Vladimir Putin Sits Down With Tucker Carlson

Journalists deride former Fox News host, who vows to 'inform' the American public
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2024 11:40 AM CST
Vladimir Putin Sits Down With Tucker Carlson
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool, File)

Tucker Carlson has become the first figure in the Western news media to formally interview Vladimir Putin since the Russian president launched his war on Ukraine two years ago. The former Fox News host turned online commentator announced Tuesday that he was in Moscow for the interview, which would shed light on "what's happening in this region." Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed Wednesday that the interview had taken place. Here's what to know:

  • Why? "Most Americans have no idea why Putin invaded Ukraine or what his goals are now," Carlson said in a video shared Tuesday on X. "They've never heard his voice. That's wrong." Carlson suggested Western media outlets had ignored Putin—whose war speech was widely covered—while amplifying Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "like he's a new consumer brand."
  • Censorship. What he failed to mention was that Putin has denied interviews to numerous Western news outlets, including the BBC, New York Times, and CNN. At the same time, his government "has drastically reduced the ability of Western journalists to cover Russia, and has imprisoned a Wall Street Journal correspondent," per the Times.

  • Journalists respond. "I guess he knows that Putin made it a crime to tell the truth about Russia's war on Ukraine?" BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford, who was booted from Russia in 2021, writes of Carlson, per Politico. Not hiding her indignance, exiled Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats derides Carlson for "teaching us about good journalism, shooting from the $1,000 Ritz suite in Moscow."
  • Why Carlson? Peskov claimed Carlson's positions "are different from the rest." As the Times reports, Carlson was likely embraced because he's been "the most prominent promoter of [Putin's] anti-Ukraine talking points in the United States." US journalist and historian Anne Applebaum writes Carlson "is not a journalist, he's a propagandist, with a history of helping autocrats conceal corruption."

  • Possible sanctions. Some European lawmakers who view Carlson as a "mouthpiece" for Putin are toying with the idea of adding him to the EU's sanctions list, barring him from travel within the union, per Newsweek. "As Putin is a war criminal and the EU sanctions all who assist him in that effort, it seems logical that the External Action Service examine his case as well," Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt tells the outlet.
  • Why now? The Russian president could see the interview as an opportunity to "inflame political divisions over Ukraine" and "reach a potentially sympathetic audience" as aid for Ukraine stalls in Congress, the Times reports.
  • When exactly? Carlson hasn't said when the interview, to air unedited on his website and X, will be released. However, "a Telegram channel believed to be run by Kremlin reporters indicated that it may be released on Thursday in the late afternoon Washington time," per Bloomberg.
(More Tucker Carlson stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.