Tucker Carlson is now adopting a much different tone on Vladimir Putin than the one he used earlier in the week. "I don't think anybody approves of what Putin did," the Fox host said on his show Thursday night, per the Los Angeles Times. "I certainly don't." That's a big shift from Tuesday, before the Russian invasion, when Carlson downplayed the Ukraine-Russia matter as a "border dispute" and suggested that "permanent Washington" was unfairly vilifying Putin. Carlson came under bipartisan criticism for those comments, and on Thursday he made clear that he faults the Russian leader.
"Vladimir Putin started this war, so whatever the context of the decision that he made, he did it," said Tucker, per the Washington Post. "He fired the first shots ... and he is to blame tonight for what we’re seeing tonight in the Ukraine." He further called it a "tragedy." Prior to Thursday, Tucker's comments were seen as so supportive of Putin that Russian TV ran excerpts of his commentary with subtitles, notes the Intercept. Another media turnabout: Journalist Matt Taibbi apologized to readers at TK News for misreading the situation and arguing that Putin would not invade. "To readers who trust me not to make those misjudgments, I’m sorry," he wrote. "Obviously, Putin’s invasion will have horrific consequences for years to come and massively destabilize the world." (Read more Tucker Carlson stories.)