Carlson announced in a video from Moscow on Tuesday that he was in the Russian capital to interview Putin, noting that Americans have a right to know about a war (with Ukraine) that they are paying for substantially.Kremlin later confirmed that the interview has already taken place.
The US establishment fears that the interview will be used by Moscow to make its case (about the Ukraine war) directly to the American people in what Washington sees as propaganda facilitated by Carlson, who shares benign view of Putin as does his patron Trump.
Rants and allegations about Carlson being “Putin’s puppet” flew thick and fast on Wednesday, with unsubtle threats from some quarters, including from some European lawmakers, about sanctioning him for his outreach.
Carlson, who like Trump, does not share the pathology that the US mainstream harbors towards Putin, was unapologetic about reaching out to the Russian leader, who is regarded as public enemy #1 in many western capitals, antipathy that is not shared in most parts of the world — or even among the fringe right Trump constituency in the US.
Trump himself was pilloried as Putin puppet when he was in the White House, in part a legacy of a US national security establishment constantly in search of an adversary to justify trillions in military expenditure.
“Most Americans have no idea why Putin invaded Ukraine, or what his goals are now. They’ve never heard his voice. That’s wrong. Americans have a right to know all they can about a war they’re implicated in, and we have the right to tell them about it, because we are Americans, too,” Carlson explained in a four minute video pmn Tuesday.
He also panned the US media for sucking up to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, describing their interviews with him as “fawning pep sessions specifically designed to amplify Zelenskyy’s demand that the US enter more deeply into a war in Eastern Europe.”
The Putin interview is expected to be posted in the next few hours on Carlson own platform and on X, formerly Twitter, whose owner Elon Musk (like Trump and Carlson) also has reservations about the mainstream media, and who appeared to implicitly back Carlson’s Putin outreach.
But the mainly liberal-left mainstream media went into a complete meltdown even as some commentators pointed out that the American press has a long history of interviewing leaders Washington regards as enemies, citing Barbara Walters interviewing Fidel Castro at the height of the US-Cuba estrangement. Putin himself has been interviewed by two other American journalists in the past five years.
The anti-Trump brigade, which sees Carlson as a Trump surrogate, believe he is more a propagandist than a journalist, and are convinced that MAGA Republicans led by Trump will compromise US national security by throwing Ukraine (and Europe/NATO) under the bus.
“The architects of the coming Russian victory in Europe & the enablers of the new axis of autocracy between Russia, China, and Iran aren’t in Moscow, Tehran, or Beijing. They’re in D.C., & every last one of them is a Republican,” one prominent anti-Trumper wrote.
And from California lawmaker, Democrat Adam Schiff: “There are idiots. And useful idiots. And really really useful idiots. And Tucker Carlson.”