How do other people deal with the torrent of information that pours down on us all? Do they have some secret? Perhaps. We are asking various journalists who seem well-informed to describe their media diets. This is from an exchange with Tucker Carlson, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, Fox News correspondent, and senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
Every morning around 5 a.m., I get an email from The Daily Caller’s overnight aggregator, so that’s the first thing I read when I wake up around 6. Then, in bed, I’ll pull up The Daily Caller on my iPhone to see what’s gone up. From there, I open the New York Times—I really like their app—and read it cover to cover, which takes me about half an hour. I read the breaking news first and then the obituaries. I read every obit, always, as a sign of respect, but also because I think they’re very interesting. Then I read Politics, New York, Science, and Technology. I follow that with the Huffington Post.
Around 6:45, I go downstairs and run for 45 minutes on the treadmill while watching Morning Joe. On weekends, I watch fishing shows and run farther.
When I’m finished, I read the New York Post in print. Every person in my house reads the New York Post cover to cover every day. My kids are 7, 10, 13, and 15, and they all enjoy it on different levels. My son got hooked on sports and that was a gateway to crime. My girls love the filthy celebrity stuff. My wife loves everything. We also subscribe to the New York Times, which my wife reads in print, the Washington Post, and the Washington Examiner.
In my car on the way to work, I hate to admit, I will listen to NPR. The commute’s only 9 minutes so it’s not too much NPR, but I do listen to it.
I get to work around 8 and start reading our site and other sites: Newser, Mediaite, Hot Air, which is a pretty good aggregator and pretty funny, Slate, Politics Daily, obviously the Huffington Post, and Drudge. I bookmark these sites and keep up with them all day. I don’t use an RSS reader because I like bumping into things accidentally. I’m interested in what the people who run the site want me to know, so I go to the front pages of websites.
I would say 40 percent of my news content, though, comes from the oral tradition, from stuff I hear. Lunch is one of my main sources of news. I’ll eat with my colleagues or usually with someone I don’t work with and pick up tons of news.
I had a Facebook account—I guess I still do—but I maxed out on friends. They wouldn’t let me add anymore after 5,000 or something, and then I felt so unbelievably guilty that I had this long list of people wanting to be my friend that I stopped checking my account. It seemed like an offense against good manners.
After lunch, I’m so deep into email that my reading takes a hit. I’ve found the email tsunami has made me less thoughtful and more reactive—my goal is to clean out the inbox, not consider what the email says. On the drive home, I email at every red light. Stop me if you can! I really try to have dinner with my kids every night, but around 8:30, I’m embarrassed to say I put the kids to bed and get back to the grind.
I travel a lot, so on days I’m in the air I read magazines: The Atlantic, the New Yorker, The New Republic, four different fly fishing magazines, The Weekly Standard, Vanity Fair. I read them all, every issue, always.
I read good opinion pieces every day, but mostly I’m still a sucker for the long-form magazine pieces. I’m just pandering to the writers of The Atlantic here. But no, really, I’m convinced that’s the best way to get to the truth of something. Even more than books—you can really equivocate in a book, but in 8 or 10,000 words, you have to make a decision about what you believe.
The New Yorker’s politics are so stupid, honestly so stupid, like I-never-get-out-and-meet-anybody-outside-my-neighborhood stupid, but I still read it every week. I would read Larissa MacFarquhar—whom I’ve never met, I don’t know anything about her—I would read a profile of my car if she wrote it. She is a very talented writer in a way that I respect. I wish I had more of that writing in my life.
I don’t read magazines in bed, though. My father’s rule growing up was when you get into bed, books only. I keep that rule pretty much in place for my kids, and I try to read books that have nothing to do with normal life. Last night I finished this incredible book called Tent Life in Siberia, written by George Kennan (not the Soviet scholar, but his relative, who was a surveyor for a telegraph company). My father gave it to me for Christmas.
We go to Maine in the summertime, and we don’t get newspapers or television there and have never had Internet. All we ever get is radio, so we listen to a lot of Maine Public Radio. We listen to opera on Saturday nights—I don’t even really like opera, but it’s great—we listen to Car Talk, and Prairie Home Companion, and all that stuff. It’s really nice.