Traditional journalists scoffed at his lists of photos and animated GIFs, but they’d kill for Benny’s reach. His explainer on President Obama’s push to bomb Syria was clicked on 860,000 times, helped by the funny reaction videos of MTV personalities Benny added to the text. (“The votes for military action are not looking like they will pass” was illustrated by reality star Lauren Conrad weeping a mascara-stained tear.) Almost a million readers — many of whom probably knew nothing about Syria — gave this “listicle” a click.
But Benny isn’t content just sitting behind a computer. At the Supreme Court, he noticed the funny way interns sprint down the steps to carry a big ruling to their media bosses and turned that into a story. He found the secret Dunkin Donuts inside the Library of Congress. He assigned his team to parade a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton through a conservative conference to film the reaction of the rambunctious crowd. He doesn’t care if you think it’s dumb as long as you check it out.