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Scandalous Trumpist. Who is Tucker Carlson that interviewed Putin

Scandalous Trumpist. Who is Tucker Carlson that interviewed Putin Photo: American columnist, conspiracy theorist and former TV host Tucker Carlson (Getty Images)

The scandalous American columnist Tucker Carlson is again "undermining" social networks in his usual manner. This time with a trip to Russia and the upcoming publication of an interview with Vladimir Putin, who spoke with a conventional representative of the Western press for the first time since the beginning of the full-scale war.

In the preparation of the material, the following were used: social networks of Tucker Carlson, materials by Sky News, CNN, Fox News, Axios, Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security, Ukrainian project Media Detector.

Brief biography, career, and finest hour on Fox News

Tucker Carlson was born on May 16, 1969, in San Francisco to artist Lisa McNear and journalist and diplomat Richard Carlson, who was the director of VOA during the last six years of the Cold War. When Tucker was seven years old, his parents divorced, and in 1979 his father married Patricia Swanson, the heiress of the former food conglomerate Swanson Enterprise. Carlson himself said that he grew up surrounded by rich people who could influence this world.

He studied at a private school in San Diego, at the age of 14 he was transferred to a private boarding school on the east coast of the United States in the state of Rhode Island. There he met his future wife - the daughter of the school director Susan Andrews. He could not enter a prestigious university, and the girl's father placed him in the history department at the Trinity College of Humanities in Connecticut. Carlson and Andrews married in 1991 and have four children together.

He started his career in the media as a fact-checker (fact checker) in the Police Review magazine. However, his ticket to journalism was to work at The Weekly Standard newspaper, which is part of the same holding as the Fox News channel, where he will become a real star. For the newspaper, he wrote materials of a conservative plan for five years. During this time, he managed to interview the then-governor of Texas, George Bush, Jr. After that, he began to be invited to TV as an expert.

In 2000, he was called to host the program Crossfire on the Democratic-leaning CNN channel. The format was a debate on current news between political opponents. After a few broadcasts, the show was canceled and Carlson was fired. For the next eight years, he worked for MSNBC.

In 2010, he created a news site - The Daily Caller, on which he published high-profile investigations against Democrats. Ten years later, he left the post of editor-in-chief, but the publication is still working and is part of the White House pool. In parallel with the work of The Daily Caller, he was increasingly invited to various shows on the main conservative US channel Fox News.

Scandalous Trumpist conspiracist. Who is Tucker Carlson, who interviewed Putin

Photo: Tucker Carlson on Fox News (Getty Images)

There, in 2016, he had his own Tucker Carlson Tonight show. Carlson landed a spot on Fox News' weekday evening primetime and quickly established himself as a key player and influential voice in Republican politics. His show became the most-watched news program in the 22-54 age group, and the channel itself the most-watched on US cable.

Tucker held far-right positions, supported conspiracy theories, constantly questioned the effectiveness of vaccines against COVID-19, comparing the vaccination campaign to Nazi experiments. In 2018, he said that migrants were making the country "poorer and dirtier," which prompted an exodus of advertisers. Criticized Black Lives Matter - a movement against police violence against black people.

"In this moment that we're going through, there could be a lot of things. But it's definitely not about black lives, remember that when they come for you. All things considered, they sure will," he said in 2020.

By 2023, the average audience of his show was more than 3 million viewers. Tucker's popularity was due to the manner in which he and his guests discussed hot topics such as gender issues, abortion, the presidential election and more. In 2021, Time magazine named him the most influential conservative in America.

Carlson was fired in April, a week after parent company Fox Corp. agreed to pay $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems, a company that makes voting machines. Tucker himself claimed the alleged rigging of the 2020 election, and on his broadcasts, lawyers for Donald Trump and other guests directly accused Dominion of this. The host was supposed to be a key witness in the defamation case, but Fox News took a plea deal and shut down the show.

After leaving, Tucker relaunched it on Twitter (now Social Network X), steadily garnering millions of views. However, he soon received a warning from Fox demanding to close the program due to a violation of the contract, according to which the rights to Tucker Carlson Tonight belong to the channel until the end of 2024. The review with the participation of lawyers is still ongoing.

He remains a staunch Republican, a Trumpist, and opposes abortions and gun control. He allegedly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but in fact regularly promotes Moscow's arguments. That is precisely why Russian propaganda is interested in him. In particular, he was offered a job by the Russia Today network and the propagandist Vladimir Solovyov.

Tucker Carlson vs Ukraine. His position and statements about war

Even before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Tucker Carlson opposed increased attention to Ukraine and defended Vladimir Putin. On the eve of the invasion, he called the threat of a Russian attack exaggerated. On Fox News, he said that President Joe Biden had drawn Americans into a senseless war on the side of a "corrupt government."

"Ukraine is not a democracy. The president of Ukraine arrested his main political opponent (it was probably Viktor Medvedchuk, - ed.). He closed newspapers and TV channels that dared to criticize him. In American terms, you would call Ukraine a tyranny. But Joe Biden likes Ukraine, so Putin bad, war good," Carlson said.

