BuzzFeed’s Viral Politics Editor and raving conservative Benny Johnson has been fired by the site after two pseudonymous Twitter users accused him of serialplagiarism. On Friday editor-in-chief Ben Smith announced the termination, but it really can’t be a surprise that the guy they hired to merge right-wing propaganda with fluffy clickbait would be both unethical and not smart enough to get away with it.
But BuzzFeed Benny’s dubious work record is a little beside the point for us scrabbling low-level media people in every way but one. The vultures are circling, and people want his job.
Well, I’m here to throw my hat in the ring.
To Whom It May Concern:
BuzzFeed, you may not have reached any personnel decisions yet, and some of you may continue to believe Johnson is still one of the “web’s deeply original writers.” As your new Viral Politics Editor, I can help take your brand to the next level. Also, I need to eat, and you need to split me off some of those stock options.
-I will also point out that when Democrats try to do the same thing, they’re total dorks. Under my leadership, BuzzFeed Viral Politics will totally crush traffic — crowding out other lowest common denominators like Breitbart.com and The Blaze!
– I will not, however, make “light-hearted” racist jokes on Twitter.
Those are what we in “the biz” call “very, very bad.” See, sometimes getting more likes and retweets is not good. This is the kind of advanced counter-intuitive knowledge I will bring to your site that Benny Johnson cannot provide.
(H/T to Alex Pareene and Feedbuzz for finding the above tweets, because as your new Viral Politics Editor, I won’t deliberately plagiarize people.)
– Okay, maybe I’ll plagiarize a little. Or a lot. But if I do, it won’t be from Yahoo! Answers. Even I have standards. I will plagiarize from places people who share Benny Johnson listicles never read, like books and journals, or even a newspaper.
– As a journalist, I will make it my mission to admiringly pal around with politicians I am supposed to be “reporting” on.
– The few times I will actually write a column for you that isn’t a giant list of “politicians doing it wrong” or pictures of American flags, it won’t be providing an anonymous venue for bloodthirsty intelligence officials to rant about how much they’d like to murder someone. If you send me on assignment for a week to cover a mass shooting, I won’t sit around for six days and then phone in some drivel that mostly consists of pictures of a Chili’s. Instead, I will do what every other columnist in America does: Panic at the last minute and turn in the same thing I did last week with some words moved around. (Wait, is that self-plagiarism? Damn! Okay, I’ll do it with cat GIFs.)
– Sometimes I drink whiskey in my underwear and that is just fine.
It’s possible I’m being unfair to Benny. He is, after all, a grown-ass man whose distinguished job in online journalism usually boils down to explaining Egypt’s bloody revolution “in Jurassic Park Gifs,” quizzing readers on which Obama decision “makes you want to gouge your eyes out the most” or exalting Reagan as the “presidential master of YOLO.” Is it really intellectual theft to copy listicle image captions straight from Yahoo! Answers and Wikipedia? Yes, of course it is, except it is much more humiliating than being caught stealing from more illustrious publications like The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or Letters to Penthouse.
In short, I feel that I am the ideal candidate to replace verified plagiarist and right-wing hack Benny Johnson at BuzzFeed. Attached you will also find my resume, as well as a festering hive of bees. Please pass the latter item on to Benny, to whom I wish the worst of luck in his future endeavors.
Tom McKay, Potentially a Slight Improvement