Monday, October 19, 2009

Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller: MIA?

On May 26, Tucker Carlson of Fox News was front and center at the Heritage Foundation's weekly blogger luncheon, and began his presentation this way:
"I'm grateful to be here and I know a lot of you are already signed up to contribute, and I appreciate that. I know some of you have already come over and played poker or sampled our open bar, and I appreciate that, too. More where that came from.
"I'm editing a site called the, which ought to be up in about three weeks . . ."
"In about three weeks." Nearly six months have gone by and, whatever the status of the poker games and open bar, as of 7 a.m. ET, was still "coming soon."

While the site the Carlson was hired to edit has gone through the longest three weeks of development in the history of the Internet, Andrew Breitbart's Big Government last month had one of the most smashing debuts in the history of Internet news. More from Carlson's May 26 spiel:
"We are a general interest, which is to say, large, newspaper-type format site. Roughly along the lines of the Huffington Post . . ."
Breitbart himself designed the Huffington Post. Breitbart and Carlson are friends. I have no idea of what, if any, involvement Breitbart has had with the, but surely I'm not the only news professional puzzled that it would take six months to design and launch an Internet news site -- especially one which was announced with such fanfare.

Given that Carlson said six months ago that many of the attendees at the Heritage blogger luncheon were already signed up as contributors, they've got to be wondering just what it is they've signed up for. What has the got so far? Well, there's a Facebook page with some 600 "fans" and this description:
The Daily Caller will be a comprehensive news site, providing original reporting, constantly updated links to the latest news, analysis of current events, satire, research on current policy issues, columns from thought leaders, and Congressional Member reviews.
What does something like that cost? And why is it taking so long to develop? Who knows?

A couple of weeks ago, right before I left for Kentucky to cover the investigation into the death of Census worker Bill Sparkman -- a trip funded by tip-jar contributions from readers -- I found myself on the phone with blog-buddy Jimmie Bise. In the course of a 20-minute conversation, Jimmie laid out a simple scenario for building an online news operation on a shoestring budget. Jimmie summarized a lot of that conversation in a blog post a month ago:
Charlie Crist, who will be a continual thorn in conservatives’ sides if he’s elected to the Senate, raised $4.3 million in just one quarter this year. That much money could fund a good conservative news site for at least five years, if not more like eight. Do you know how much good reporting we could get with a budget of just $500,000 a year?
As Jimmie explained, there are plenty of good reporters who'd work for $70,000 a year. Four full-timers could be had for $250,000 or so, ranging the salaries from $40K for the junior staffer/trainee/clerk and then up: $60K, $70K, $80K for the top editor. Throw in another $100,000 for insurance, benefits, legal fees, etc., and you've still got $150,000 for promotion, advertising, travel, payments to freelancers, etc.

Development, design, launch? Jimmie's got WordPress know-how, I've got design, layout and editing experience. In terms of promotional hype, do you have any idea how much $10,000 will buy from BlogAd.coms? A freaking buttload, my friend.

Well, for all we know, will go live at 9 a.m., become a massive overnight sensation, and soon leave Matt Drudge, the HuffPo and the Associated Press trailing in their wake, as Carlson & Co. revolutionize news as we know it.

Or maybe not. Maybe the poker games, the open bar and the Facebook page are all we'll ever see. Maybe the DailyCaller's investors have already taken a look at the Beta format prototype and yanked their money out.

Who knows? But if and when the long-promised "large, newspaper-type format site" finally appears, I'll remind Carlson of the advice I offered the day after his big Heritage spiel: It had better not suck.

Oh, and NTCNews has an A.M. Market Update this morning. Seems the real-estate market's looking kind of squirrelly. Homelessness, Wall Street shenanigans, clueless regulators -- welcome to Great Depression II, according to one analyst.

But what do I know? Nobody ever gave me the start-up capital to throw poker parties with an open bar . . .


  1. I had that kind of capital once.

    Well, my dad bought me a ticket to Vegas for my 21st. I guess that's close. There was a little bit of poker and I seem to remember a bar...

    What would TCarl's demographic be anyways? "Dudes with bowties?" The Penguin and Pee Wee Herman?

  2. Other,

    I keep checking too, and I added them to facebook whats up with that? Either piss or get off the pot Tucker :)


    The Cable News Wars, will be televised just not on any network anyone watches:)

    This morning Lou Dobbs canceled on Imus In The Morning, because CNN would not let him appear. The Reporter Boycott of Fox News Networks. Video FBN below.

    Here is the thing if CNN and MSNBC folks don’t show up on Fox Networks, I won’t be watching them at all. So how is this helping those network’s ratings? Oh I guess I will watch inferior DNC propaganda channel/sarc. The reason people are not watching now is because they know that CNN, and MSNBC are nothing more than Democrat Party Arms. I already don’t watch MSNBC ,the only thing I WAS watching was Lou Dobbs on CNN.

    Imus has already beat CNBC’s in the ratings, and FBN is on half the carriage. MSNBC and CNN are worried about Imus’s ratings on FBN but it wasn’t their on air talent that drives his ratings….gonna miss you Lou but this is what happens when you work for the CommunistCollectiveNetwork.

    Video from FBN

  3. Not to rag on your chosen profession Stace, but why hire reporters? Why not hire cops, engineers, military, accountants... you know, people with real life experience?

    Speaking as someone who has read quite a few military and police reports, I suspect it'd be easier to teach a cop to write grammatically than it would be to teach a journalism major to tell the truth.

    Funny story. I was sitting in my favorite cafe this weekend abusing their internet privileges when I heard this woman, apparently a reporter, talking about a journalism seminar she had taken on career choices for reporters in the shrinking press market.

    "If you're over thirty," she said she was told, "forget the internet. It won't do you any good..."

  4. I am not surprised is not up and running: the pigs are not flying out of my butt yet.

    Viva le NTC!

  5. Add this Forbes piece to the list on Real Estate woe.

    A quote, "Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, and 50 other co-sponsors (all Democrats) of H.R. 1479 the "Community Reinvestment Modernization Act of 2009," who want to expand the CRA to include not just banks but also credit unions, insurance companies and mortgage lenders. Congressman Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has supported the idea in the past. The SEIU and ACORN, along with a host of other activist groups, are also behind the effort."

  6. There may still be hope. Not necessarily in, but Google it or put it in as a URL. It's basically the same thing Daily Caller was supposed to be but is being built and designed by ALA, one of the grassroots groups behind the Tax Day Tea Parties and more.

    Hopefully this will take off better than "TuckPo." But we'll need your(and everyone else's!) help to get the word out.

    PS: You run a stand up blog, Robert.