Niche Journalism Plays Political Card

Mental Floss is a niche publication that focuses on all the information you should have learned growing up, but didn’t.  It’s a collection of  “you’re kidding me” facts presented to the reader in a humorous, entertaining way.  It doesn’t address a specific problem or situation from issue to issue, but keeps up with timely events—the 2008 presidential election.


It is close to impossible, these days, to come across a magazine that doesn’t have a current, prominent, political face plastered on the cover. Mental Floss is no exception.  This magazine, however, is taking a unique approach. It uses Photoshopped, caricaturized photos of Hillary Clinton and Richard Nixon, clearly enjoying a decent in the front car of a roller coaster. Joining in, as the headline reads, “Wildest Rides to the White House” is Jimmy Carter and Teddy Roosevelt.


While maintaining its nonpartisan attitude, the publication is drawing in readers with a “Special Election Edition,” which focuses on histories wild political rides to the White House.

Mental Floss’ version of a wild-ride feature, however, isn’t the ordinary antics of banter between Obama and McCain, or Clinton against Palin.  It’s a look back—way back—to elections during the 1800’s with John Adams vs. Thomas Jefferson, and Grover Cleveland vs. James Blain, for example.


The fun facts are unleashed and so in Mental Floss’ approach to election coverage.  The feature quickly jumps into anecdotes of how Jefferson accused Adams of having “a hideous hermaphroditical character,” and accusations “that Cleveland had an illicit affair that produced a child.”


Mental Floss then explains the rationale of Lyndon B. Johnson’s infamous Daisy Spot is “arguably the most effective political ad of all time” according to Mental Floss.


Mental Floss—random?  Absolutely!  But it’s full of fun facts you can’t live without. 

–Sarah Haase


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