The Daily Caller
Type of site
|Founded||January 11, 2010|
|Owner||The Daily Caller, Inc.|
|Key people||Tucker Carlson (Founder)|
Neil Patel (Publisher)
Geoff Ingersoll (Editor-in-Chief)
|Alexa rank||990 (June 2, 2019[update])|
|Registration||Optional, required to comment|
|Launched||January 11, 2010|
- 1 History
- 2 Staff and contributors
- 3 Political stance
- 4 Controversies
- 4.1 Climate change denial
- 4.2 False EPA stories
- 4.3 Misleading video about NPR
- 4.4 False prostitution allegations
- 4.5 Fox News controversy
- 4.6 2016 presidential election
- 4.7 Encouragement of violence against protesters
- 4.8 Ties to white supremacists
- 4.9 Heckling of Obama
- 4.10 "Investigative series" about Media Matters
- 4.11 Stefan Halper
- 4.12 Allegation of non-profit abuse
- 4.13 Imran Awan
- 4.14 Chinese email hacking
- 4.15 Fake nude picture of Ocasio-Cortez
- 5 Awards
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The Daily Caller was founded by Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel. After raising $3 million in funding from businessman Foster Friess, the website was launched on January 11, 2010. The organization started with a reporting staff of 21 in its Washington office. It was launched as an alternative to the liberal The Huffington Post, similarly featuring sections in broad range of subjects beyond politics.
By 2013, the site was receiving over 35 million views a month according to Quantcast, surpassing rival sites such as The Washington Times, Politico, and Forbes. The site has an active community, with over 200,000 comments made each month.
Notable figures have commented on The Daily Caller. Karl Rove has said that "The Daily Caller is necessary reading for anyone who wants to be up to speed with what's going on with politics in America." Larry Kudlow referred to the site as "one of [his] faves."
Staff and contributors
The Daily Caller also hosts The Mirror, a blog written by former FishbowlDC editor and The Hill columnist Betsy Rothstein. The Mirror covers media in Washington D.C., news related to journalism organizations, as well as political and media related gossip. The tagline is, "Reflections of a self-obsessed city."
When it first launched in January 2010, Mercedes Bunz, writing for The Guardian, said The Daily Caller was "setting itself up to be the conservative answer to The Huffington Post". According to Bunz, a year before the website launched, Carlson promoted it as "a new political website leaning more to the right than Politico and TalkingPointsMemo". However, at launch, he wrote a letter to readers that said it was not going to be a right-wing site.
During a January 2010 interview with Politico, Carlson said The Daily Caller was not going to be tied to his personal political ideologies and that he wanted it to be "breaking stories of importance". In a Washington Post article about The Caller's launch, Howard Kurtz wrote, "[Carlson's] partner is Neil Patel, a former Dick Cheney aide. His opinion editor is Moira Bagley, who spent 2008 as the Republican National Committee's press secretary. And his $3 million in funding comes from Wyoming financier Foster Friess, a big-time GOP donor. But Carlson insists this won't be a right-wing site". Kurtz quoted Carlson as saying, "We're not enforcing any kind of ideological orthodoxy on anyone". In an interview with The New York Times, Carlson said that the vast majority of traditional reporting comes from a liberal point of view and called The Daily Caller's reporting "the balance against the rest of the conventional press".
In a 2012 Washingtonian article, Tom Bartlett said Carlson and Patel developed The Daily Caller as "a conservative news site in the mold of the liberal Huffington Post but with more firearms coverage and fewer nipple-slip slide shows".
