It is an inerrant fact that anything billed as "The conservative take on / version of _________" is going to be hilariously, perhaps even spectacularly, shit. The Half-Hour News Hour. Conservapedia. Qube TV. Pajamas Media. Conservative punk bands. Michael Steele. Take your pick, as they all have in common that special is-this-serious quality that, frankly, liberals can't do. And they all follow the same pattern: they make a lot of noise, the real media pay them a disproportionate amount of attention lest they be accused of "bias", and then the product in question quietly dies when the gawkers and snickering hipsters have disappeared.

When I first heard that Tucker Carlson was at long last establishing a presence on the internet – in related news, he has finally acquired a touch-tone phone – I assumed that he would fade seamlessly into the cacophony of screeching that is the wingnut underbelly of our electronic discourse. But he aimed high with The Daily Caller, billed modestly as the Conservative Answer to Huffington Post. I'm sure I've seen more underwhelming things but none spring to mind at the moment.

Short of a Flash banner at the top proclaiming "LOOK, WE ARE SIMPLY OUT OF IDEAS" the entire thing could not reek more of complete creative bankruptcy. From the instantly forgettable name – I guess "Tucker's Website" and "The Daily Internet Site" were already taken – to the "1997 called, it wants its web design back" layout, it is a case study in the inherent flaw in asking a bunch of College Republicans to come up with something slick and cutting edge. Their big roll-out event was a "Welcome to the internet!" courtesy piece by Arianna Huffington and a pair of columns from Andrew Breitbart (whose ghastly Breitbart.tv now has competition in the race to the bottom of the cultural barrel) and Rep. Pete Sessions.


Here's the best part: it has a full-time paid staff of 21. Unless Carlson is trying to set a new speed record for pissing through Koch Foundation money, I cannot conceive of a way that this thing will come close to breaking even. At a per-employee cost of, say, $70-$100k (counting all of the expenses beyond salary) I give this thing about six months before Phyllis Schlafly gets tired of flushing money down the toilet and the site goes the way of Google Answers.

The puzzling thing – and from the right's perspective, the sad thing – is that this is not a wholly untenable idea. It could work. There have been successes in the past marketing a higher-end conservative product, something slightly less stupid than Michelle Malkin and Free Republic. But this, to put it charitably, is just more of the same shit. What original content they offer is like the site itself – lame and uninspired. If Carlson thinks that the expense of this monstrosity is going to be subsidized by the public's insatiable desire to read the "diary" of S.E. "I've been to Rio. It's AWESOME." Cupp he is more ignorant of this newfangled internet thingy than we can imagine.


  • Shouldn't a truly conservative website require payment to access its materials, since according to the conservative credo, value is achieved and maintained only by the incentive of trade? I mean, if you give stuff away for free, that stuff must be shit (which is what the cons claim about the services liberal programs provide), because if it was any good, you'd be proving that it's possible to give away free stuff of value, which would kinda defeat the whole Adam-Smith-handjobbery that modern conservatism is founded on, no?

  • I must confess I hit the link, but it was the first and last time, I swear. and I checked out none of the articles. which was easy, since none of the teases was the least bit tempting. even – especially – Arianna's welcome-to-the-big-league offering. so here's my question: how come liberals never devise their answer to the conservative this or that? are we too busy creating the concept and then developing the next enterprise conservatives lack the mindset to invent themselves, but will simply fashion their version of to become a laughingstock and a failure?

  • Daphne's question is an interesting one. I humbly suggest that too many conservative minds are beholden to the demands of their ideology to allow new information (or reality) to fully assert itself. When conservatives create an enterprise such as Conservapedia, it is a tacit admission that their world view cannot compete in the market place of ideas, cannot compete with a collective knowledge enterprise like Wikipedia, and so they are compelled to create an alternative "reality" that allows them to persist in a fantasy world of their own making.

  • I'd say probably over half of those employees are working for free. They probably spotted the overzealous ones from some Fox-sponsored tea party and recruited them.

  • Crazy for Urban Planning says:

    I lived and worked in Bulgaria from 2004-2006 and saw the reminiscent of an authoritarian government. These conservative media vehicles are emulating it perfectly. For instance, people sit down listening to the radio repetitive crap all day long (In Bulgaria each apartment had a small radio you couldn't turn off broadcasting day and night). Why do they have to say that fox is "fair"? I always thought they mocked liberals whenever we wondered about the equity of the capitalist system. Why not just be honest and call a duck a duck?

  • I think it's a front — for Tucker to meet and hook up with like-minded erm, gentlemen. This way, he can blow anything but his cover.

    Arianna is just his flame dame.

  • The link to the article on conservative punk bands could be used as a viable substitute for blowing up someone's brain if there isn't a Scanner around.

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