The Mirror

House Majority Leader’s office gives BuzzFeed reporter a gold star

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Is BuzzFeed reporter Benny Johnson the new teacher’s pet of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor‘s (R-Va.) press shop?

The listicle-loving scribe got a gigantic shout-out today in an email to reporters from spokesman Rory Cooper. We’re talking a big fat mention in the subject line, the main body of the release and a sweet #FF. What’s next: Is Cantor going to give him a sloppy, wet kiss?

Alright, to be fair, reporters’ stories often get dragged into partisan warfare. A sometimes uncomfortable This Town practice, indeed. As Cooper explained, “As usual, Benny Johnson’s formidable reporting skills perfectly captured the story of a fry cook who was losing his hours as a result of Obamacare and was getting a less than satisfactory response from President Obama. We routinely share stories, or in this case tweets, that help illustrate the damage being done by Obamacare.” BuzzFeed‘s Ashley McCollum told The Mirror, “Pretty sure people do this all the time with lots of different folks & tweets. I’m not a political comms person, so hard for me to weigh in on such a strategy.”

Congratulations Benny! Hope your Washington Press Corps colleagues don’t stuff you into a locker.

In addition to the above spokespeople, The Mirror sought comment from BuzzFeed Benny.

From: “Cooper, Rory”

Subject: Did you see this Benny Johnson tweet?

Date: February 4, 2014 12:27:08 PM EST

BuzzFeed Benny: “Fry cook asks Obama about getting cut back to part time b/c of Obamacare, Obama tells him Congress needs to pass a minimum wage increase”

This exchange took place during a “Google Hangout” on Friday. The fry cook is Darnell Summers, a union advocate for raising the minimum wage. He noted to President Obama that his hours had been reduced to part-time as a result of Obamacare. Great point Mr. Summers:

· Federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour) X 40 hours = $290.00/week

· President Obama’s proposed minimum wage ($10.10/hour) X 29 hours (as a result of Obamacare) = $292.90/week

Interesting. But let’s dig some more:

· Because of Obamacare’s regulations, an hourly worker’s hours can be reduced by as much as 25% to get below the 30 hour threshold.

· In 2013, President Obama proposed a $9/hour minimum wage ($261/week @ 29 hours). Coincidentally this year, he upped his proposal to an amount that just replaces the money robbed from hourly worker’s paychecks by Obamacare.

· Yet, 21 states already have a minimum wage higher than $7.25. An hourly worker in Washington may be celebrating the Seahawks win, but he isn’t celebrating Obamacaregutting his pay by $102.52/week.

From me: “Obamacare is reducing the hours and gutting the take-home pay of working middle class employees, and the President is trying to hide that fact by spinning a minimum wage debate. If the President truly cares for hourly employees in this country, he’ll put the brakes on this law that is costing them hours and hard-earned pay.”

And #FF @bennyjohnson, obviously.



UPDATE: BuzzFeed Benny returned an email. He didn’t answer my questions, but he did have this message for Leader Cantor: “Thanks for the Follow Friday,” he wrote by email.