Conservative blogger Mickey Kaus wrote a piece criticizing Fox News for not meeting its obligation (as Kaus sees it) to take on the role of media opposition on the issues of illegal immigration and amnesty, and instead, as Kaus told Politico, “filling up the airwaves with reports on ISIS and terrorism.” (Kaus is wrong, but never mind) Kaus posted his commentary on the DC only to discover later that Daily Caller founder and editor Tucker Carlson had taken it down. Carlson’s explanation: “We can’t trash Fox on the site. I work there.'”
Indeed, Carlson, who co-founded The Daily Caller in 2010, is a conservative contributor to Fox News as well as the host of its weekend edition of “Fox & Friends,” on which he has been known to fall asleep on the air. Carlson told Kaus that the ‘no criticizing Fox News, ever’ policy was an unwaivable rule.
Kaus quit, as he should have.
The conflicts of interest on display here, the insensitivity to them, and the lack of any pretense of journalistic fairness or integrity is staggering. Carlson has placed The Daily Caller in the same, discredited ethics no-man’s land of Media Matters, Move-on.org, the Daily Kos and other sites that blatantly distort the news and their commentary on it for specific, ideological and personal agendas, and a personal agenda is the most unethical and cynical conflict of all. Carlson likes his Fox paycheck, apparently. Well, then, his ethical obligation is to have an independent journalist edit his website. In the alternative, he needs to refuse to work for Fox unless the network agrees to allow him full reign to say and write what he believes on his website, and to allow others to do so as well.
We now know that the Daily Caller’s content and commentary is directly linked to what its founder and owner believes is in his financial and long-term career advantage. What is that? That’s not a news site, and it’s not a legitimate commentary site. A vanity site, perhaps?
Two things are beyond debate: it’s sure not an ethical site, and Tucker Carlson is not a trustworthy journalist. In fact, he’s a money driven hack. If your conflicts of interest prevent you from being honest about anything, then you can be reasonably trusted to be objective about nothing. This is an ethics cascade: Fox News makes Carlson unethical, which makes the Daily Caller unethical, and by having an unethical journalist posing as an ethical one on its broadcasts, Fox is rendered untrustworthy by Carlson.
That is, it would be so rendered if it hadn’t forfeited all claims of trustworthiness by continuing to employ Bill O’Reilly. I guess Tucker belongs there.