There’s a new column from New York Times media columnist Ben Smith that suggests Fox News host Tucker Carlson might be working with journalists more than he lets on.

Let me say this right off the bat — the column will be pretty interesting to those who follow the business of news media. But it offers insight into the Fox News host as well. So if you’re a Carlson fan, you may find these details interesting.

What NYT told us about Tucker Carlson

Smith wrote in his column over the weekend that Carlson has often called journalists “cringing animals who are not worthy of respect.”

  • But, at the same time, it’s been an “open secret” that Carlson has shared some gossip and information with news outlets, too, per Smith.

Smith reported that journalists from outside The New York Times said Carlson has shared stories about former President Donald Trump and internal Fox News politics.

  • “It’s so unknown in the general public how much he plays both sides,” one reporter told Smith.
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Michael Wolff, an author of a forthcoming book of essays about the Trump administration, recently wrote about this topic, according to Smith’s piece:

  • “In Trump’s Washington, Tucker Carlson is a primary supersecret source,” wrote Wolff, according to Smith. “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.”

What did Carlson say in response?

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Carlson told Smith in response to questions about sharing gossip, “I don’t know any gossip. I live in a town of 100 people,” he said. Carlson lives in a remote section of Maine, according to Bangor Daily News.

What this means for the media industry and Carlson

The column raises interesting questions about the media industry. Indeed, Business Insider suggested that Carlson — despite being “a tireless baiter and opponent of liberal elites,” per Business Insider — is a media insider.

  • “He was one of the key media voices of Trump’s political movement, with the former president frequently consulting him for advice,” according to Business Insider.
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Consider this example. CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter told Smith that “you can see Tucker’s fingerprints all over the hardcover” edition of Stelter’s 2020 book “Hoax.”

“The possibility that Carlson was whispering background tidbits to Stelter while publicly mistreating him says little about ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ that we don’t already know: It’s a sham dedicated to hoodwinking its most dedicated viewers,” Wemple wrote.

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