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

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Can Philip Hammond save the Conservatives from public anger at their DUP deal?

The Chancellor has the wriggle room to get close to the DUP's spending increase – but emotion matters more than facts in politics.

The magic money tree exists, and it is growing in Northern Ireland. That’s the attack line that Labour will throw at Theresa May in the wake of her £1bn deal with the DUP to keep her party in office.

It’s worth noting that while £1bn is a big deal in terms of Northern Ireland’s budget – just a touch under £10bn in 2016/17 – as far as the total expenditure of the British government goes, it’s peanuts.

The British government spent £778bn last year – we’re talking about spending an amount of money in Northern Ireland over the course of two years that the NHS loses in pen theft over the course of one in England. To match the increase in relative terms, you’d be looking at a £35bn increase in spending.

But, of course, political arguments are about gut instinct rather than actual numbers. The perception that the streets of Antrim are being paved by gold while the public realm in England, Scotland and Wales falls into disrepair is a real danger to the Conservatives.

But the good news for them is that last year Philip Hammond tweaked his targets to give himself greater headroom in case of a Brexit shock. Now the Tories have experienced a shock of a different kind – a Corbyn shock. That shock was partly due to the Labour leader’s good campaign and May’s bad campaign, but it was also powered by anger at cuts to schools and anger among NHS workers at Jeremy Hunt’s stewardship of the NHS. Conservative MPs have already made it clear to May that the party must not go to the country again while defending cuts to school spending.

Hammond can get to slightly under that £35bn and still stick to his targets. That will mean that the DUP still get to rave about their higher-than-average increase, while avoiding another election in which cuts to schools are front-and-centre. But whether that deprives Labour of their “cuts for you, but not for them” attack line is another question entirely. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

0800 7318496