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18 Things That Buzzfeed Got Really Wrong In A Gallery of Disney Photos

If you want an article about things that Rihanna did at the Grammy Awards or a list of jokes that only “pretty” people will appreciate, then Buzzfeed can deliver with reasonable consistency. But if you want decently accurate coverage of animation history—even the most basic and mundane Disney history—you’d be better off looking elsewhere.

A recent piece called 23 Magical Pictures From The Golden Years Of Disney, compiled by BuzzFeed News photo essay editor Gabriel H. Sanchez, contains a gross amount of errors and displays a total absence of editorial standards.

It’s easy to write off Buzzfeed, and say, ‘Who cares?,’ but the company has remarkably broad reach—as of November 2016, 72 million unique monthly visitors, making it the 35th most-visited destination online. Its sheer size and influence means that much of what they publish will eventually filter its way to the top pages of Google’s search listings, a guarantee that its misinformation will spread to other places.

The piece in question used images from stock photo agency Getty. (Buzzfeed is not clear if Getty paid for the piece as a piece of sponsored content, but that’s beside the point.) Most of the egregious errors come from the author’s careless rewrites or misinterpretation of caption info that was correctly presented on the Getty web site. In at least two cases, however, the errors stem from inaccurate Getty captions, but both errors would have been caught by anyone who had properly researched their topic.

Traditional media publications use a system of writers, researchers, editors, and fact-checkers to ensure accuracy. This piece makes it evident that there is no such system in place at Buzzfeed News, and it should make anyone extremely wary of informational or historical content published on the site, whether related to Disney or anything else.

Here’s a list of some of the errors I’ve caught. I’ve also pointed out some identifications when possible, but I didn’t count those among the 18 errors.

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(Note: Toy Time came out in early 1931, so recording session may have taken place in 1930.)

Buzzfeed Errors Buzzfeed Errors

(UPDATE: As pointed out by reader ‘John A,’ Buzzfeed also mislabeled Cliff Edwards as the voice of Timothy Mouse. He was actually the voice of the lead crow.)

Buzzfeed Errors
  • hernandez2014

    A Facebook page called Weird History also posted the picture of the recording session of Toy Time and did the exact same thing.

  • Rob

    As a working animator, I’m quite used to the casual public’s lack of knowledge about what I do *specifically* on a film. I’ve gotten credit for everything from designing sets, creating characters, responsible for story elements, special effects, and my favorite – “Did you draw everything?” (I work in computer animation)

    Most everyone grew up with cartoons, and yet no one understands remotely how they’re made unless they work in the industry in some capacity. Thus, everyone is labeled “animator.” I didn’t expect any better of Buzzfeed.

    That said, I legit laughed out loud at Ward Kimball being called “unidentified animator.”

    • Not all of us upgrowers w/cartoons, Bruh, not all of us.
      I’m nearly 5 decades old, not in the industry, and yet I grok how they’re made. How, you ask?
      I’m a DIY Cartoonist; I grew up reading, and thinking about, comics; when I viewed animated worx as a Kid, I first learned to “geek out” on the nymisms of the folx causing these things to be made. I was aware of the 1979/1982 industry strikes. In the early 1980s, I wanted to know more about the industry; so I started outseeking info. Hell, my first exposure to the ind. came in the 1978 Summer, via a TV Guide® article detailing the TV scene of that time.

      P.S.: Starting somewhen in 1985, I decided I wanted to animate, especially at Filmation, a house I was a nut fan of. But my Mother (1929-2004) nuked that dream; she wanted to be the mother of a businessman. Never became that, either; businessmanship requires a grokking of higher math; that shit always got my ass knoct out cold on the floor.

      P.S. 2: In my adolescence, I was aware of/concerned/angry about outsourcing. I couldn’t have been the only 1980s teen to be so.

  • Effie

    As someone who previously worked for BuzzFeed – can confirm, unless the article is pertaining to a breaking news story or a real article, most editors and whatnot rarely check if it’s actually factual prior to publishing. In a post like this, where it’s mostly a picture piece or a listicle, they mostly care about whether or not the content in each post is specific to it’s given niche (this one being animation history), shareable, and clickable. Sadly, I am not surprised.

  • They almost got Nelson Eddy’s name right (just do a simple flip).

    How the author concluded that Willie the Whale was around in 1940 is a mystery (how he also assumed Mary Blair was an animator is also very puzzling). But hey, a lot of people have been fooled by Van Beuren’s mice for decades.

    Surprisingly, is a little more researched when it comes to this..

    • Stephen Bounds

      For a website that built its name as being “humour” with very little pretence to grandeur, Cracked actually publishes many well-researched and genuinely thought-provoking articles these days.

