New York Times: Tucker Carlson a source for many journalists

Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonDon Lemon defends Tucker Carlson amid confrontation video Fox News blasts 'ambush' of Carlson at Montana fly-fishing store Psaki says Biden admin 'needs' Fox News in order to fight vaccine misinformation MORE served as a key source for many top political journalists in Washington, D.C., during former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE's time in the White House, according to a new report. 

Carlson's relationship with several members of the Washington press corps was detailed in a column by The New York Times's Ben Smith, who revealed that he has texted with and spoken to Carlson on and off the record on several occasions, as have other national journalists covering politics and media. 

Citing more than a dozen working journalists, some of them identified and others anonymous, Smith called Carlson's relationship with members of the media, whom he often criticizes on his nightly program, "one of Washington’s open secrets." 

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"Mr. Carlson, a proud traitor to the elite political class, spends his time when he’s not denouncing the liberal media trading gossip with them," Smith wrote. "He’s the go-to guy for sometimes-unflattering stories about Donald J. Trump and for coverage of the internal politics of Fox News (not to mention stories about Mr. Carlson himself)." 

Carlson, who hosts the highest-rated prime-time cable news show in the country, has positioned himself as a Washington insider, particularly in the age of Trump, Smith reported. 

"His Fox platform, where in May he had a nightly average of three million viewers, made him someone who mattered to Mr. Trump, a close follower of television ratings," Smith writes. "He has a former reporter’s eye for detail and anecdote, and his observations can be detected in the lurid tales of Mr. Trump’s chaotic court and Fox’s own tumultuous internal politics." 

Maxwell Tani, a media reporter at the Daily Beast, told Smith that top brass at Fox News are aware of Carlson's relationships in the media. 

“Whenever there’s a positive story about Tucker, some Fox executives assume he’s had a hand in it,” Tani said. 

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Irena Briganti, Fox's executive vice president for corporate communications, told Smith that it was “not really surprising for anyone who works in media to talk to the press.”

Smith wrote that Carlson has shown an ability to deftly influence media coverage of him, his program and his commentary, which has repeatedly sparked controversy and condemnation. 

“I don’t know any gossip. I live in a town of 100 people,” Carlson told Smith, the columnist wrote, making a reference to his life in a small town in Maine.