'he plays both sides'
Despite going after journalists as "animals," Fox News host Tucker Carlson is reportedly known to be a "great" anonymous source for reporters, including in "unflattering" stories about former President Donald Trump.
The New York Times' Ben Smith reported Sunday on Carlson's "reputation as a source of gossip and insight into the Trump administration," and 16 journalists confirmed that the Fox host has been a "great source," even though he publicly attacks the news media and accuses reporters of lying on his show.
"In Trump's Washington, Tucker Carlson is a primary supersecret source," Michael Wolff, author of the 2018 book about the Trump administration Fire and Fury, reportedly writes in a new essay collection. "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."
Indeed, the Times writes that it's "one of Washington's open secrets" that Carlson spends time "trading gossip" with the media, and he's reportedly the "go-to guy for sometimes-unflattering stories" about Trump. He's also reportedly a go-to source for stories about Fox News itself. CNN's Brian Stelter, for example, told the Times that "you can see Tucker's fingerprints all over the hardcover" edition of his Fox News book Hoax (though Stelter said he "couldn't stomach" talking to Carlson for the new paperback edition). And The Daily Beast's Maxwell Tani said that any time a "positive story about Tucker" comes out, Fox News executives "assume he's had a hand in it."
On the record, Carlson told the Times, "I don't know any gossip. I live in a town of 100 people." Still, one reporter said, "It's so unknown in the general public how much he plays both sides." Read more at The New York Times.