On Tuesday the 6th, Tucker Carlson, the controversial former Fox News anchor, surprised more than one by announcing through his account on the social network russian president Vladimir Putinin what would be the Kremlin leader’s first conversation with a Western journalist since he launched the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
In the video, titled “Why I’m Interviewing Vladimir Putin,” Carlson points out that Western reporters had interviewed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky many times, but that no one had “taken the trouble” to interview his Russian counterpart.
The conversation with Putin will be broadcast this Thursday the 8th, at 6:00 pm Peruvian time, through his Internet program “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that is broadcast on X.
The truth is that since the start of the war, Putin has greatly limited his contact with the international media. Russian authorities have also restricted the press, forcing some independent Russian media to stop operating, blocking others and ordering several foreign reporters to leave the country.
Several Western journalists were invited to Putin’s annual press conference in December last year – the first since the start of the war – but only two of them were given the opportunity to ask questions.
It should also be remembered that two journalists from American news organizations – Evan Gershkovich, of The Wall Street Journal, and Alsou Kurmasheva, of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – are imprisoned for accusations that they deny.
For these reasons, the renowned CNN interviewer, Christiane Amanpour, came forward for X to question the former Fox News presenter: “Does Tucker really think that we journalists haven’t tried to interview President Putin every day since he launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine? (…) It is absurd, we will continue asking for an interview, as we have done for years”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also rejected Carlson’s suggestion that no Western journalists had submitted requests to interview Putin. He stated that the Kremlin has received many requests from major Western television channels and newspapers which he, he assured, “take a partial view”.
But then, why was Carlson allowed to speak with the Russian leader?
– Tucker Carlson’s profile –
Born in San Francisco in 1969, Carlson comes from a wealthy family with aristocratic ancestry. He studied at Princeton University and began his career as a journalist at The Weekly Standard magazine. In 2009 he joined Fox News, where he quickly became one of the channel’s stars.
However, in April 2023, without explanation, the Fox network announced Carlson’s dismissal even though he was the channel’s highest-rated presenter. Consequently, the journalist opened his own channel on social networks and in September he interviewed the then Argentine candidate Javier Milei after his victory in the primary elections.
In December of the same year, Carlson announced that he would launch his own streaming service.
Throughout his career, Carlson has been very close to former governor Donald Trump and, for example, publicly defended the followers of the Republican magnate who carried out the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
First from Fox and then from his channel, Carlson has dedicated himself to repeatedly criticizing American support for Ukraine during the war with Russia, ensuring that citizens are deceived by the media.corrupt” through their “flattery sessions” to Zelensky that, according to him, were aimed at involving the United States in a war with Eastern Europe and paying for it.
This position is very similar to the one Trump defends in the dispute he has within the Republican Party regarding Putin and the war in Ukraine. The former head of state has pushed to reduce aid to Ukraine, and the Republican majority that controls the House of Representatives has complied with the instruction.
Carlson’s statements about US support for Ukraine have been broadcast repeatedly in Russian state media, the same ones that this Wednesday the 7th gave extensive coverage to the journalist’s visit to his country.
Vladimir Solovyev, one of Russia’s most famous television hosts, said that the interview “will break the existing blockage and narrative” in the Western media, which he accused of focusing “in Putin’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine”.
And that, precisely, seems to be the answer to the possibility of Carlson talking to Putin. In Peskov’s words, Carlson’s stance “is in no way pro-Russian or pro-Ukrainian, but rather pro-American”.