David Carr, 58, was the media columnist for the New York Times. He was a talented but dishonest drug addict who was more than a touch nepotistic.
No one is yet saying what the cause of death was but I’ve heard from enough friends in the know in New York to suspect that Carr returned to using cocaine again.
A friend writes in:
If he was going to casinos with Vice CEO Shane Smith and watching hundreds of thousands of dollars get made and lost, he was at a level of hedonism that definitely involved cocaine. He went back on coke and had a heart attack. I just know it. Us old coke heads remember doing lines and when we do them after a 10 year absence, the heart can’t handle it.
(We’ll return to Shane Smith and Carr in a second.)
Many people have asked me what I think about his death. More than a few have asked if I had a hand in it. (I didn’t though I’m sure tweets like this may have contributed if the drug story is true.)
Let me just say that I think Carr was a reflection of the time: dishonest but authoritative. His work was loved by a media class which has ill served the country and which lies to get it’s way. (One of Carr’s last acts was to defend Brian Williams and you all know how this website helped bring Williams down. I suspect that part of the reason he defended Williams is that he also made up things about his past.)
Carr was that palace guard’s big think man with a colorful, exciting past.
Everyone likes second chances even if they involve talking about killing people and beating up women so long as you have the right politics.
Carr was adored and feted and invited to moderate panel after panel on the new media. He was the subject of a decent documentary on the New York Times, Page One.
I knew Carr from that film. I agreed to do what I knew was going to be a hit piece against me but I treated it seriously giving Carr three hours of my time and explaining to him patiently.
Here’s what he cut out from his profile and here’s my response.
Carr next asked me about President Obama and my Twitter musings that Obama is a homosexual. He asked me if I knew where President Obama was born. I said probably Hawaii. (I wasn’t there, were you?) He asked me if I knew who President Obama’s father was and I said I didn’t know. (I strongly suspect it is Frank Marshall Davis, by the way, but I’m only going to publish what I know about Obama when I’m rich or have a 100,000 followers or both.) I also pointed out that there’s a lot about Obama that we don’t know yet and that I blame a lot of the media for failing to vet him.
Carr next asked me if I was a racist (thought not if I was a witch) and I said that I don’t regard the taboos against race, gender, etc., as particularly interesting. I told him how I was inspired by Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s essay “Live Not By Lies,” the artist Ai Weiwei, and an essay by Paul Graham called “What You Can’t Say.” Somehow these rather cultured influences didn’t make the final cut. I have read hundreds of books about media since I was a paper boy, after all.
I explained to him my vision for the media, how I had worked for Andrew Breitbart and the Wall Street Journal editorial page, how crowdfunding is journalism’s future, and how the salary model is going away and being replaced by the click model. He said that he was fascinated in how I dealt with the hate arrayed toward me and compared me to that creature from Ghost Busters II (who is juvenile now?). He said that everyone he talks to about me says that I get a lot of stuff right but that I’ve got some stuff wrong. And I said that a lot of publications get a lot more stuff wrong than I do and that I’m being selectively criticized even though I’m one of the most influential young journalists in the country. He was kind enough to pay me the credit of outing Elizabeth O’Bagy, that fired neocon foreign policy analyst that tried to lie us into war in Syria. (In so doing I severed my relationship with the Wall Street Journal editorial page but I would do it again, I said. In fact, my award from the journal is framed next to the letter I got rebuked me for my honesty from the opinion page editor, Paul Gigot.)
Carr turned around and wrote some nasty, false things about me. Here’s but a sentence that fully captures just how dishonest he was.
“What they will find is a clear look into the molten core of a certain mind-set, a place where conspiracies are legion, victims are portrayed as perpetrators and so-called news is a fig leaf on a far darker art,” he wrote after I exposed Jackie Coakley’s fake rape at the University of Virginia.
Here I was reduced into a villain after I explained to him my strategy and reported the truth. It taught me something, though:
The media will never respect a challenger. You must either defeat them or join them. There is no middle way. And what they say is true about you because they control access to history through Lexis-Nexis and circulation size–even if isn’t.
I knew this already. I had read Carr’s obituary of my friend and old boss, Andrew Breitbart. After Breitbart died Carr wrote that James O’Keefe and Breitbart had worked together to smear Shirley Sherrod in an undercover takedown. O’Keefe had nothing to do with the Sherrod episode and a friend of mine contacted him asking for a correction but there it is still to this day unchanged.
It still isn’t true but Carr didn’t do a correction because he doesn’t do corrections.
Carr also slimed Mike Judge, a one-time Gotnews.com contributor, who convincingly says that Carr made up a lot of stuff when he was an editor in Washington, D.C.
Carr had a lot of friends, chief among them Shane Smith of Vice.
@carr2n RIP brother. You were the last of a dying breed. It all just gets shittier from here.
— shane smith (@shanesmith30) February 13, 2015
Some of these friendships were definitely conflicts of interest.
We talked about Smith who I exposed at the Daily Caller as a serial fraud and a liar. Carr admitted that Smith was a “bullshitter.”
David Carr of the New York Times publicly criticized Smith on video for that anti-journalist attitude in the 2011 documentary Page One: Inside the New York Times. Smith, interviewed by Carr, criticized the Times for “writing about surfing” and not the human tragedy of Liberia that he said he saw when he went there for “The Vice Guide to Liberia,” an online video.
“I’m sitting there going like, ‘You know? I’m not going to talk about surfing, I’m going to talk about cannibalism, because that fucks me up,’” Smith said.
“Just a sec, time out,” Carr interrupted. “Before you ever went there, we’ve had reporters there reporting on genocide after genocide,” he fumed. “Just because you put on a fucking safari helmet and looked at some poop doesn’t give you the right to insult what we do. So, continue.”
“I’m just saying that I’m not a journalist. I’m not there to report…” Smith replied.
“Yeah, obviously,” Carr shot back.
That exchange didn’t make it into Carr’s final 2010 article. Instead, he wrote a glowing profile of Smith, praising his videographic work as “pretty rugged, pretty wonderful,” especially his work on North Korea.
Only later did it emerge that Carr’s daughter, Erin Lee Carr, was hired by VICE after the scene was shot — but before the Times documentary came out — raising the possibility that Smith was trying to curry favor with Carr and the Times, a tactic that he often uses to inoculate himself from criticism, say former employees.
Smith later lied about their relationship and friendship.
Carr later changed his position.
That clip of David Carr dressing down Vice guys is fun, but fastforward to 2014 & his position changed considerably: http://t.co/Mutnz5oaGA
— I'm Gary (@noyokono) February 13, 2015
Could it be because his daughter got a job there?
I’d reach out to her but she blocked me awhile back when I mentioned it.
I’m sorry David Carr is dead but I’m excited about what his death represents in media… authority. It can’t come soon enough. As these voices die off, more media freedom will become the standard rather than the rule.
Bob Simon, who was a correspondent at 60 Minutes, is dead. David Carr, who was the go to voice for the media elite, is dead.
Jon Stewart’s Daily Show is dead. Brian Williams’s career is dead (with a push from Gotnews.com!). The whole concept of an anchor man is dead. Good.
Conquering breaking news and you’ll conquer the news cycle and you’ll endure, especially if you can do it cheaply.
This is going to be awesome.
This was a week of body blows to the Narrative Keepers.
This is the beginning of the end. It’s sad that David Carr didn’t get to see us kill his beloved New York Times.