Tucker Carlson on Spiked Smear Job: 'I Never Ask My Reporters Where They Get Stuff'

Tucker Carlson, founder of the right-wing Web site, The Daily Caller, was a man on a mission -- a mission to discredit The New Yorker's Jane Mayer, who wrote a much-discussed article last summer on the role of Charles and David Koch in bankrolling the Tea Party movement. Apparently, the mission failed when his reporter failed to come up with the goods.

On Monday, Carlson was breathlessly touting a coming take-down of Mayer, according to Keith Kelly of the New York Post, a story that would purportedly demonstrate that Mayer had plagiarized Lee Fang of Think Progress and Paula Dwyer of BusinessWeek. According to Kelly, Carlson told him that this would be no mere right-wing hit on a liberal writer. "It's a bigger story than that," Carlson reportedly told Kelly. "From what I know at this point, it's an extensive piece."

By yesterday, however, the piece was spiked, never to see the light of the internets. Apparently, both Fang and Dwyer had nothing but praise for Mayer, and neither thought themselves to have been plagiarized. In fact, Mayer even cites Fang in her story.

Perhaps most telling of Carlson's operating methods was this comment, quoted by Kelly when asked of the source of the initial allegations:


"I have no clue where we got it. I never ask the reporters where they get stuff, only whether it's true. In this case, we didn't have enough."

It's not as if Carlson didn't have something of a vested interest in seeing Mayer punished for her expose on the Koch brothers. Carlson is a fellow at the Cato Institute, founded with Koch dollars, and funded by the brothers.


Once upon a time, Carlson was known as a nice guy around Washington, fun to spar with, and a lively party guest. But since he lost his spot at MSNBC, where he had a short-lived television show, he seems to be on the path blazed by Andrew Breitbart, where the truth is irrelevant to the sensation of a story that feeds right-wing paranoia. I got a personal taste of this when e-mails I posted to a confidential listserv of liberal journos wound up on The Daily Caller's site as alleged evidence of the left's co-option of mainstream media.


Then there's his war against Keith Olbermann, which knows no ethical bounds. In November, The Huffington Post revealed that Carlson had purchased the domain name keitholbermann.com, and sent e-mails posing as the MSNBC host to Stu Bykofsky, a columnist at the Philadelphia Daily News, that were designed to create problems for Olbermann MSNBC President Phil Griffin. From HuffPo:

In one email, "Olbermann" says that Griffin is "not my boss (thank god), nor is he intellectually qualified to be...I'll be anchoring on election night 2012, long after Phil Griffin has moved on to a job for which he's actually qualified, perhaps on QVC."

Carlson's patrons at the Cato Institute apparently have no qualms with his antics, which seem increasingly desperate.



AlterNet / By Adele M. Stan

Posted at January 6, 2011, 12:56pm

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018
Today's Top Stories