The Mirror

The Mirror Questionnaire With BuzzFeed’s Benny Johnson

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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BuzzFeed‘s Benny Johnson is a busy, busy man. So much so that it’s taken him forever (translation: somewhere between longer than a few hours and just shy of a few months) to actually complete this interview. He blew his deadline at least twice, but I’m not even holding his tardiness against him. Sometimes art takes time. And here at The Mirror, we embrace that. Relatively recent stories that Johnson has written for the site: 1. “Insane Russian Sports That Should Be In The Olympics” 2. “Photographic Proof That Sochi Is A Godforsaken Hellscape Right Now” and 3.  “The Most Romantic Story In Congress” (a Valentine’s Day story concerning the heart-wrenching relationship between Rep. Sam Johnson and his wife, Shirley.) Before BuzzFeed, Johnson worked at TheBlaze. Another claim to fame: He made Salon‘s Hack List in 2013. He considers “viral politics” his specialty. Asked if he thinks he’ll work at BuzzFeed for the rest of his life, Johnson replied, “I will keep working for BF until the cats on the Internet run out.” Just a quick note to the Family Research Council, if you see this guy coming, you may not want to let him inside the building.

Let’s find out more.

The Mirror Questionnaire

Bona Fides

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Age: 27

Named for: My Grandfather

First job ever: Working a hog farm (This is the #1 thing that prepared me for political reporting)

Current employment:  Viral Politics Editor at BuzzFeed


If someone wants to get on your good side, what candy or liquor should they ply you with? All the booze.

Most exotic place you’ve ever visited: Clarendon.  It was so suburban, it was terrifying.  I never knew people could live in such conditions so close to our nation’s capital.  A real tragedy.

Why do you think Washington is so polarized? And please consider your answer in terms of boring us. Because there is so little YOLO here. Members should lighten up and rage together more often.  There should be a lot more “Remember when we _____!  That was effing insane man!” conversations.

Who is your celebrity crush? Howard Coble

A thought that makes you want to cry: People taking pictures with iPads.

Weirdest habit you’ve observed in a newsroom (workplace) setting? I once had an older colleague who was hoarding VHS tapes and old newspapers clippings all over his office.  I think every newsroom has a person like this. It looked like the Unabomber’s cabin.

If you had to kiss a politician who would it be? Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, then I’d steal and publish her Obama/ Cameron selfie.

 What’s next for you? What would you do with your life if absolutely nothing could stop you? Occupy the Crimea

Pick one: House of Cards, Homeland or Veep: HOC, since I really relate to Zoe Barnes and think our careers will turn out the same.

Pick one: CNN’s New Day, Morning Joe, GMA or the TODAY Show: Morning Joe as long as I have a bottle of Baileys within reach.

If you had to have a U.S. senator or congressman as your father who would it be? Trey Radel (R-Fla.). Runner up: Blake Farenthold (R-Texas).


Since this is The Mirror Questionnaire, what would you change about yourself physically if you could? I’d be much, much shorter.

And your personality? I’d get offended much more easily, like when people compare Putin to Heidi Montag.

Preferred beach: Toss up: Cabo Rojo in Puerto Rico or South banks of The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland

Guilty pleasure TV show: Trailer Park Boys

On a scale of 1 to 10, how self-obsessed are you?  (10 being you can’t tear yourself away from your own daily Google search and 1 meaning you often spend time in the country away from your computer and don’t give a crap about your Klout score.) 1 … wait, how does this answer make me look? Do I look good? Will people unfollow me on Twitter now? Better change it to 2. *hyperventilates*

Workout regimen: Running, until people start taking their children off the sidewalk because I look like a monster.

Pick one – flabby thighs, cankles or love handles? Love cankles

Choose: Beautiful eyes, best personality or perfect legs? John Stanton has them all.

A thought that brings you great joy: President Biden negotiating with House Speaker Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

A regret (of any kind): The selfies I didn’t take.

Any brushes with death? If so, please describe. I jumped out of an airplane with Special Forces last week. That ranks up there. I already mentioned how I went to Clarendon once and almost died of being too white.

Just a preference Q: Bo or Sunny? Bo, no one likes Sunny.

Most annoying thing your editor (boss) does: Locks me in a basement for weeks at a time.

Rank how hairy your butt is: 1 to 10? 10, it is really the only place on my body with hair.

Go for a stroll in the park with one of the following and explain the reason for your choice. 1. Andrew Sullivan, of The Daily Dish. 2. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart. 3.  The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald. Capehart.  So we could swap glasses and see if anyone notices. I would also demand that he wore these shorts.


When was the last time you were, if ever, naked outside? This morning, south lawn of the Capitol. Have no idea how I got there.

From The Sunday Times’ Toby Harnden: If you could tell one person to their face that they’re full of shit, with no consequences, who would it be?  I tell myself that every day already.

From Al Jazeera’s David Shuster: If you had to watch or read a news report in a language you didn’t understand, what language would it be and why? Sign language so I could finally understand the interpreter at Mandela’s funeral.

From lefty radio host Bill Press: Where’s the one place in Washington you’d love to have sex, but can’t? Family Research Council.

From former Rep. Weiner’s ex-phone sex partner Sydney Elaine Leathers: Who is the worst journalist on your favorite news channel? The anchor who resigned on-air at RT.

From Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay: Which universally acclaimed piece of literature, art, film, or music can you simply not stand? Shia LaBeouf

Please provide a question for the next lucky victim of The Mirror Questionnaire. Make it good. Describe, in detail, the last member of Congress with whom you had an affair.