Just when I thought I was out …: Tucker Carlson goes on RCP‘s “Changing Lanes” to defend spiking Daily Caller pieces critical of Fox News, which employs him as a Fox & Friends co-host. I’m sick of this fight too, so I’ll be quick. 1) Tucker’s “rule” has the virtue of honesty. Better blatant than latent. 2) But he wasn’t transparent about it when he hired me — he didn’t tell me. Nor did he tell me about this seemingly significant “rule” in the years I wrote for him, before he spiked the column.  (I wrote at least 3 earlier Fox-trashing items. A mid-level editor gave me some guff for a couple of them but didn’t take them down or talk about a “rule.”) 3) I would hope that if Tucker had told me about the Rule I wouldn’t have taken my blog to his site. Who knows? 4) The Rule is not sustainable. We’re about to enter a media driven Republican presidential primary in which Fox is accused, not without basis, of favoring Jeb Bush. Daily Caller reporters can’t write about that? Insane. 5) Note that if you “can’t trash Fox on the site,” that means everything Daily Caller writes about Fox is suspect (of being BS) since they are presumably leaving out any bad parts, even if true. 6) Would Fox really insist on this “rule,” or is Tucker just being unnecessarily chicken? It’s not a conflict if Fox can tolerate criticism! I suspect they can’t, and Tucker is not being paranoid.

Update: Mediaite says it

has reached out to Fox and they told us explicitly that there has been no mandate [not to criticize it] whatsoever. Also from what we’ve been able to glean from others inside Fox, no one there really cares whether The Daily Caller criticizes them or not.

I’m skeptical. Fox’s PR department is famously aggressive and attentive. (“Fox watches very carefully what’s being said about them in the media. People assume Fox isn’t watching what’s being said about it, but it is,” a former Fox producer told the Washington Examiner.) One question left to ask Tucker — if anyone’s still interested in this incident (doubtful) — is whether anybody at Fox contacted him about the piece the morning he spiked it. I don’t know the answer.