Climate change denial
The Daily Caller has published a number of articles that dispute the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2017, The Daily Caller published a story falsely claiming that a "peer-reviewed study" by "two scientists and a veteran statistician" found that recent years have not been the warmest ever. The alleged "study" was a PDF file on a WordPress blog, and was neither peer-reviewed nor published in a scientific journal. Also in 2017, The Daily Caller uncritically published a bogus Daily Mail story which claimed that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) manipulated data to make climate change appear worse; at the same time, legitimate news outlets debunked the Daily Mail story. Also in 2017, The Daily Caller published a story claiming that a study found no evidence of accelerating temperatures over a 23-year period, which climate scientists described as a misleading story. In 2016, The Daily Caller published a story claiming that climate scientist Michael Mann (director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University) had asserted that data was unnecessary to measure climate change; Mann described the story as "egregiously false". In 2015, The Daily Caller wrote that NOAA "fiddle[d]" with data when the agency published a report concluding that there was no global warming hiatus.
False EPA stories
In 2011, the Daily Caller published a false story claiming that the EPA was going to spend $21 billion per year to hire 230,000 staff to regulate greenhouse gas emissions; at the time, the EPA had 17,000 staff and a total budget of $8.7 billion. The story went viral in right-wing media, and Republican politicians repeated the story. Other news outlets noted that the story was false, but the Daily Caller stood by the story. Adweek reported that the decision of David Martosko, executive editor at the Daily Caller, to stand by the story caused dismay among some Caller staff, who believed the decision undermined the credibility of the outlet.
In 2018, after a National Climate Assessment report about the impact of climate change in the United States was released by the Trump administration (which had been in the works for several years, stretching into the Obama presidency), Trump's EPA dismissed the report's findings. Trump's EPA falsely claimed that the Obama administration had pushed the authors of the report to focus on the worst-case scenario. In doing so, the EPA cited a Daily Caller story. FactCheck.Org wrote about the Daily Caller story that there was no evidence for the claims made, the report focused both on lower and higher scenarios, and much of the report looked at climate change impacts that had already occurred. FactCheck.Org noted that the report underwent multiple reviews, both internally and externally, and that the report was available for public review for a period of three months. The Daily Caller cited as evidence for its claims a memo that allegedly showed that the Obama administration pushed the authors of the report to include worst-case scenarios; FactCheck.Org noted the memo "does not show that the Obama administration pushed for certain scenarios."
Misleading video about NPR
In 2011, The Daily Caller was the first news outlet to disseminate a video by conservative provocateur James O'Keefe which purportedly showed an NPR fundraiser deriding Republicans. The video was later proven to have been misleadingly edited.
False prostitution allegations
In March 2013 The Daily Caller posted interviews with two women claiming that New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez had paid them for sex while he was a guest of a campaign donor. The allegation came five days before the 2012 New Jersey senate election. News organizations such as ABC News, which had also interviewed the women, The New York Times, and the New York Post declined to publish the allegations, viewing them as unsubstantiated and lacking credibility. Subsequently, one of the women who accused Menendez stated that she had been paid to falsely implicate the senator and had never met him. Menendez's office described the allegations as "manufactured" by a right-wing blog as a politically motivated smear.
A few weeks later, police in the Dominican Republic announced that three women had claimed they were paid $300–425 each to lie about having had sex with Menendez. Dominican law enforcement also alleged that the women had been paid to lie about Menendez by an individual claiming to work for The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller denied this allegation, stating: "At no point did any money change hands between The Daily Caller and any sources or individuals connected with this investigation". Describing what it saw as the unraveling of The Daily Caller' "scoop", the Poynter Institute wrote: "The Daily Caller stands by its reports, though apparently doesn't feel the need to prove its allegations right".
Fox News controversy
In March 2015 The Daily Caller columnist Mickey Kaus quit after editor Tucker Carlson refused to run a column critical of Fox News coverage of the immigration policy debate. Carlson, who also works for Fox, reportedly did not want The Daily Caller publishing criticism of a firm that employed him. Journalist Neil Munro quit two weeks later and Carlson said he was not going to go to work for Breitbart. However, he started writing for Breitbart four months later and has remained there, as of November 2018.
