Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller has been putting out a series of hackish smear pieces on the recent Journolist scandal that take quotes out of context to make them seem a lot more worrisome than they actually are. Pretty much every time one of these articles is published, former Journolist members respond by putting quotes from the Caller’s pieces in the context of the e-mails or threads the quotes were pulled from, usually showing the articles to be egregious misrepresentations of the actual content of the e-mails.
Tucker Carlson posted a response today to some recent criticisms of the Daily Caller. He addresses the charge that, if the Caller really isn’t taking quotes out of context, then it should publish the original e-mail threads along with its articles:
[W]hy don’t we publish whatever portions of the Journolist archive we have and end the debate? Because a lot of them have no obvious news value, for one thing…. [W]hile it might be amusing to air threads theorizing about the personal and sexual shortcomings of various New Republic staffers, we’ve decided to pull back.
Plus, a lot of the material on Journolist is actually pretty banal. In addition to being partisan hacks, a lot of these guys turn out to be pedestrian thinkers. Disappointing.
We reserve the right to change our minds about this in the future, but for now there’s an easy solution to this question: Anyone on Journolist who claims we quoted him “out of context” can reveal the context himself. Every member of Journolist received new threads from the group every day, most of which are likely still sitting in Gmail accounts all over Washington and New York. So feel free to try to prove your allegations, or else stop making them.
Notice the false choice that Carlson presents forward here: either continue with the misleading, out-of-context quoting that has defined the Daily Caller’s articles so far, or make the whole entire Journolist archives public. Well, here’s a sensible alternative: just publish the parts of the archives that are directly relevant to the quotes and claims in the Daily Caller’s coverage. Would it really be such a huge burden on the reader if full e-mail threads were at least linked to from the Caller’s articles? You know, e-mails like the ones that former Journolist members have been publishing themselves in response to the Caller’s dishonest reporting?
As for Carlson’s suggestion that Journolisters publish the archives themselves if they think the Caller’s coverage has been misleading… well, that’s exactly what they have been doing (see, for example, Jonathan Chait). The fact that so many of the Caller’s articles on Journolist have thus far turned out to be misleading after Journolisters put their e-mails in context, and the fact that the Caller refuses to itself publish more of the e-mails, goes to show, I think, that there really isn’t any smoking gun about a liberal media conspiracy in the Journolist archives, and that Tucker Carlson and the Daily Caller are grasping at straws and torpedoing their credibility by serving up bait for the Drudge/Breitbart crowd that will boost the Caller’s traffic.