Top-rated conservative talker Mark Levin appeared to go after his Fox News colleague Tucker Carlson during a segment on his radio program Thursday afternoon following a report from a New York Times columnist claiming that Carlson is a major source for left-leaning journalists.
Media analyst Ben Smith wrote in a piece published last Sunday that Carlson was a “go-to” source for several Washington journalists and often provided “unflattering” background on former President Donald Trump.
“Mr. Carlson, a proud traitor to the elite political class, spends his time when he’s not denouncing the liberal media trading gossip with them. He’s the go-to guy for sometimes-unflattering stories about Donald J. Trump and for coverage of the internal politics of Fox News (not to mention stories about Mr. Carlson himself),” Smith wrote.
“I won’t talk here about any off-the-record conversations I may have had with him. But 16 other journalists (none from The Times; it would put my colleagues in a weird position if I asked them) told me on background that he has been, as three of them put it, ‘a great source,'” he added.
“In Trump’s Washington, Tucker Carlson is a primary supersecret source,” media writer and Trump historian Michael Wolff wrote in a soon-to-be-released collection of essays.
“I know this because I know what he has told me, and I can track his exquisite, too-good-not-to-be-true gossip through unsourced reports and as it often emerges into accepted wisdom,” Wolfe noted further.
Smith went on to suggest that Carlson was also a source for CNN’s media analyst Brian Stelter for his recently released book “Hoax,” which is highly critical of the Fox News Channel, Carlson’s employer. He said Stelter told him that “you can see Tucker’s fingerprints all over the hardcover” of his book, though he added that Stelter says he “couldn’t stomach” talking to Carlson again for the softcover update.
Carlson and Stelter regularly barb each other on their respective cable news programs.
Levin — who never mentions Carlson by name — expressed disgust over Smith’s details, nonetheless.
“I’ve been in this business almost 20 years. I worked in the Reagan administration for eight years,” said Levin. “I never once — not once — leaked anything to a newspaper or media outlet, ever. Let alone The New York Times and their ilk. Certainly not about the people around me.”
He added: “That is a serious misunderstanding of one’s role, of loyalty and character. Let me leave it at that.”
Levin appeared to be particularly upset at the alleged revelation that Carlson was a source for Stelter.
“I used to be approached by the likes of Brian Stelter, Oliver Darcy at CNN,” Levin said, noting the network’s other media analyst. “I never sat down with them. Never leaked anything to them.”
“You see, this isn’t a game to me. I’m not positioning myself. This is deadly serious … The real world matters here,” he continued.
“It’s hard enough to be a conservative on radio and TV, it’s hard enough to be a conservative at a newspaper, without people leaking against you. Just remember that.”
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