2016 presidential election
According to a study by Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, The Daily Caller was among the most popular sites on the right during the 2016 presidential election. The study also found that The Daily Caller provided "amplification and legitimation" for "the most extreme conspiracy sites", such as Truthfeed, Infowars, Gateway Pundit and Conservative Treehouse during the 2016 presidential election. The Daily Caller also "employed anti-immigrant narratives that echoed sentiments from the alt-right and white nationalists but without the explicitly racist and pro-segregation language."
The Daily Caller played a significant role in creating and disseminating stories that had little purchase outside the right-wing media ecosystem but that stoked the belief among core Trump followers that what Clinton did was not merely questionable but criminal and treasonous. In a campaign that expressed deep anti-Muslim sentiment, a repeated theme was that Hillary Clinton was seriously in hock to Muslim nations. In one of its most frequently shared stories, The Daily Caller falsely asserted that Morocco's King Mohammed VI flew Bill Clinton on a private jet, and that this had been omitted from the Clinton Foundation's tax disclosures. The Daily Caller also made the "utterly unsubstantiated and unsourced claim" that Hillary Clinton got Environmental Protection Agency "head Lisa Jackson to try to shut down Mosaic Fertilizer, described as America's largest phosphate mining company, in exchange for a $15 million donation to the Clinton Foundation from King Mohammed VI of Morocco, ostensibly to benefit Morocco's state-owned phosphate company."
Encouragement of violence against protesters
In January 2017, The Daily Caller posted a video which encouraged violence against protesters. The video in question showed a car plowing through protesters, with the headline "Here's A Reel Of Cars Plowing Through Protesters Trying To Block The Road" and set to a cover of Ludacris' "Move Bitch." The video drew attention in August 2017 when a white supremacist plowed his car through a group of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. After the video attracted attention, The Daily Caller deleted it from its website.
The Southern Poverty Law Center subsequently criticized The Daily Caller, saying that it had a "white nationalist problem". SPLC also said that two other contributors to The Daily Caller had ties to white nationalist groups. It later retracted its claim that Richard Pollock, a devout Jew, was a white nationalist, saying "Pollock was initially included in this story" but "there is no evidence to suggest Mr. Pollock is otherwise a white nationalist."
Ties to white supremacists
In August 2018, The Atlantic reported that Scott Greer, then deputy editor of The Daily Caller, had written pieces under a pseudonym "Michael McGregor" in the white supremacist publication Radix Journal from 2014 to 2015. In articles for Radix Journal, Greer expressed white nationalist views, as well as racist anti-black and antisemitic views. While in his emails and messages, he expressed anti-Christian and antisemitic theories, as well his relationship with Richard Spencer. Upon being confronted with his past white supremacist writings, Greer resigned from any affiliation with The Daily Caller. In 2017, it had been revealed, Scott Greer had ties to members of the white nationalist movement, including friendships with Devin Saucier, assistant to Jared Taylor of American Renaissance, and anti-immigrant activist Marcus Epstein of VDare, who pled guilty to assaulting an African American woman two years prior to the relationship with Scott Greer. Greer had later deleted parts of his Facebook page, but is seen photographed with nationalists such as Tim Dionisopoulos and Richard Spencer, Wolves of Vinland and appears wearing clothes belonging to the group Youth for Western Civilization. The Daily Caller itself subsequently stated, about why he had not been fired in 2017: “We had two choices: Fire a young man because of some photos taken of him at metal shows in college, or take his word. We chose to trust him. Now, if what you allege is accurate, we know that trust was a mistake, we know he lied to us. We won't publish him, anyone in these circles, or anyone who thinks like them. People who associate with these losers have no business writing for our company.” 
The Daily Caller has posted articles by Jason Kessler, a white supremacist who organized a rally of hundreds of white nationalists in Charlottesville. Before Kessler posted his article, he had spoken at white supremacist gatherings. After Kessler received attention for his organizing of the Charlottesville white supremacist rally, The Daily Caller removed his articles from its website, but The Daily Caller executive editor defended Kessler's articles.
