Accuracy in Media

Protests in the United States are a First Amendment right, but that did not stop BuzzFeed News from criticizing recent stay-at-home protests in several states. The website criticized the link between the GOP and the protesting groups when it did not criticize Democrat-backed protests such as the Women’s March.

BuzzFeed News’s headlined its own hypocrisy, “This Is How A Group Linked To Betsy DeVos Is Organizing Protests To End Social Distancing, Now With Trump’s Support.” The article linked several protest groups, such as the Michigan Conservative Coalition and Michigan Freedom Fund, to an advisor close to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Greg McNeilly, an alleged political adviser to the DeVos family, founded the Michigan Freedom Fund and “provided financial support” to the organization. Michigan Conservative Coalition spokesperson Jay Seely said that the DeVos family is not involved in the protests and the Michigan Freedom Fund operates independently from the DeVos family.

Those statements did not sway BuzzFeed News, which quoted Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s criticism of the protests. “I think it’s really inappropriate for a sitting member of the United States president’s cabinet to be waging political attacks on any governor,” Whitmer said.

BuzzFeed News treated the Michigan protesters differently than the Women’s March, a progressive organization that is critical of President Donald Trump. In at least one of its articles about the Women’s March, the website did not criticize its ties to Democratic Party operations, such as the Democratic National Committee. The DNC partnered with the Women’s March in the past, though it was never a sponsor, but BuzzFeed News never criticized the Women’s March’s partisanship. Other DNC-affiliated organizations participated in the Women’s March, such as EMILY’s List and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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