- Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Former Fox News host turned podcaster Tucker Carlson went to Moscow this week to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin.

When pictures of Mr. Carlson in Russia hit the internet, the trolls came out in droves. The old trope that Mr. Carlson is a Kremlin stooge reemerged, with the BBC saying, “Tucker Carlson has been an outspoken defender of Mr. Putin since the war began.”

“Just before Russia’s invasion [of Ukraine], he claimed that ’hating Putin has become the central purpose of America’s foreign policy.’ but urged his viewers to ask themselves why,” the BBC wrote.

The BBC also quoted Mr. Carlson: “Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? These are fair questions, and the answer to all of them is: No. Vladimir Putin didn’t do any of that.”

So, this is clearly proof that Mr. Carlson loves Mr. Putin.

But in a powerful video statement posted on X on Tuesday, Mr. Carlson laid out why he was in Moscow, and only the most callow could take issue with the well-articulated reasons for his visit.

“First, because it’s our job. We’re in journalism. Our duty is to inform people. Two years into a war that’s reshaping the entire world, most Americans are not informed. They have no real idea what’s happening in this region, here in Russia or 600 miles away in Ukraine,” he said.

Mr. Carlson made clear he’s no Kremlin stooge. “We are not here because we love Vladimir Putin. We are here because we love the United States. And we want it to remain prosperous and free. We paid for this trip ourselves,” Mr. Carlson said.

Mr. Carlson said he’s interviewing Mr. Putin because the mainstream media has no interest in seeking answers and instead is busy promoting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “like he’s a new consumer brand.”

“Not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview the president of the other country involved in this conflict, Vladimir Putin. 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. Freedom of speech is our birthright.”

Mr. Carlson made clear that Mr. Putin’s war has come at a tremendous cost. “The war in Ukraine is a human disaster. It’s left hundreds of thousands of people dead, an entire generation of young Ukrainians, and it has depopulated the largest country in Europe. But the long-term effects are even more profound.”

He also pointed out that the war is changing everything about the world we know. “This war has utterly reshaped the global military and trade alliances, and the sanctions that followed have as well and in total, they have upended the world economy. The post-World War II economic order, the system that guaranteed prosperity in the West for more than 80 years, is coming apart very fast, and along with it the dominance of the U.S. dollar.”

Mr. Carlson went on to say Americans don’t really know what’s happening because the mainstream media won’t tell them.

“The populations of the English-speaking countries seem mostly unaware. They think that nothing has really changed. And they think that because no one has told them the truth. Their media outlets are corrupt; they lie to the readers and viewers, and they do that mostly by omission.”

“For example, since the day the war in Ukraine began, American media outlets have spoken to scores of people from Ukraine, and they have done scores of interviews with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. We ourselves have put in a request for an interview with Zelenskyy; we hope he accepts. But the interviews he’s already done in the United States are not traditional interviews. They are fawning pep sessions specifically designed to amplify Zelenskyy’s demand that the U.S. enter more deeply into a war in Eastern Europe — and pay for it,” he said.

“That is not journalism. It is government propaganda, propaganda of the ugliest kind, the kind that kills people,” he said.

And that’s why Mr. Carlson is there: to ask Mr. Putin the tough questions. Judging from his history, he’ll do exactly that, and the world will know more tomorrow than it knows today. That’s good journalism.

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on X @josephcurl.

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