The Daily Caller is working on an explosive report that Martha Raddatz, the ABC News reporter who'll moderate the vice-presidential debate, used to be married to a guy who used to know President Obama in the 1990s. But it's impossible not to ask where the sympathies of The Daily Caller's founder, Tucker Carlson, really lie given this shocking revelation, reported exclusively at The Atlantic Wire (that is, exclusively because at this moment no one else is reporting it): Tucker Carlson worked with top-level Democrats for years.
This election cycle Carlson's Daily Caller has been making a name for itself as a sponsor of hard-nosed investigations into the radical influences on the mainstream media, Obama administration officials, and the president himself. Back in July, the site exposed the fact that Obama's nominee to head the Bureau of Labor Statistics might have sent her kids in the 1990s to a Jewish summer camp that was communist in the 1930s. More recently, The Daily Caller featured the blockbuster unearthing of five-year-old video of Obama condemning the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. "This hasn’t been reported," Carlson told Fox News' Sean Hannity, explaining his vital role in the media. "And I know because I reported it." That is true. It was in 2007, when Carlson worked for well-known liberal mouthpiece MSNBC.
The fizzling of his scoops have exposed loyal movement conservatives like Fox News host Sean Hannity to widespread mockery, raising questions like, which side is Carlson really on? Is he really a conservative at all? Has he been properly vetted? Do we really know the true Carlson, who grew up marinated in liberal culture, idolized a father who worked for public broadcasting, wrote articles for prominent liberal magazines, and, most tellingly, had a close working relationship with a current adviser for Priorities USA, the pro-Obama super PAC which is working tirelessly to smear Mitt Romney's record of loving America?
First, some background: Carlson is from the liberal bastion of California, according to Wikipedia. In his formative teen years, Carlson attended a boarding school on the East Coast, then went to college at a small liberal arts school in Connecticut, a state that is essentially one giant suburb of culturally subversive New York City. Carlson's father worked for the government-subsidized Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as well as the government-funded propaganda outlet Voice of America. Sure, The Daily Caller is currently mocking the Obama campaign for airing an ad in defense of Big Bird, but Carlson has never renounced his father. In an interview with Salon in 2003, when given an opportunity to cut ties with his left-wing roots, Carlson said, "my dad is who I always wanted to be like."
But that's not all. Carlson once had his own TV show on PBS, and told Washington Post readers in 2004 that he actually liked his employer. "Everyone I've dealt with at PBS so far has been great," Carlson confessed. "If they hate me for my politics, they're keeping it secret. I've been really pleased." He worked for other outlets notorious for their non-right-wing views: Esquire, for example, and New York magazine.
Carlson eventually teamed up with Paul Begala, a Democratic operative who worked for years for Bill Clinton and Al Gore and is a current adviser to Priorities USA, on the CNN show Crossfire. While on camera they were ostensible sparring partners, behind the scenes his personal relationship with the hard-left grew deeper and more intimate. He told the Washington Post in 2004, "Both [Clinton aide James] Carville and Begala are good guys off camera. We're all having dinner tonight in fact." What did they talk about at dinner? When will Tucker Carlson release the dinner talking points? Were they plotting a strategy to take over the media, paving the way for the election of then-state legislator Barack Obama? We're just asking wildly speculative leading questions! The next stop on Carlson's radical left-wing media tour was none other than MSNBC, the network that made Keith Olbermann famous, the current home of Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, Chris Matthews, and Al Sharpton. Carlson started working there in June 2005. Where hasn't Carlson ever had a full-time gig? Fox News.
That gap on his resume does not appear to be an accident. While Carlson has never repudiated his father and his work for PBS, he was quick to distance himself from fairness-balance pioneer and Fox News stalwart Bill O'Reilly. Back in 2003, Carlson said, "his shtick is a really dangerous one, in my opinion... I think he’s a humorless phony." Of O'Reilly's show, Carlson said, "I don’t know who would want to watch that shit." Hannity? Too lowly to be worth comment. "I don’t know much about Sean Hannity," he said. He was sticking with his then-employer: "I love the fact that CNN is engaged with the world." Hear that? Carlson refused to put America first.
Most shockingly of all, Carlson once showed intolerance for the very kind of race-baiting displayed in the unearthing of that five-year-old Obama video. He told Salon:
Well, what I think the problem is in general and, not just with Fox, but the genre, is that it encourages you to use a straw man. So for example you see hosts bring on, “This is Jeffrey Mohammed X, and he’s the president of the Association to Kill White Motherfuckers,” and he’ll be presented as a spokesman for black America. And then the host will say, “Well, how can you support lynching white people? That’s just wrong!”
Just who is the real Tucker Carlson?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.