January 11th, 2010
New website alert! Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller officially launched this week, taking its place alongside Politico, HuffingtonPost, Slate, Salon and a host of internet publications fighting for political eyeballs and online ad revenue. The early verdict? Nice work on the business front (the site’s initial advertising inventory is apparently sold out), but that situation’s unlikely to last unless this sucker ups its ante on the content front.
For starters, the front page seems to feature quite a few stories until you realize that everything NOT labeled “The DC Exclusive” is a reprint/teaser from some other publication. Even several of the “Exclusive” stories are essentially derivative: “Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel admits weak messaging on health care from White House” does little more than quote his appearance on an MSNBC show, while “Liberal Ezra Klein and conservative George Will: Harry Reid wasn’t wrong” is an even better example of copy/paste substituting for actual journalism.
At least The Daily Caller’s not afraid to bring the sexy back to online politics, judging from the impressive array of mammalian splendour that illustrated Tucker’s own story on the most recent White House gate crasher and that dominated the site above-the-fold as of this morning (a couple of other stories featured on the front page focused on Peter Orszag’s love child and a dead-and-burned Playboy model).
Let’s hope that as TDC grows, the editors will focus less on flashy headlines and more on good words and good ideas, living up to Tucker’s claim that “the site will be distinguished by original reporting, including his own.” Politico, HuffPo, et al have succeeded because they kept breaking or publishing new and relevant stories, and TDC will stand or fall on the same ground. For now, one friend of mine referred to it as a cross between “Politico, Drudge and the NY Post,” while another suggested “Pajamas Media meets The Daily Beast.” In other words, not much new to see here, except in a name.