Please join me in welcoming Ben Smith to The Daily Caller.
Smith is now an intern at TheDC and he graciously agreed to sit down with me for a wide-ranging interview, or else he’d be fired.
The first time Smith heard of then-Politico’s Ben Smith, he was a college freshman at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
After the elder Ben Smith became BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, the younger Ben Smith was attending a conference at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, Calif. with the Young America’s Foundation, a group of young conservatives thirsty for knowledge. Rabid conservative and TruthRevolt editor Ben Shapiro was at the lectern.
“As a joke, I introduced myself as Ben Smith of BuzzFeed,” Smith, the intern, told me from his desk 10 feet away from mine in The Daily Caller‘s newsroom Thursday afternoon. “The room erupted in laughter.”
Born and raised in Statesville, N.C., Smith, 22, got his name the usual way — through his parents who had sex and yada yada yada, Ben Smith was born. “My mom married my dad and took the last name Smith and I’m the first Ben on both sides of my family,” he explained. But the name wasn’t a done deal before he was born. “In fact, the ultrasound was inconclusive and at first they thought I was going to be a girl.”
As for BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith, Daily Caller intern Ben Smith remarked, “Yes, I have heard of him. One of my jokes before coming here was to reclaim the name.”
How does he plan to do that? “By becoming the alternative, maybe right-leaning conservative, more serious alternative to the person who currently holds that name,” he explained.
Some burning questions: Has this Ben Smith worried about entering a profession where another Ben Smith already has such a big presence? “I’ve thought about that before,” said TheDC’s Ben Smith. “I think that in terms in the direction that he writes and that I write are totally different directions.”
Also: Does he worry that he will be confused for the other Ben Smith in his work? “I’ve thought of that before,” he said. “But seeing as he’s so well-known at BuzzFeed and I’m just starting out, I think people will be able to distinguish the difference.”
Asked if he’s had trouble creating Twitter and Gmail accounts with his name, he affirmed both.
Serious question: Has Ben Smith the intern ever considered changing his name? “No way, why should I change? He’s the one who sucks.”
That said, this Ben Smith wouldn’t mind meeting the other one.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I think it’s great that reporters should get together and hang out and talk to each other. I would have no problem meeting him.”
What does TheDC’s Ben Smith think of BuzzFeed? “I look at it as more of an entertainment site, [a place] for cat pictures,” he said. “I have taken a number of the quizzes.” Which one stands out? He hemmed and hawed and replied, “God I’ve taken so many that not one stands out, but each is quirky.”
This summer, Ben Smith began his journalism career with an internship at The American Spectator.
What’s this Ben Smith’s journalism dream? “To be writing a Capitol Hill beat or eventually one day maybe being a columnist kind of like George Will,” he said. “Deep insightful analysis on what’s going on.”
One last thing: What does Ben Smith think of The Daily Caller?
“The Daily Caller is quite literally the world’s greatest website.”
Thank you, Ben Smith.