MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd grilled BuzzFeed Editor Ben Smith on Wednesday for his decision to publish a dossier of unverified memos that included explosive claims about President-elect Donald Trump.
The two engaged in a lengthy back-and-forth about whether BuzzFeed's publication of the memos was ethical, with Todd at one point accusing Smith of publishing "fake news."
"I know this was not your intent … but you just published fake news," Todd said on his show "MTP Daily."
Smith rejected the label and doubled down on the defense he offered in a note to his staff on Tuesday.
"I think people love to throw the term 'fake news' around to diminish anything they don't like," Smith said.
"This was a real story about a real document that was really being passed around between the very top officials of this country, and then the question you say is, OK — it's OK for you, Chuck Todd, to see this document, it's OK for me to see it, OK for John McCain, OK for the CIA, why is not OK for your audience?" he added.