Just the other day we talked about how Tucker Carlson questioned who the climate culprits are on his Koch-funded Daily Caller website. So we’re reluctant to go back to that well quite so soon, but a new post on the Caller’s website cannot go without comment.
The story is a clip and rehash of one of Carlson’s recent segments on his Fox News show, in which he attacks Koch Brothers and questions their undue influence over the Republican party. In the clip, Carlson hones in on criticisms that the Koch brothers are libertarian and that their philanthropic aims don’t reflect the wants and needs of everyday Republicans.
Yes, you read that correctly. Tucker Carlson, whose Daily Caller website received 84% of its funding from the Kochs in 2016 and close to a million dollars in 2017, railed against the Kochs’ influence. Keep in mind the website with over a thousand Koch stories, few if any of which are anything but bootlicking.
That said, in 2017 Koch money only made up 38% of the Caller’s funding. Its trajectory does seem to be moving away from Koch money as its primary means of support. Perhaps the website really is trying to break free from the Koch’s funding, or at least dilute its funder pool so it’s not quite so obvious that they exist as a propaganda tool for the Kochs’ interests. It launched a subscription program back in April, inviting readers to become a “Daily Caller Patriot” offering access to special content and removing ads. The invitation includes a clip of Carlson talking about his crusade against “big tech” for “censoring” “conservatives” over the little tinsy matter of propagating hate speech that is radicalizing white terrorists.
And that’s a big part of Carlson’s new rant against the Kochs: targeting their upcoming work with the Anti-Defamation League to combat online hate speech. Since we know full well that the Daily Caller has quite a history of “accidentally” propagating white nationalism, perhaps that’s why Carlson is stoking division between himself and his followers and his Koch funders. If they’re anti-hate speech, odds are they’ll follow the lead of all the advertisers who have pulled their support for Carlson’s Fox program.
So maybe this new change in heart in response to the Kochs pulling away from supporting the website, and Carlson is pulling the old “you can’t fire me because I quit.” Back in November of 2018, Washington Post columnist Radley Balko wrote that Koch officials told him that “the Kochs and their foundations more generally find the Daily Caller abhorrent, and feel the same way about Tucker Carlson. One added that he was particularly troubled by the way the site objectives women as clickbait.”
And while the Koch donors Balko spoke to made it clear they saw their investment in the Caller to be aimed at training new journalists with free-market ideology, the lead investigative journalist at the Caller, per Balko, “doesn't inspire confidence.” Balko, who had previously worked with the reporter, Richard Pollack, wrote that Pollack is “a Trump toady” who “doesn't understand libertarianism” and is “a crappy journalist” who “isn't particularly smart.” But Balko conceded that Pollack’s “most marketable skill seems to be the ability to fool people into believing he has marketable skills.”
The same could be said for Tucker Carlson, and maybe the Kochs have finally realized it. Because as a millionaire funded by billionaires, it’s hard to comprehend why else Carlson would turn on his former patrons.