Tucker Carlson: Putin’s Patsy
In the week when Donald Trump says he would would encourage Russia to attack allies who pay too little for defence spending, Tucker Carlson visits Moscow for an interview with Vladimir Putin. Carlson is a man for whom the phrase ‘useful idiot’ was coined, but his interview is the media sensation of the week.
Carlson is a far-right MAGA tv presenter, he is not, in any sense a journalist. The Dominion lawsuit essentially confirmed this. The case, you’ll remember cost Fox $800 million in their dispute with to Dominion Voting Systems – the largest publicly known defamation settlement in history. The Fox v Dominion case was over the fact that Fox continued to spread lies about the Trump electoral loss despite knowing otherwise. Carlson was at the heart of this and is a propagandist for the far-right.
It was an interview, as Peter Tatchell put it: “Full of Kremlin lies and propaganda. A pathetic pseudo justification by Putin for Russian fascism and imperialist aggression – 99% unchallenged by Tucker Carlson.”
Afterwards Carlson emerged to declare: “Russia is not an expansionist power.” Tell that to about a fifth of Georgia, Crimea, or the presently occupied Ukraine.
The whole charade was jointly hosted on Tucker Carlson’s own website and the Kremlin’s. The Kremlin provided the translators. It has been watched by millions of people on You Tube, Facebook and Twitter, where it was hosted and promoted by Elon Musk.
I normally reject the ‘horseshoe’ theory of politics which suggests that the extreme left and the extreme right meet in the middle. But the Carlson moment does present a convergence with the far-right and some on the left who view him as some brave figure taking on the establishment. In fact, as we know, real journalists in Russia are harassed, intimidated, threatened, and occasionally murdered. This, like so much was never raised by the interviewer.
So what was it all about? It certainly gave Putin massive unchallenged airplay to a western audience. Carlson comes over as a harmless crank, just part of the madness of the MAGA movement and its attendant media circus. But here he is more than that, he is a propagandist for a dictator guilty of war crimes on European soil. It also must be part of a Trump campaign tactic to leverage pro-Putin sympathy among US voters and create an anti-Biden sentiment for his supporters by associating Biden with the war in Ukraine.
But as Trump’s sanity unravels in livestream, the right and far-right in Britain who praise him and consider him an ally are in a dangerous game. Putin’s patsy is softening up the US public for a withdrawal of support for Ukraine and a ‘peace pack’ which would carve up the country.