BuzzFeed called out on ‘Ryan walks out on interview’ headline

Pressure from Commentary magazine’s John Podhoretz and others forced the correction of a BuzzFeed headline which claimed a “testy” vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan had “walked out” of an interview with a local reporter — but only after the Obama campaign had jumped at the chance to spin the story their own way, “amplifying” a few details along the way.

.@PaulRyanVP walks out of interview when pressed on Romney tax cuts, spox launches verbal assault on reporter http://t.co/KM9Rlt75

— Danny Kanner (@DannyKanner) October 8, 2012

#BOLD: VP nominee scolds local reporter for asking about taxes, storms out, & it's interviewer who embarrassed himself http://t.co/KM9Rlt75

— Danny Kanner (@DannyKanner) October 8, 2012

And Ryan whines abt tax question, runs away RT@davidshepardson Michigan TV reporter spars with @PaulRyanVP http://t.co/KM9Rlt75

— Danny Kanner (@DannyKanner) October 8, 2012

Hope @PaulRyanVP's event in MI isn't a town hall – wouldn't want a voter to have the gall to ask about taxes and get head bitten off #wonk

— Danny Kanner (@DannyKanner) October 8, 2012

Romney camp: Screen Questions (check) storm off when don't like qs (check). Shot: http://t.co/oGdxaePo Chaser: http://t.co/UgDeogBy

— Michael Czin (@MikeCzin) October 8, 2012

Note to local reporters: do NOT mention @PaulRyanVP's support for tax cuts for millionaires & billionaires http://t.co/O7SVY9fx

— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) October 8, 2012

Do we really want someone a heart beat away from the presidency who can't handle a press question and storms off? Nice choice, Mr. Romney,

— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) October 8, 2012

Paul Ryan really isn't ready for prime time, is he?

— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) October 8, 2012

Thought a member of Congress like Congressman Ryan would have thicker skin than to put his tail between his legs and run at a tough question

— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) October 8, 2012

Wow, Ryan walks out, storms out, and runs away all at the same time? Too bad no one caught this unhinged outburst on video. Oh wait, they did … and it doesn’t really look like what the fact checkers in the Obama camp describe at all. Weird, huh?

I mean, it's just WEIRD, how Obama operatives might use a BuzzFeed headline! https://t.co/Brf0lq78 & https://t.co/bfV5urf0 @buzzfeedandrew

— Cuffé (@CuffyMeh) October 8, 2012

More like "staffer gets testy," but yeah. MT @BuzzFeedAndrew Paul Ryan gets angry and walks out of interview: http://t.co/dk6PoyrB

— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) October 8, 2012

@dandrezner @BuzzFeedAndrew That's an unjust and inaccurate headline — he didn't stop interview, complained afterward.

— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) October 8, 2012

@jpodhoretz @BuzzFeedAndrew agreed — it was Ryan's staffer and not Ryan who ended the interview.

— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) October 8, 2012

Ryan’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, told BuzzFeed that the reporter had already gone over his allotted time “when he decided to ask a weird question relating gun violence to tax cuts. Ryan responded as anyone would in such a strange situation. When you do nearly 200 interviews in a couple months, eventually you’re going to see a local reporter embarrass himself.”

Romney campaign says on incident that they saw "a local reporter embarrass himself.” http://t.co/pgESHqqo

— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) October 8, 2012

@BuzzFeedAndrew you mean they accurately described what happened, unlike your headline?

— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) October 8, 2012

After a lengthy Twitter exchange and some insults (and apologies), BuzzFeed changed the headline from “walks out” to “ends.” That’s closer, at least, but no cigar.

@freddoso Changed to "ends."

— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) October 8, 2012

Actually, @buzzfeedben and @buzzfeedandrew, the original headline was not a minor thing. That's how false memes start.

— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) October 8, 2012

@jpodhoretz @buzzfeedandrew He got angry, ended interview, and walked away….

— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) October 8, 2012

@BuzzFeedBen @BuzzFeedAndrew he did not end the interview. listen. someone says "that's it" off camera.

— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) October 8, 2012

Ryan walked nowhere. He drank water. RT @BuzzFeedBen: @jpodhoretz @buzzfeedandrew He got angry, ended interview, and walked away….

— Cuffé (@CuffyMeh) October 8, 2012

@CuffyMeh @BuzzFeedBen @jpodhoretz @buzzfeedandrew How does removing the mic, sipping water & asking questions constitute "walking away?"

— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) October 8, 2012

@jaycaruso @buzzfeedandrew @buzzfeedben @cuffymeh @jpodhoretz Because it makes a better headline for Reddit & Tumblr users to pass on.

— di butler (@dibutler) October 8, 2012

Come on, @buzzfeedben and @buzzfeedandrew. Headline is still inaccurate. I apologized for my poor behavior. Now do the right thing.

— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) October 8, 2012

@jpodhoretz @BuzzFeedAndrew Ryan says “thank you” and removes mic, mid-q. Can’t we to back to fighting over interesting stuff?

— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) October 8, 2012

Whether or not a headline change is “interesting stuff” is up for debate, but Podhoretz’ point about false memes getting started is dead on. The president’s team wasted no time making sure the original headline was spread far and wide.

1. Write false headline. 2. Tweet false headline 3. False headline gets RT'd, reddited, etc. 4. Fix headline when caught 5. Tweets remain.

— Cuffé (@CuffyMeh) October 8, 2012

@jpodhoretz @BuzzFeedBen @BuzzFeedAndrew next headline at Buzzfeed: Right Wing Blogosphere in Panic Over Ryan Walkout

— Todd Young (@phillyguy_nati) October 8, 2012

So it works something like this?

Paul Ryan just told a reporter to "go to hell".

— LOL BuzzFeed (@LOLBuzzFeed) October 8, 2012

Update: this never actually happened. RT @LOLBuzzFeed: Paul Ryan just told a reporter to "go to hell".

— LOL BuzzFeed (@LOLBuzzFeed) October 8, 2012

For now, the BuzzFeed headline has settled on “Paul Ryan Gets Testy And Ends Interview.” No rush from Team Obama to correct the record, though. Weird, huh?

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/10/08/buzzfeed-called-out-on-false-ryan-walks-out-on-interview-headline-obama-campaign-spins/