      For example: the front page currently has a story on the experience of returning to society from prison. It’s an intriguing evolution.

      • Dylan Nightingale

        And to think they used to be a MAD-type comic magazine. I have their sci-fi/Star Wars special issue from the ’80s in near-mint condition!

  • John A

    One correction I’m surprised you missed: Cliff Edwards, best known for the voice of Jimminy Cricket, is shown here recording the voice of the lead crow in Dumbo, not Timothy Mouse. (Timothy Mouse was voiced by character actor Edward Brophy.)

  • PeterTx52

    put the blame on the Getty not Buzzfeed.
    write to the Getty and provide them with the correction information. I suspect they would change it.
    as for the use of animator to describe the various individuals when in fact they are say Production designers the vast majority of readers couldn’t care less. the term is a general descriptor

    • E4439qv5

      Interesting. Would you say the same about the blanket term “politician”?

    • Tony

      According to the article, only a couple of errors were from the Getty captions. Most came from Buzzfeed, who misinterpreted the Getty captions..

  • Wooooow, Buzzfeed got a lot of stuff wrong.

  • Teddy K.

    WHAT? BuzzFeed got something wrong? They have a casual, nay, lackadaisical attitude towards facts? They interested only in clicks and traffic? I’m shocked — SHOCKED — I tell you!

  • Pennyjpie

    They honestly just use “animator” as a synonym for everything. It’s not hard to use the actual position name, most of them barely need any context clues to know what the position does.

  • Honest_Miss

    Just send them these revisions. They’ve been open to corrections in the past.

    • AmidAmidi

      Buzzfeed is not a crowdsourced project like Wikipedia where individuals work together to create the perfect piece. It is a hierarchical media organization that has an editorial structure where people are paid to create content. It is unheard of to submit a dozen-and-a-half corrections for a single piece to any media organization. This is clearly an institutional failure, and something is seriously wrong when a media company is publishing error-laden material like this.

      • ike

        I think it is even more wrong to think someone’s lack of professionalism is to be taken as seriously as to make an article about how inaccurate they are. Just my opinion…

        • E4439qv5

          …Hold on, I need to parse this out.

          “I think it is even more wrong (worse) to think that someone’s lack of professionalism (i.e., less-than-factual publication and attitude expressed by posting it anyway) is to should be taken as (this) seriously (―) as (that someone else would) to make an article about how inaccurate they are. *Just my opinion…

          (I’ll have to remember that putting an open-ended simile in a subjunctive clause is a brilliant obfuscation technique.)

          You think it’s worse that someone’s lack of professionalism (i.e., less-than-factual publication and attitude expressed by posting it anyway) should be taken to task in this way―that someone else would publish a work of comparable length about how inaccurate they are. *You also (correctly) don’t expect this to be the majority opinion.

          My response:
          BuzzFeed is a massively popular organization. OP did a perfectly adequate job explaining how broad a reach it has. So it’s not wrong to hold it and its authors to the same standards of journalistic integrity as their competitors. To do any less would devalue the truth.

      • Honest_Miss

        I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. I follow Buzzfeed and they post updates often, citing that they were sent new or corrected information. Did you try before throwing in the towel?

  • Pedro Nakama

    Buzzfeed is weird. Ever look at one of their ads for jobs? It says in the description of requirements “No Haters.”
    And then you get rejected for the job.

  • Hans Perk

    Amazing… Yes, that’s Ed (Erdman) Penner. And in front of Jack Boyd, Dan MacManus. Holding a background with Walt and Eyvind Earle is layout man Mac (MacLaren) Stewart.

  • paulnaas

    Just today, I had a real estate agent tell me that the founder of her company met with Walt in the mid-70’s. The conversation would have been very one-sided…

    • Dylan Nightingale

      I can hear it now “I was so devastated to find out Walt Disney died in 1992!”

  • Gagaman

    The Van Beuren picture is particularly hilarious, how could anyone mistake that for Mickey Mouse? haha

  • Christopher Merritt

    This one is Bruce Bushman with Walt (and a bunch of his concept art up on the wall behind them) :

  • Gavin Mouldey

    There’s also this one on Getty. Looks a lot like Mary Blair but is labelled as Lillian Disney. I told them years ago but it probably never reached a real human. Unless I’m wrong and Lillian was Blairing her style up a bit.

  • Strong Enough

    Amid youre wasting your talents

  • Kate Quinn

    Ward Kimball unidentifiable ?

  • Dylan Nightingale

    What Buzzfeed did is neigh unforgivable… I cringed so hard at the VERY EASY things they got wrong…. also Van Beuren has a completely different art-style than Disney, how could they have screwed that up? I wrote more accurate things about Disney in 5th Grade school assignments.