The impact of Tucker Carlson, Vladimir Putin Interview

Former Fox News host, Tucker Carlson, says he will “soon” interview Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

In a video posted on X, formerly Twitter, Carlson said he wanted to interview because “Americans have a right to know all they can about a war they are implicated in”.

It would be Mr Putin’s first one-on-one interview with a Western journalist since he launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The Kremlin has not yet commented.

The 54-year-old’s visit to Moscow has been reported on voraciously in Russian state media, with near-constant coverage of his every move.

“There are risks to doing an interview like this, obviously, so we’ve thought about it over many months,” Carlson said on his announcement video.

Carlson added that he paid for the trip to Russia himself, and wanted to interview because “most Americans are not informed” on the conflict which is “reshaping the world” – blaming the mainstream media.

Since the war in Ukraine began, he said, Western journalists have interviewed Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky – whom he has previously called a “dictator” – many times.

But they are “fawning pep sessions” aimed at amplifying Mr Zelensky’s demand to get the US more and more involved in the war, Carlson insisted.

“That is not journalism – it is government propaganda.”

Meanwhile, “not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview” Vladimir Putin, Carlson said.

Steve Rosenberg, the BBC’s Russia Editor, posted that the BBC has “lodged several requests with the Kremlin in the last 18 months. Always a ‘no’ for us”.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has devastated the country and its people.

The United Nations has said that Russian forces are responsible for rapes, “widespread” torture and killings in Ukraine.

Russia has also annexed four more regions of Ukraine, after its illegal takeover of Crimea in 2014.

And the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, accusing him of war crimes and the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.

Within Russia, journalists are under extreme reporting restrictions – the media are banned from calling it a “war”: it is meant to be called a “special military operation”.

Tucker Carlson has been an outspoken defender of Mr Putin since the war began. Just before Russia’s invasion, he claimed that “hating Putin has become the central purpose of America’s foreign policy”, but urged his viewers to ask themselves why.

“Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him?” Carlson said as Russian troops started to mass on Ukraine’s border. “These are fair questions, and the answer to all of them is: No. Vladimir Putin didn’t do any of that.”

After Russia had invaded, he changed his tone slightly during a different show, saying “Vladimir Putin started this war… He is to blame for what we’re seeing tonight in Ukraine”.

Exactly when the interview will take place is unclear, but Carlson said it would be uploaded live and unedited to his X account. Elon Musk, who owns the platform, has “promised not to suppress or block the interview”.

Tucker Carlson was one of America’s top-rated cable TV hosts – but he abruptly left Fox News last year.

While at the US network, his shows frequently set the agenda for conservatives and, by extension, the Republican party.

He was hugely influential as the anchor of a late-night political talk show between 2016 and 2023 and has since launched a show on X. BBC

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