The Daily Caller, a news website that makes its debut today as a sort of right-wing Huffington Post, carries a feature by Gov. Tim Pawlenty on his balanced-budget amendment idea. Pawlenty is the only GOP presidential contender whose name appears on the initial main page of the site, which is founded and edited by conservative commentator and journalist Tucker Carlson.
The site will mix aggregation with original reporting, much of it done by freelancers, Carlson told David Weigel of the Washington Independent, sister site of the Minnesota Independent:
If there’s a story whose facts are verifiable, and it generates interest, and it comes from Satan himself, I will take it and I will pay him a reporting fee. But if we take a piece from Satan, that does not mean we’re on board with Satan’s agenda. It just means that the provenance of the piece, the origins of the piece, is not the most important thing. People don’t give you stuff because they love journalists. They give you that stuff because they’re pushing an agenda.
Pawlenty’s piece was apparently solicited especially for the website’s big splash today. Weigel writes that
Carlson and his staff are spending the final hours before the launch polishing off content that can break out of the gate – exclusive interviews, lists like the Top 15 Most Wasteful Stimulus Projects, and short features from think tankers and established politicos. Arianna Huffington will have one of the first pieces on the site.
Pawlenty appears directly below a “welcome note” by Huffington in the “Featured” column – and directly above the first installment of a diary by conservative columnist S.E. Cupp, who said last month that Pawlenty “can’t just sort of sit back and be a quiet governor much longer if he really wants to compete in 2012.”
Another post, labeled “DC Exclusive,” is decidedly T-Paw-friendly: “Massachusetts health program, model for Obama’s reform, strains state budget.” Dissing presidential rival Mitt Romney’s home state health plan was the theme of an op-ed Pawlenty wrote for the Washington Post back in August.