David Weigel at The Washington Independent:
The offices of The Daily Caller evoke a long-ago era of journalism, circa 2005 or 2006, before the Los Angeles Times closed its big-city bureaus, The Washington Times fired 60 percent of its staff, and magazines from Gourmet to Portfolio shuttered for lack of revenue. A staff of 21 reporters and editors sit in blindingly white offices and a wide-open center space, cranking out content for the site’s January 11 launch. Other possible hires walk in and out of Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson’s office, past a lounge inhabited by liquor bottles and a sleeping dog, and decorated by clocks that tell the time in far-flung and random locations: Pyongyang, Jackson Hole, Washington, Honolulu.
“I just thought it was funny,” said Carlson, chewing on a piece of Nicorette. (He quit smoking last year, on his 40th birthday.) “We dispatched some intern to go and get those signs made. Actually, it was $150 — I never would have done it if I’d thought it would be so expensive. But something about it amused me. They’re on velcro. We swap ‘em out — we’ve got a whole drawer full of ‘em.”
Last February, Carlson — the conservative former host or co-host of shows on CNN and MSNBC, and still a Fox News contributor — gave a speech to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in which he urged activists on the right to “copy” the journalistic model of The New York Times. “They need to get out, find out what’s going on, and not just analyze things based on what the mainstream media has reported,” Carlson said. He was roundly booed. Four months later he officially announced plans to launch a news site “along the lines of The Huffington Post” with an ideology “not in sync with the current program.” When he talked with TWI on Wednesday, Carlson suggested that the desire for news like that, and the potential to break big stories, was greater than ever.
“When was the last time you saw, on television, a straight explanation of what’s in the competing House and Senate health care bills?” Carlson asked. “What’s in them? People want to know that!”
Choire at The Awl:
I am actually very excited that Tucker Carlson’s website, the Daily Caller, is finally launching on Monday! (I will be calling it The Gaily Dollar, of course, but also I will be a devoted reader.) Also, the more independent web operations there are on the Internet, the better. I also think it is very brave to spend $3 million on the first year alone. If I’d spent $3 million on our first year, most of it would have been on like Kiton suits and PIZZA PARTIES FOR EVERYONE.
Matt Welch at Reason
It’s said to have $3 million and a staff of 21. If nothing else, I’m guessing Carlson will learn to get the price of things before he spends his money. That, or he better be very good at poker. Sounds like it’ll be a fun ride, though. There’s no reason to not wish him the best of luck with it, imo. He seems to be making an effort at something that’s very much needed, as is Breitbart with Big Journalism.
It so happens I read Friedersdorf’s quote this morning in a room at the Crown Plaza in Redondo Beach with Mike Flynn, editor of Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com. “That dude’s always slagging Breitbart,” Flynn said. “What’s his problem?”
Last month, I took a vow to stop slagging the Daily Caller. With $3 million in start-up capital, they’ll be around at least through the November elections and it would be wrong for Carlson’s operation to suffer from red-on-red fire from the outset. But as I said in May, it had better not suck.
“The Daily Caller” is going to be like Huffington Post – Alec Baldwin + Tucker Carlson x Tucker Carlson. How much news will it contain? Millions of news! Carlson can afford to buy all the journalism, thanks to the ace PowerPoints of his business partner, some former Cheney aide, who explains, “We were very lucky to get the amount of money we did [$3 million] based, basically, on a PowerPoint.”
UPDATE: Jason Zengerle at TNR