Benny Johnson (columnist)

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Beneful "Benny" Johnson (born May 27, 1987) is an American political columnist, currently serving as chief creative officer at conservative organization Turning Point USA.[1][2] Johnson first rose to prominence as a staff writer at BuzzFeed, until he was fired following revelations that many of his published articles were plagiarized.[3][4]

Beneful Johnson
Benny Johnson (52127208019) (cropped).jpg
Johnson in 2022
Born (1987-05-27) May 27, 1987 (age 35)
EducationUniversity of Iowa (BA)

Johnson is currently the host of The Benny Report, formerly The Beneful Report, on Newsmax TV.[5][6][7] Johnson is also employed by The Daily Caller.[8][9]

Early life and educationEdit

Johnson grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and attended the University of Iowa. He majored in developmental psychology in 2009.[citation needed][10][11]


Benny Johnson speaking at the 2014 International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC) in Washington, D.C.

In 2010, Johnson began contributing opinion pieces to the opinion website Breitbart. In 2011 he was hired as a full-time worker for Glenn Beck's TheBlaze, a conservative media website.[4] In 2012, Johnson became a staff writer at BuzzFeed.[10]

In July 2014, BuzzFeed found 41 instances of plagiarism in Johnson's writings, comprising almost ten percent of his work. He was subsequently fired from BuzzFeed and apologized for the plagiarism.[3] A few weeks later, he became digital director at National Review.[12]

In 2015, a few months after he was hired by National Review, he joined the Independent Journal Review (IJR) as a creative content contributor.[12] Later that year, IJR staffers accused Johnson of plagiarizing an article about then-House Republican Conference chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.[13] In late 2017, Johnson wrote an article containing the most controversial tweets of what he thought was the Boston antifa Twitter account. It was a fake account intended to lampoon antifa. Initially an editorial note was added, and the article was later removed.[14][15][16]

In 2017, Johnson was suspended by IJR after Johnson's involvement in an article which asserted that Judge Derrick Watson's partial blocking of Executive Order 13780 was connected to former President Barack Obama's visit to Hawaii. Johnson had been warned that IJR could potentially be promoting a conspiracy theory, but assigned the story anyway.[13][17] Later that year, Johnson was demoted for violating IJR's company ethics; Business Insider reported that Johnson had been verbally abusive and driven numerous staffers away from the IJR due to his management style.[17] Johnson and IJR's relationship was terminated in October 2017.[18]

Johnson joined The Daily Caller in November 2017.[19][20]


  1. ^ "Twitter Reacts to Biden-Putin Summit". Forbes.
  2. ^ Concha, Joe (2019-02-06). "Daily Caller reporter Benny Johnson joining Turning Point USA". The Hill. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  3. ^ a b "BuzzFeed fires Benny Johnson for plagiarism". Politico. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  4. ^ a b Terris, Ben (2015-06-09). "Benny Johnson got fired at BuzzFeed. You will believe what happened next". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  5. ^ Haltiwanger, John (2019-02-06). "Conservative student group with close ties to Trump administration hires controversial content creator Benny Johnson". Business Insider. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  6. ^ Petrizzo, Zachary (2020-11-22). "Newsmax's Benny Johnson Claims President-Elect Office Is a 'Fake Office' Made For Biden (Nope, Trump Did It Too)". Mediaite. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  7. ^ Folkenflik, David (2020-11-30). "Newsmax rises on wave of resentment towards media — especially Fox News". NPR. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  8. ^ "Moore's anti-media campaign -- Big deal frenzy -- Fixing mass shootings coverage -- Vanity Fair 'panic' -- WaPo expands media desk". POLITICO Media. Retrieved 2022-05-08.
  9. ^ Nwanevu, Osita (2017-11-17). "Today in Conservative Media: Mike Pence Was Right About Being Alone With Women". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2022-05-08.
  10. ^ a b Rothstein, Betsy (2012-12-18). "For a Fun Time at D.C. Buzzfeed, Call Benny". Ad Week. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  11. ^ "Find your inner scientist: Benny Johnson at TEDxUIowa - a self-made TedX unapproved talk". YouTube. 2013-12-07. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  12. ^ a b Gold, Hadas (3 February 2015). "IJReview hires Benny Johnson". Politico. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  13. ^ a b Mullin, Benjamin (21 March 2017). "Report: Benny Johnson was accused of plagiarism (again)". Poynter. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  14. ^ Feldman, Brian (21 August 2017). "How to Spot a Fake Antifa Account". Intelligencer. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  15. ^ Montgomery, Blake (7 September 2017). "Here's A Guide To The Antifa Network That's Trying To Solidify A Nazi-Punching Movement". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  16. ^ Chiel, Ethan (22 August 2017). "Right Wing Publications Can't Stop Getting Duped By Fake Antifa Accounts". GQ. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  17. ^ a b Darcy, Oliver (March 21, 2017). "Inside the identity crisis at the Independent Journal Review, the outlet that has become a powerhouse in the Trump era". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  18. ^ Fischer, Sara (October 20, 2017). "Scoop: Benny Johnson out at Independent Journal Review". Axios. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  19. ^ Calderone, Michael (2017-11-17). "Moore's anti-media campaign -- Big deal frenzy -- Fixing mass shootings coverage -- Vanity Fair 'panic' -- WaPo expands media desk". Politico. Retrieved 2017-11-18.
  20. ^ Nwanevu, Osita (2017-11-17). "Today in conservative media: Mike Pence was right about being alone with women". Slate. Retrieved 2017-11-18.

External linksEdit