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The Meticulous and Fair Tucker Carlson

By Matthew Yglesias on July 23, 2010 at 8:27 am

"The Meticulous and Fair Tucker Carlson"

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Tucker-Carlson

From the beginning of Jonathan Strong’s series of articles about JournoList for the Daily Caller, he’s consistently misrepresented the content of the emails he’s writing about. In response, I’ve consistently pushed strong to not only publish his “reporting” on the content of the emails but also the emails themselves so that Strong’s readers could see the evidence for themselves. Given that this would cost Strong nothing, his refusal to do so speaks volumes about the dishonesty of the enterprise he’s engaged in. Now, Strong’s boss, Tucker Carlson, has put out a statement about his publication’s coverage of the story that only compounds the dishonesty:

Tucker’s note doesn’t bother to mention the actual questions that have been raised: That his stories have misstated fact, misled readers, and omitted evidence that would contradict his thesis. He doesn’t explain how a thread in which no journalists suggested shutting down Fox News can be headlined “Liberal journalists suggest government shut down Fox News.” He doesn’t tell us why an article about the open letter that originated on the list left out the fact that I subsequently banned any future letters from the list. He doesn’t detail why his stories haven’t mentioned that one of his own reporters was on the list — his readers would presumably be interested to know that the Daily Caller was part of the liberal media conspiracy.

Instead, Tucker says, well, trust him. “I edited the first four stories myself,” he writes, “and I can say that our reporter Jonathan Strong is as meticulous and fair as anyone I have worked with.”

This is absurd. If Carlson has never worked with non-liars, then I guess that’s a sad fact about Carlson’s life. But I doubt it. Rather, Carlson just seems to be about as dishonest as Strong and intends to double down on it. But again the point remains: If the JList thread about Fox News is newsworthy enough to merit an article, isn’t it newsworthy enough for the Caller’s audience to read the thread? The reason for this selective release is that the headline doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Fortunately, no other employer seems inclined to follow the Washington Post’s lead and give in to this absurd bullying by punishing its employees for having drifted into Carlson’s field of vision. Consequently, I end up simply feeling bad for (a) Dave Weigel, and (b) the conservative reading public, which Carlson is in the process of duping for no good reason. I’ve seen vaguely parallel conspiracy theories develop on the left from time to time (the legend of Grover Norquist’s Wednesday meetings comes to mind) but never one propounded so cynically or transparently.

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