Mickey Kaus, a respected writer on all things immigration, writes a piece for The Daily Caller. The site’s big boss, Tucker Carlson, spikes it because it dings Fox News, where Tucker works. Kaus quits Tucker’s site, self-publishes the column, and the incident becomes our scandal du jour.
There are several weird angles to this. First among them is the column itself. Mickey Kaus is a sharp thinker on his area of expertise, but his thesis (that Fox News is deliberately suppressing coverage of immigration) is largely unsupported. The closest he comes to presenting evidence is a rundown of a string of Kelly File broadcasts. Why pick that program? Possibly because, having pre-determined the desired results, he wasn’t going to use either O’Reilly or Hannity, both of whom ride the immigration hobby horse far more than Ms. Megyn. Why pick just one program in any case? Wouldn’t a more broadly chosen sample give more accurate results? There’s more (like his head-scratching suggestion that Fox should be a feisty all-anti-Obama network—exactly the caricature its critics love to perpetuate) but that’s for another time.
Tucker Carlson’s response is also a little weird. It’s hard to understand why he’d compromise the work of the website he runs by taking an entire topic of discussion off the table. Is he really so enamored of his co-host role on Fox & Friends Weekend that he’ll outlaw any criticism of FNC? (For that matter, isn’t Carlson’s presence on the F&F curvy couch itself a tad weird? Why was he chosen, for his madcap comedic timing? Because they wanted someone who would balk at playing along in the outdoor segments, decline to eat on camera, and grumble about having to do an online after-show? Did they want a co-host who takes so many days off? But I digress.)
And then there’s the inevitable cluck-clucking that we can all see coming a mile away. It will be another chance to attack Fox (even though they have nothing to do with how Tucker runs his website) and skewer Carlson for not wanting to criticize the people who sign his checks. Only a few (like John Nolte) will point out the weirdness, and hypocrisy, of these critics—who routinely shrink from criticism of their employers.
This looks like a tempting target for the Sunday media shows. Can Reliable Sources resist? Will Brian Stelter pile on, instructing Tucker Carlson about the proper role of editors? Given how Mr. Stelter covered (or didn’t) Fareed Zakaria, Jim Clancy, Carol Costello etc., a lecture on journalistic courage from him would be weird indeed.