Saturday, June 01, 2013

157 visits, oh my!


You know me: I have a love-hate relationship with libertarians. But I have a hate-hate relationship with what I call "pretend libertarians." These are people like Rand Paul who use libertarian rhetoric, but who are just conservatives. Another one of these people is Tucker Carlson. Don't get me wrong: I like the bow tie. I'm big on any display (regardless of how minor) that shouts "Iconoclast!" But Carlson isn't much of an iconoclast. And he isn't much of a libertarian. He's just a conservative apologist who uses libertarian rhetoric.

A lot of people were excited when he started The Daily Caller. A real Washington libertarian publication. Just check out that name, "The Daily Caller"! It makes you think of someone reading Common Sense in the public square. Libertarians love that shit.

But that's not what The Daily Caller has been. It's been just another conservative rag. In its defense, we will have to see the reporting coming out of it when a Republican is in the White House. But I don't expect much. Carlson is a conservative first and foremost. If I were a as disingenuous as he is, I would say, "I'm not a liberal, I'm a socialist." After all, there is much about socialism that I admire. But I am not, in fact, a socialist and it would be an insult to actual socialists to claim that I am.


Regardless, The Daily Caller is known for its attack-dog journalism. And thus far, it is all an attack on the left. So I don't think much of it. (As libertarian publications go, Reason is probably the best.) So I wasn't too surprised to see that the Caller was pushing the recent Obama "scandals" with excessive vigor. And on Wednesday it "broke" the story that the former IRS head Doug Shulman (once again: a Bush appointee) had visited the White House 157 times. Or rather: 157 times! And of course, Bill O'Reilly piled on, calling the visits a "smoking gun."

Contain your shock that The Daily Caller would be wrong about the story. It was actually 11 visits and only 3 of them even included President Obama. The 157 "visits" were times that the Secret Service pre-cleared Shulman for meetings that he might attend—almost all of them regarding work on the ACA (Obamacare). So there is no story there. But in the future, don't pay attention to any part of the supposed scandals until they've been vetted for a while. That's especially true of conservative media, who want to beat this stuff like a runaway Walmart worker. And that includes The Daily Caller most of all.

Afterword

Andrew Sullivan, the man who brought Charles Murray and his The Bell Curve into the mainstream, and almost destroyed The New Republican as editor, had this to say about the The Daily Caller article:

I am sorry to give this crap any air. But it's worth putting it out there if only to expose even further the toxic bullshit that Tucker Carlson now peddles under the guise of journalism.

Project much, Andrew?

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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