Tucker Carlson's new toy

Will the Daily Caller be the HuffPo of the right?

Marching into the online magazine world today comes the Daily Caller, a new website from Tucker Carlson, former TV personality for CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. It has, like any serious political media outlet should, a picture of a group of scantily clad women on its front page today. Excellent.

Tucker, once famous for wearing a jaunty bow tie -- that graceful accessory of many a right-wing pundit -- claims the following for his creation:

This is primarily a news site. We see our core job as straightforward: Find out what's happening and tell you about it. We plan to be accurate, both in the facts we assert and in the conclusions we imply.

So, we can expect an unbiased, non-partisan guide through the complexities of US politics? Only if you ignore long comment pieces like this from Tom Price, member of Congress and chairman of the Republican Study Committee, entitled How the GOP gets its mojo back and extolling the "energy, enthusiasm and commitment" of the Tea Party movement. Oh, and this from Andrew Breitbart:

The launch of the Daily Caller is a necessary step toward creating ideological parity in the all-too-clearly biased mainstream media. It is a good thing that you, Tucker, are admitting that you come to the table with certain ideological baggage, and my new site Big Journalism will be there to watch your back when the well-funded, organized left's knives come out to try to discredit and attempt to destroy you. Believe me, they will.

Some might argue that bringing up the ideological baggage on day one rather blows the straight news sell out of the water. But still, let's give the DC a chance.

On the name -- it's subtly there to remind us of where it lives, deep in the hub of Washington, tapped into all that news. Although, as one commenter put it on HuffPo: "Of all the possible combinations that would result in the desired "The DC", was the Daily Caller the best he could come up with?"

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

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As the strangers approach the bed, I wonder if this could be a moment of great gentleness

I don’t know what to do. In my old T-shirt and M&S pants, I don’t know what to do.

It’s 1.13am on an autumn morning some time towards the end of the 20th century and I’m awake in a vast hotel bed in a small town in the east of England. The mysterious east, with its horizons that seem to stretch further than they should be allowed to stretch by law. I can’t sleep. My asthma is bad and I’m wheezing. The clock I bought for £3 many years earlier ticks my life away with its long, slow music. The street light outside makes the room glow and shimmer.

I can hear footsteps coming down the corridor – some returning drunks, I guess, wrecked on the reef of a night on the town. I gaze at the ceiling, waiting for the footsteps to pass.

They don’t pass. They stop outside my door. I can hear whispering and suppressed laughter. My clock ticks. I hear a key card being presented, then withdrawn. The door opens slowly, creaking like a door on a Radio 4 play might. The whispering susurrates like leaves on a tree.

It’s an odd intrusion, this, as though somebody is clambering into your shirt, taking their time. A hotel room is your space, your personal kingdom. I’ve thrown my socks on the floor and my toothbrush is almost bald in the bathroom even though there’s a new one in my bag because I thought I would be alone in my intimacy.

Two figures enter. A man and a woman make their way towards the bed. In the half-dark, I can recognise the man as the one who checked me in earlier. He says, “It’s all right, there’s nobody in here,” and the woman laughs like he has just told her a joke.

This is a moment. I feel like I’m in a film. It’s not like being burgled because this isn’t my house and I’m sure they don’t mean me any harm. In fact, they mean each other the opposite.

Surely they can hear my clock dripping seconds? Surely they can hear me wheezing?

They approach, closer and closer, towards the bed. The room isn’t huge but it seems to be taking them ages to cross it. I don’t know what to do. In my old T-shirt and M&S pants, I don’t know what to do. I should speak. I should say with authority, “Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” But I don’t.

I could just lie here, as still as a book, and let them get in. It could be a moment of great gentleness, a moment between strangers. I would be like a chubby, wheezing Yorkshire pillow between them. I could be a metaphor for something timeless and unspoken.

They get closer. The woman reaches her hand across the bed and she touches the man’s hand in a gesture of tenderness so fragile that it almost makes me sob.

I sit up and shout, “Bugger off!” and they turn and run, almost knocking my clock from the bedside table. The door crashes shut shakily and the room seems to reverberate.

This article first appeared in the 12 January 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Putin's revenge