Heckling of Obama
In 2012, Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro interrupted Barack Obama during one of the President's press conferences, while Obama was giving remarks. Obama said, "The next time I prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask a question." Cutting off Munro's reply, Obama said, "I didn't ask for an argument." Munro's interruption of remarks by the president was widely considered a startling breach of etiquette. Editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson defended Munro's heckling, saying "As a general matter, reporters are there to ask [questions]" and that he was "proud" of Munro.
Munro later said in a statement that his intention was to ask questions after the president made his remarks, but he claimed to have misjudged when the president was closing. "I timed the question believing the president was closing his remarks, because naturally I have no intention of interrupting the President of the United States. I know he rarely takes questions before walking away from the podium. When I asked the question as he finished his speech, he turned his back on the many reporters, and walked away while I and at least one other reporter asked questions."
"Investigative series" about Media Matters
In February 2012, The Daily Caller published an "investigative series" of articles co-authored by Carlson, purporting to be an insiders' exposé of Media Matters for America (MMfA), a liberal watchdog group that monitors and scrutinizes conservative media outlets, and its founder David Brock. Citing "current and former" MMfA employees, "friends" of Brock's and a "prominent liberal" — none of whom are named — the article characterized MMfA as having "an atmosphere of tension and paranoia" and portraying Brock as "erratic, unstable and disturbing," who "struggles with mental illness," in fear of "right-wing assassins," a regular cocaine user and would "close [local bars] and party till six in the morning." Reuters media critic and libertarian Jack Shafer, while noting "I've never thought much of Media Matters' style of watchdogging or Brock's journalism," nevertheless sharply criticized the Daily Caller piece as "anonymously sourced crap," adding "Daily Caller is attacking Media Matters with bad journalism and lame propaganda."
The Daily Caller was the first news outlet to report on Stefan Halper, a confidential FBI source, and his interactions with Trump campaign advisors Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about campaign matters. Page became the subject of surveillance warrants issued by the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court regarding his alleged contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Other news outlets confirmed Halper's identity but did not report his identity because US intelligence officials warned that it would endanger him and his contacts.
Allegation of non-profit abuse
According to Callum Borchers of The Washington Post, The Daily Caller has "a peculiar business structure that enables it to increase revenue while reducing its tax obligation." The organization, a for-profit company, does this by relying on its charity arm, The Daily Caller News Foundation, to create the majority of its news content.
According to Lisa Graves, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration, the situation is “a huge rip-off for taxpayers if The Daily Caller News Foundation is receiving revenue that it doesn't pay taxes on, to produce stories that are used by the for-profit enterprise, which then makes money on the stories through ads.”
The Daily Caller kept conspiracy theories surrounding Imran Awan alive with aggressive coverage. Imran Awan was an IT worker for Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Daily Caller sought to tie Awan to a wide range of alleged criminal activity, including unauthorized access to government servers. The reporter behind the coverage of Awan told Fox News that the affair was "straight out of James Bond." An 18-month investigation by federal prosecutors found no evidence of wrongdoing in Awan's work in the House and no support for the conspiracy theories about Awan. In the announcement of the conclusion of the investigation, investigators rebuked a litany of right-wing conspiracy theories about Awan.
Chinese email hacking
In August 2018, The Daily Caller ran a story alleging that a Chinese-owned company hacked then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server and successfully obtained nearly all of her emails. The Daily Caller cited “two sources briefed on the matter.” After publishing the story, President Trump tweeted the allegations made in Daily Caller's reporting. The FBI rebutted the allegations. According to The Washington Post, the claims are without evidence.
Fake nude picture of Ocasio-Cortez
In January 2019, The Daily Caller published a story with the misleading headline "Here's The Photo Some Described As A Nude Selfie Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez." The photo was not of Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez condemned The Daily Caller's action as "completely disgusting behavior." The Daily Caller apologized for the headline, and changed it. The Daily Caller said that the content of the story was not unlike stories published by Vice and Huffington Post. Vice had published an article debunking that the photo belonged to Ocasio-Cortez.
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