to actual journalism, feel free to drop me a line.”