The Fox News host Tucker Carlson has sold his stake in The Daily Caller, stepping away from the Washington-based conservative news and opinion site he co-founded in 2010 as an alternative to left-leaning outlets like The Huffington Post.
Mr. Carlson, one of the country’s most prominent conservative commentators, retained financial ties to The Daily Caller after taking up his prime-time role at Fox News in 2017. But he had yielded day-to-day oversight to his co-founder and college roommate Neil Patel, the site’s publisher and a former chief policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.
“I haven’t had editorial input” since his prime-time show began, Mr. Carlson said in an interview on Wednesday, adding that he sold his stake in the site last year. “Neil runs it. I wasn’t adding anything. So we made it official.”
Mr. Patel, who met Mr. Carlson when they lived together at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., confirmed in an email that he had purchased his former roommate’s stake, but declined to disclose the sum. Fox News declined to comment on Mr. Carlson’s transaction.
The Daily Caller was a pioneer in online conservative journalism, though its influence has faded in recent years as once-fringe sites like Breitbart News made inroads with right-wing audiences. Mr. Carlson, who began his career as a writer for magazines like The Weekly Standard and Esquire, had placed an emphasis on original reporting at The Daily Caller, and the site was granted entry to the coveted presidential press pool by the White House Correspondents’ Association.
A former host on CNN and MSNBC, Mr. Carlson has become a central star of Fox News, where his 8 p.m. show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” recently eclipsed “Hannity” as the top ratings draw among adults 25 to 54 years old, the most important age demographic in cable news. Last week, Mr. Carlson drew about one million viewers in that category, and 4.8 million viewers over all.
His program has proved to be a lightning rod for controversy, including in recent days, as Mr. Carlson has devoted his monologues to denouncing nationwide demonstrations against police brutality as violent riots led by “criminal mobs.”
On Monday, Mr. Carlson was sharply criticized after he said on-air that the widespread unrest “is definitely not about black lives, and remember that when they come for you.” Fox News later said that Mr. Carlson’s use of the pronoun “they” referred to Democratic leaders and mayors, not protesters.
The Daily Caller has not been immune from its own scandals. In 2015, for instance, the site retracted an anti-Semitic headline, and in 2018 it cut ties with an editor who, it emerged, had contributed to a white nationalist website.
On Wednesday, Mr. Patel said that he was now the majority owner of The Daily Caller. Foster Friess, a conservative donor who was one of the initial investors in the site, remains a part owner. Mr. Carlson’s decision to sell his stake was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Patel said the site was profitable and reiterated that, as publisher, he remained committed to news reporting alongside punditry and entertainment.
“We will be a place committed to civil debate,” Mr. Patel wrote in an email. “Not enough people in our country are talking openly with those outside their bubbles. I sincerely want us to be a place where that happens.”
Several former Daily Caller reporters now occupy prominent roles in Washington journalism, including the CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins and David Martosko, who covered the White House for The Daily Mail of London.