Red-on-Red Violence

Perhaps the most perversely funny story of the year so far is the breakup between the Daily Caller’s Tucker Carlson and Mickey Kaus over the former’s profoundly negative reaction to the latter’s criticism of Fox:

The blogger Mickey Kaus has quit his job at The Daily Caller after the conservative site’s editor-in-chief, Tucker Carlson, pulled a critical column about Fox News from the site, Kaus told the On Media blog on Tuesday.

“It’s pretty simple,” Kaus said in an interview, “I wrote a piece attacking Fox for not being the opposition on immigration and amnesty — for filling up the airwaves with reports on ISIS and terrorism, and not fulfilling their responsibility of being the opposition on amnesty and immigration…. I posted it at 6:30 in the morning. When I got up, Tucker had taken it down. He said, ‘We can’t trash Fox on the site. I work there.'”

Carlson, who co-founded The Daily Caller in 2010, is a conservative contributor to Fox News and the host of its weekend edition of “Fox & Friends.”

This story is darkly humorous because Kaus has revealed an inconvenient truth about what David Brock once called “the Republican Noise Machine”:

Kaus will now publish his columns exclusively on Kausfiles, a blog that was previously featured on Slate. But he said that Fox News’ influence over The Daily Caller was indicative of a larger problem in conservative media.

“It’s a larger problem on the right: Everybody is scared of Fox,” he said. “Fox is their route to a high-profile public image and in some cases stardom. Just to be on a Fox show is a big deal. And I think that’s a problem on the right, Fox’s monopoly on star-making power.”

The original Kaus post is a fascinating read, one that confirms my longstanding theory that actual conservatives (as opposed to reflexive Republicans) ought to be just as outraged by Fox as progressives. Let’s be honest: if you were a conservative, would you really think that Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly were representing you in the best light?

Fox is all about advancing the interests of its owners first, the Republican Party second, and actual conservatives a distant third. Good on Kaus for finally figuring that out. The moment more folks on the right figure out that Fox isn’t really on their side either, the better off our country will be.

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus discussed his split from the Daily Caller on CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning:

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.