- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Roughly 60 Democratic donors are expected to rub shoulders with President Obama Wednesday night at the Manhattan home of BuzzFeed chairman Kenneth Lerer, CNN reported Tuesday, citing the Democratic National Committee.

But in a recent email to the news website, Mr. Lerer insisted that his “political activities are personal and have nothing to do with any of my business responsibilities at BuzzFeed.”

CNN noted that Mr. Lerer’s soiree comes on the heels of BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti terminating an advertising deal with the Republican National Committee.

“The business decision to cancel ‘Trump for President’ ads was made by Jonah Peretti, our CEO. He is not participating in any fundraisers for political organizations or candidates,” a BuzzFeed spokeswoman told CNN.

The news aggregator cast its “no Trump” advertising policy as a human resources matter.

It’s very hard to attract a diverse, talented workforce in the knowledge economy while running advertisements advocating for a Trump presidency,” BuzzFeed said.

Advertising experts say BuzzFeed’s decision to eschew a major party’s general-election advertising appears to be unprecedented. 

“I don’t recall any recent political party or campaign being denied media ad buys, especially from one representing a major U.S. party,” Editor & Publisher magazine’s Jeff Fleming told The Washington Post Tuesday.

And at least one rival website seems bemused by the decision.

“I can’t imagine turning down that kind of money for any reason,” an advertising salesman for the conservative Daily Caller website told The Post. “I’d literally name my first-born ‘BernieClinton’ for $1.3 million.”

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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