The Daily Caller: Always Right, Even When They're Wrong

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

Funny thing about the Daily Caller: they've never been wrong.

That seems to be their official stance, at least. Even when they are spectacularly in error -- something that happens to every news org now and again -- Tucker Carlson and his retinue will get right in your face and tell you nope, you're wrong, we're right.

Consider the flap over Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro's absurd outburst during President Obama's June 15 statement on the new immigration policy. Nearly every observer, regardless of ideology, agrees that Munro acted unprofessionally, and disrespected himself and his organization. But not Tucker Carlson: "A good reporter gets the story. We're proud of Neil Munro."

Standing by your own is one thing, but this goes beyond merely circling the wagons. Carlson is arguing that Munro behaved as a reporter should -- that he "got the story." This praise is belied by the actual story Munro wrote, which contained little substance, barely touched on the policy at issue, and lacked detail (probably because Munro didn't do any actual reporting while he was at the White House).

Acknowledging miscues is part of the professional news business, but this screw-the-world counterfactual stubbornness is the Daily Caller's go-to response for those moments when they cross the line.

EPA Regulations

Last September, Daily Caller reporter Matthew Boyle wrote a piece claiming that the Environmental Protection Agency is "asking for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of up to 230,000 new bureaucrats -- at a cost of $21 billion -- to attempt to implement" new greenhouse gas regulations. Boyle's source, a court brief filed by the EPA, actually said the exact opposite: the EPA had issued a rule in May 2010 that allowed the agency to avoid that scenario. Boyle misread the document and got the story completely wrong.

After various media outlets weighed in and confirmed that the Daily Caller had botched the report, executive editor David Martosko penned an editorial note lashing out at critics and declaring: "Our news story was well reported, carefully sourced, and solidly written. Despite the criticisms that some have offered, we haven't changed a word." Defiance notwithstanding, his rationalization for not correcting the story didn't hold up.

Defending the story to Politico, Martosko argued, essentially, that the story had to be right because the EPA is government and government is bad: "What's more likely: that the Obama administration's EPA wants to limit its own power, or that it's interested in dramatically increasing its reach and budget? Anyone who has spent more than a few months in Washington knows the answer."

Go Gun Crazy

Last month the Daily Caller announced that every week until Election Day they would be handing out a free gun. The gun in question, a 9-mm pistol with the Bill of Rights inscribed on the slide, is the work of Jim Pontillo, a small-time firearms manufacturer and authentic whacko. On his blog and in a smattering of Human Events columns, Pontillo cracked wise about the Obama White House being called the "Black House;" said it is "natural to understand the Confederate rebellion. A resistance to government power is integral to the American DNA;" and recommended that we invade Mexico to halt illegal immigration.

Asked by the Washington Post whether it was proper to promote Pontillo, given his colorful opinions, the Daily Caller said that the man's insurrectionist sympathies and casual racism were immaterial; what mattered was Pontillo's sure hand at making guns. "All that's germane to the contest is that he's a fully licensed firearms manufacturer. If we were giving away iPads, the political views of Apple would also be irrelevant."

Of course, soon after dismissing Pontillo's crazy political opinions as irrelevant, the Daily Caller started publishing Pontillo in their Guns And Gear section.

Trayvon Tweets

In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, a number of conservative media outlets embarked upon what Zerlina Maxwell dubbed the "thug-ification" of the slain Florida teenager: "It is a strategic manipulation of public perception with the purpose of turning Trayvon into a stereotypical black male predisposed to criminal behavior." The Daily Caller distinguished themselves in this effort by publishing the contents of Twitter accounts belonging to Martin, highlighting a photo of Martin that "depicts him smiling, gold-toothed."

Asked why the tweets were relevant to Martin's shooting by George Zimmerman, David Martosko wrote: "We don't know who the aggressor was. Character counts." Poynter's Andrew Beaujon wrote of this "character" defense: "the intent is fairly clear: Establish a counternarrative that doesn't make Martin look like a saint."

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