Tucker Carlson, host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” poses for photos in a Fox News Channel studio in New York in March 2017. (Richard Drew/AP)
Media critic

The Daily Caller harbored a racist. Or, better said, another racist.

The Atlantic’s Rosie Gray uses leaked chat logs to establish that Scott Greer, who joined the Daily Caller in 2014, posted under the name “Michael McGregor,” on Radix Journal, a publication founded and published by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

The postings brim with hatred, as Gray excavates in her story. For instance:

The pseudonymous Michael McGregor posts frequently expressed racist antiblack views. In a post on protests in Baltimore after Freddie Gray died of a spinal-cord injury while in police custody in 2015, Greer wrote: “Cops are now the preferred scapegoats for the sole reason that they are the symbols of a justice system Blacks hate, a justice system Blacks want undermined for their benefit. However, this justice system has to be harsh on Blacks in order to preserve stability and a measure of safety in a multiracial state. The current campaign against tough policing, if successful, would effectively turn any city with a large percentage of Blacks into a third world hellhole.”

There’s also anti-Semitism, sexism and generalized bigotry in the oeuvre.

As Gray herself notes, Greer’s views and affiliations have previously drawn interest, as when the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in August 2017 wrote an exposé titled, “The Daily Caller Has a White Nationalist Problem.” The organization dug up photos of Greer in the company of white nationalists; in one instance, he was apparently wearing a T-shirt of Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), a now-defunct group whose name speaks for itself.

In a statement to the Atlantic, Daily Caller Publisher Neil Patel expressed skepticism about the SPLC and its conclusions about Greer. Citing Greer’s denial of the SPLC piece, Patel said, “We had two choices: Fire a young man because of some photos taken of him at metal shows in college, or take his word. We chose to trust him,” Patel told Gray. “Now, if what you allege is accurate, we know that trust was a mistake, we know he lied to us. We won’t publish him, anyone in these circles, or anyone who thinks like them. People who associate with these losers have no business writing for our company.”

In a statement posted to Twitter, Greer wrote that he’d left his editing job in June for a book project and “am now resigning any affiliation with the Caller.” The tone of the statement bagged regret in favor of hubris:

In my early twenties when it appeared our only mainstream options were Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, I was attracted to more radical ideas and expressed them under the name Michael McGregor at Radix Journal. As the political situation has evolved in recent years, so have my views. That said, I do not apologize for honestly stating what I believed to be correct at the time, unless everyone must apologize every time they change their opinion. I stopped writing for Radix in 2015. My tweets and Daily Caller columns are my honest views. The Daily Caller was unaware of my outside writings.

Bolding inserted to highlight a rather un-journalistic statement, considering that Greer in this instance is characterizing the mind-set of dozens of people. How does he know what they don’t know?

And what about those “honest” views in the Daily Caller? You can find them here, in the Daily Caller’s Scott Greer archive, full of polite bigotry. Here’s a pro-Columbus tract; here’s a sophisticated piece of whataboutism distracting from Trump’s Charlottesville disgrace; here’s a gripe that the head of the Department of Homeland Security might not be on board with Trump’s “America First agenda“; here’s a story on Freddie Gray’s “long rap sheet.”

Enough focus on Patel and Greer, however. Another person who needs to answer for all this is Tucker Carlson, who co-founded the Daily Caller in 2010 and served as its top editor all the way through November 2016, when he relinquished those duties to take his slot in prime time at Fox News. Considering that Greer was hired under Carlson’s watch, we passed along these questions to him:

Hi Mr. Carlson: Today the Atlantic published a story about Scott Greer, a former Daily Caller editor who was posting racist tracts on another website:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/09/a-daily-caller-editor-wrote-for-an-alt-right-website-using-a-pseudonym/569335/

These writings overlap with the time he worked under your management at the Daily Caller, at least a couple of years before you began working in a prime-time capacity at Fox News and ceased your managerial duties at the site. And so I am seeking answers to the following questions:

*What did you know about Greer’s racist views and writings?

*Did you interview him before his hiring?

*Did you ever hear about his contributions to Radix?

*What is your view on the writings exposed by The Atlantic?

Thanks for any consideration of these questions.

Carlson replied:

Dear Erik,

You are a dishonest hack and also kind of an idiot, but since you asked, I’d never heard of any of this until Rosie’s piece.

Please print my entire quote. Also, please consider another profession. I realize you’re deep into middle age but it’s not too late. You’re not suited to this.

Best,

Tucker

In turn, we replied:

Thanks so much for getting back to me, Mr. Carlson. I understand that you may have not heard about this until the piece in The Atlantic. However, did you ever hear Greer, while in your employ, express any of the views that he was expressing pseudonymously at this other website.

