The Mirror

The Mirror Questionnaire With RedState’s Ben Howe

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Today we delve into the psyche of Ben Howe, a contributor to RedState, a filmmaker and a soon-to-be Washingtonian. Howe runs the aptly-named Mr. Smith Media, his production company, of which he gave himself the title of Founder & Creative Director. The company makes videos for politicians, corporations, non-profits & think tanks. They also make films.  Bankrupt is available online, and he’s working on a followup to that and a film about North Korea.

Howe is also a contributing editor at RedState. “Which is a fancy way of saying that I write for the front page,” he explained to The Mirror. “I’ve done some guest posts at Townhall & Buzzfeed and used to be a contributor at Breitbart’s websites when Andrew [Breitbart] was still alive.”

He and his wife and children are moving to Washington in August, at which point he says he plans to become “fully bubbled.” Watch out, Washington, he’ll soon be here permanently in the flesh. But flesh aside, as some may know, Howe doesn’t tend to hold back on Twitter. Which may also be his achilles heel: “I’d love to be able to walk away from a Twitter fight before my entire day gets sucked into a black hole.”

Fat chance of that happening.

Bona Fides

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Age: 36

Named for: Benjamin, son of Jacob

First job ever: A bagger at Food Lion

Current employment: Mister Smith Media (Owner)


If someone wants to get on your good side, what candy or liquor should they ply you with? Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Most exotic place you’ve ever visited: St. Lucia

Why do you think Washington is so polarized? And please consider your answer in terms of boring us. Because Washington is a business and being polarized is the sales technique. What’s the product? Hell if I know. Maybe I’ll find out when I move there.

Who is your celebrity crush? I don’t have one anymore. Every time I think I might, they open their mouths on Twitter and I hate them. I’ll stick with Audrey Hepburn for now. The young one, not the dead one.

A thought that makes you want to cryAnything bad ever happening to my kids.

Weirdest habit you’ve observed in a newsroom (workplace) setting? Back when I worked in restaurant there was a guy who would move his mouth to say the words I was saying as I was saying them. Drove me nuts. My greatest regret is never punching him.

If you had to kiss a politician who would it be? Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), hands down. Only so I could get close enough to confirm that he’s human.

What’s next for you? What would you do with your life if absolutely nothing could stop you? Make films. Not the adult kind… mostly.

Pick one: House of Cards, Scandal or Veep: House of Cards

Pick one: CNN’s New Day, Morning Joe, GMA or the TODAY Show: Death.

If you had to have a U.S. senator or congressman as your father who would it be? John McCain. Apparently being his kids opens all kinds of doorways regardless of talent.

Since this is The Mirror Questionnaire, what would you change about yourself physically if you could? I would like to make the rest of my hair fall out so I can stop having to shave it.

And your personality? I’d love to be able to walk away from a Twitter fight before my entire day gets sucked into a black hole.

Preferred beach anywhere in the world: Other than early evening, I find the beach annoying. I think my wife would want me to say St. Lucia, so therefore, St. Lucia.

Guilty pleasure TV show: If I understand what “guilty pleasure” means, then Game of Thrones. If I don’t, then South Park because it’s my favorite show.

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.) I’ll go with 71 (which is incidentally my Klout score).

Workout regimen: Couch to remote back to couch. 

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

Choose: Beautiful eyes, best personality or perfect legs? Best personality

A thought that brings you great joy: Election night 2004 and the tears of sadness that filled the lives of liberals.

A regret (of any kind): Not punching that guy I mentioned earlier.

Any brushes with death? If so, please describe. I was tweeting and driving and crashed into a parked garbage truck going about 40 mph. Had I not turned the wheel sharp enough at the last second I would’ve been crushed.

Just a preference Q: Bo or Sunny? Bo. He’s closer to death.

Most annoying thing your editor (boss) does: I don’t have a boss per se but Erick Erickson is my editor at RedState so I’ll go with “Not mentioning to Fox executives how perfect I’d be as a regular contributor.”

Rank how hairy your butt is: 1 to 10? On the advice of my counsel I respectfully exercise my fifth amendment right and decline to answer that question.

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. 3. Glenn Greenwald. While we were walking, I’d have someone break into his house and make copies of all his private info, then I’d give that info to some enterprising young reporter who would win a Pulitzer. That’s how it works right?

When was the last time you were, if ever, naked outside? Honeymoon in 2004. Our hotel at the Ladera Resort is completely open on one side overlooking the Piton mountain.

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? Donald Trump. I mean, I often say it now but I guess that’s not “to his face.”

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? Aramaic. Because how cool would it be to have an Aramaic paper?

From lefty radio host Bill Press: Where’s the one place in Washington you’d love to have sex, but can’t? The Supreme Court, just so I could say things like “Overruled” and “I object” and “the record will reflect that the witness has identified the defendant as God” in perfectly timed sexual ways.

From former Rep. Weiner’s ex-phone sex partner Sydney Elaine Leathers: Who is the worst journalist on your favorite news channel? Have to go with Shepard Smith which is weird because he seems like a really funny guy. But man is he annoying when he high horses it.

From Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay: Which universally acclaimed piece of literature, art, film, or music can you simply not stand? I can’t stand the grateful dead. Not sure if they’re universally acclaimed enough but man does their music suck.

From SiriusXM’s Julie Mason: What is the lie you always tell about yourself? I have no desire to have hair.

From freelancer and journalism prof Steve Friess: If you were the opposite of your sexual orientation, name three people you’d sleep with. The first, second and third place contestants in the Miss International Queen 2013 transexual beauty contest.

From Stateless Media’s Peter Savodnik: Why do you matter? The only reason I matter is my family.

Please provide a question for the next lucky victim of The Mirror Questionnaire. Make it good. Who would you judge most harshly if you saw them in public? Fat person riding a motorized shopping cart, scantily clad women with their children or people on government assistance with iPhones?