Andrew Sullivan & Ben Smith , The Dishcast with Andrew Sullivan

Ben Smith On The Gadflies Of New Media

02 Jun 2023 • 45 min • EN
45 min
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This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit Ben is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Semafor, a global news company. He was an old-school blogger at Politico and others, the first editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, and the media columnist for the NYT. His new book is Traffic: Genius, Rivalry, and Delusion in the Billion-Dollar Race to Go Viral. I wrote what he called a “savage and delightful” review of his book, but we remain friends and went at it cordially. For two clips of our convo — on the addictive power of blogging, and Ben’s tough call over publishing the Steele dossier — pop over to our YouTube page. Other topics: his early career on the cop beat and in Eastern Europe; getting hooked on blogs after 9/11; his kid throwing his Blackberry in the toilet; the launch of the Daily Dish and its “mass intimacy”; the MSM (and me) “massively screwing up” the Iraq invasion; Ben covering marriage equality due to the Dish; the blog functioning as “Twitter before Twitter”; the Green Revolution in Iran; the Palin debacle and Trig; the torture program; why the Dish left the Daily Beast; the emotional turmoil of ending the blog; the “under-news” of Gawker; its indifference to to gay men’s privacy; the role of Jezebel; the redemption of Nick Denton and “20 percent nicer”; Gawker killed by Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel; Buzzfeed and sponsored content; the Shitty Media Men list; Americans’ contempt for the MSM; Steve Bannon; how social media is perfect for right-wing populists and woke mobs; Substack reviving the spirit of blogging; the fall of Buzzfeed News and Vice; Semafor’s embrace of dissent; and Ben’s thoughts on my “savage and delightful review” of his book. Browse the Dishcast archive for another conversation you might enjoy (the first 102 episodes are free in their entirety — subscribe to get everything else). Coming up: Tabia Lee on her firing as a DEI director, Patrick Deneen on a post-liberal future, and David Grann on an 18th-century mutiny that’s a “parable for our own turbulent time.” Please send your guest recs and pod dissent to

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