Again, I appreciate your consideration here.

We received no reply to that last message.

The claim of ignorance from Carlson echoes a similar situation reported last year by this blog. Chuck Ross, another Daily Caller staffer who worked under Carlson, had written a collection of racist essays and blog posts under the nom de plume Chuck Rudd. When pressed on those items, Ross renounced the views expressed therein and apologized with all his might for his actions. At the time, Carlson issued a statement through Fox News saying, “Chuck’s excellent reporting for The Daily Caller speaks for itself.”

A subsequent interview with the Erik Wemple Blog surfaced much more material:

Wemple: Did you ever read Chuck Ross’s writings before you hired him at the Daily Caller?

Carlson: No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Wemple: Well, I asked you this, too, a few weeks ago. I wrote about Chuck Ross. He had these racist writings —

Carlson: Yeah, but it wasn’t in the paper.

Wemple: — in the blog, in his blog, and then he was hired at the Daily Caller when you were there. Did you ever read any of that? Did those writings serve as a qualification for him in any way?

Carlson: Yeah, I mean, I think you know as well as I that a) I don’t supervise the Daily Caller or have any role in his management whatsoever and haven’t in over a year, per my contract here at Fox. So I had no role in the response to those blog posts that he apparently wrote. I have no knowledge beyond what you just said. My understanding is that all of those were unearthed later, and I think that you would know that, too. And so your question isn’t so much a question; it’s an attempt to tar me once again —

Wemple: No, it’s an actual question.

Carlson: — with views I don’t hold. So why don’t we just skip the middleman here and get right to it? Why don’t you ask me a series of actual questions about what I think or don’t think and I’ll tell you? Would that be easier? Because you’re trying to suggest that I’m a secret racist who like, is friends with David Duke, or, he likes me, therefore it’s my fault somehow. Or someone I once hired — who by the way is an excellent reporter — wrote awful things on an anonymous blog post years ago. And that, as you put it, might have been a qualification for me hiring him? You know what I mean?

Wemple: Well, he went straight from writing white supremacy posts to going to full-time employment at the Daily Caller.

Carlson: I think it kind of goes without saying that I didn’t know anything about that. Maybe it doesn’t go without saying. Let me just say: I had no idea that Chuck Ross had written anything like that. Chuck Ross is a totally straight and excellent reporter — or was when he worked for me.

Wemple: Right. Well that’s all I wanted to know, whether you knew about it.

Carlson: I guess what bothers me is, you’re again trying to use something that I knew nothing about to try and tar me. And I’m inviting you, for the fourth time, to ask me direct questions about what I think. You’re looking for witches, and I’m telling you, if I’m practicing witchcraft, I’ll admit it. So why don’t you just ask me? Pick five topics and I’ll answer the question as honestly as I possibly can. Wouldn’t that just be easier? Instead of going through this whole like childish, “Someone who worked for you once wrote something naughty online — did you know?” It’s like, I don’t know, why you just ask me what I think?

As Gray notes, one of the topics addressed by Greer on Radix was white South African farmers — a cause that Carlson himself championed last month. Based on bogus representations, Carlson ginned up fervor about the South African government’s approach to white-owned farmland, prompting an approving tweet from President Trump. Surely he’ll return to this proven generator of white fear.

In February 2017, Carlson hosted Greer on his Fox News program, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which has been formally renamed on this blog as “White Grievance Tonight.” And in this particular segment of “White Grievance Tonight,” Carlson and Greer discussed the latter’s book, titled, “No Campus for White Men.” Greer summed up his findings about higher-ed culture: “If you’re privileged, that’s the worst thing you can be. But being a victim is the best thing you can be. But when your victimhood isn’t assigned … based on socioeconomic status — you could be the son of a poor coal miner from West Virginia and you’re privileged. And you can be the son of a wealthy multimillionaire but African-American and you’re oppressed.” Over at the Daily Caller, a contributor wrote a sweet summary of the Greer-Carlson agree-fest.

UDPATE: Patel has written a response to this blog’s questions as to whether the Daily Caller is investigating its managerial practices in light of these developments:

I remember being pretty surprised the first time I saw a video of some so called alt-right guys with their nazi haircuts doing their Heil Hitler salutes. I believed then and still believe today that this remains a tiny fringe group not representative of very much in America. The 12 or so of them who showed up for their recent rally in DC seem to prove that point. There is no place at The Daily Caller for people like that and there never has been. That someone who used to work here associated in any way with people like that is embarrassing and not at all representative of all the good people working hard here every day. To answer your question, yes we are handling the matter internally and the short of it is there is no spot here for any of these fringe characters. Beyond that, I am not going to insert myself or the company in between the multi-year pissing match you have had with Tucker. That would be gross.