Some stamps of Russian propaganda migrated to his show. In March, he rehearsed narratives about the coup in Ukraine directed by Victoria Nuland' in 2014, as well as about 'American biolaboratories', called the Ukrainian government a puppet of Washington, and opposed the transfer of fighter jets from Poland. And he promoted the theory that the US would support the war until millions of Ukrainians became refugees. Which resonates with the Russian marker 'war to the last Ukrainian'.

Scandalous Trumpist conspiracist. Who is Tucker Carlson, who interviewed Putin

Photo: Tucker Carlson does not work directly for Russian propaganda, but it constantly broadcasts his messages as the alleged position of the Americans (Getty Images)

"They all (the White House, - ed.) are lying to you... In fact, you're unpatriotic because real patriotism is caring about Ukraine first. And by the way, caring about Ukraine means prolonging a bloody war in Ukraine, until the entire country of Ukraine has been destroyed and millions of Ukrainians are refugees," he addressed the audience.

His broadcasts generated messages with which the propaganda of the Russian Federation actively worked, presenting them as the opinion of the Americans. According to their "fused" methodology, Carlson was an important link - it directly indicated the importance of using as many fragments of the show as possible criticizing the actions of the United States, NATO, their negative role "in the development of the conflict in Ukraine."

It was necessary to mention the Nazis. Tucker said that Russia allegedly fought Nazism in World War II like no other country. He called the Russian-Ukrainian war a catastrophe for Europe and the whole world, but he considered NATO to be the cause, not Russia. In April 2023, Carlson stated that US forces were allegedly engaged in hostilities. This message was immediately picked up by Russia Today.

"The United States is a direct combatant in the war against Russia. As we speak, American soldiers are fighting Russian soldiers," Tucker said.

He referred to some Pentagon data that had previously appeared on the Internet. It will be recalled that at that time an American military man posted photos of secret documents on the training of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, their numbers and military aid to the West in one of the chat rooms. Moreover, they did not mention the combat units of the US Army in Ukraine and, even more so, their participation in military operations. Officially, the White House noted that the US military presence is limited to the embassy in Kyiv and has nothing to do with hostilities.

In the summer after his dismissal from Fox News, Carlson dedicated his debut broadcast on Twitter to the undermining of the Kakhovskaya HPP. According to him, it was blown up by Ukraine because "the Russians built it, like the reservoir, to provide water to Crimea, which has been the home of the Black Sea Fleet for 240 years."

"A fair-minded person would come to the conclusion that the Ukrainian side blew up the HPP," he claimed.

After this video, a fake appeared that the Office of the President of Ukraine allegedly gave Elon Musk 72 hours to delete Carlson's account. Although there was no hint of an ultimatum in the public reaction of Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the OP.

In November, Tucker went on air with journalist Glenn Greenwald, who at one time published information from former intelligence officer Edward Snowden. The key topics of the conversation were "Trump the peacemaker", "Ukraine deceived by the West", "Americans' loss of trust in Biden" and "NATO, which will never cope with Russia". Regarding the war in Ukraine, the interlocutors insisted on the supposed fatigue of the West, the need for negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow, the surrender of the occupied territories and non-aligned status for Ukraine.

In December, Carlson said that as a result of a meeting between Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and lawmakers, a decision was made that if military aid to Ukraine is not voted on, the congressmen's families will be sent to war with Russia. As it turned out, it was about the risks that would arise due to the delay of new packages. Austin emphasized that if Putin seizes Ukraine, he will claim the Baltic states and then there will be a need to station American troops in Europe.

As for "insiders", over the years of his activity, Tucker has established himself as a conspiracy theorist, a right-wing conservative and a mouthpiece of Kremlin fakes with an anti-Ukrainian position. That's why the nickname American Solovyov was attached to him.

For first time in two years. What is known about Putin's interview with 'representative of West'

In August, Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan said that Tucker Carlson was seeking to record an interview with Vladimir Putin. Even though the last time Putin spoke with Western journalists was in October 2021, when he gave an interview to CNBC anchor Hadley Gamble. According to Tucker himself, the news caused outrage in the USA and he was allegedly banned from flying to Moscow.

However, on February 3, 2024, he was spotted in the Russian capital. Later, he confirmed that he was going to record the conversation with Putin, which he will make available for free on the Tucker Carlson Network website and the X platform. According to The Wall Street Journal, the recording will most likely appear on February 8. Today, Kremlin spokesman Dmytro Peskov confirmed that the interview took place. American blogger Alex Jones reported that the conversation lasted for two hours.

Scandalous Trumpist conspiracist. Who is Tucker Carlson, who interviewed Putin

Photo: Vladimir Putin gave an interview to a Western audience for the first time since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine and chose Tucker Carlson for it (Getty Images)

As Tucker explained, he planned the interview because "Americans are completely unaware of what is happening in Russia and Ukraine." According to him, the owner of the X social network, Elon Musk, promised not to block his publication.

Carlson noted that taking such an interview must be risky.

He also claims that Joe Biden's administration allegedly tried to prevent the trip, as he has repeatedly spoken sympathetically about Putin, and his political views are shared by many conservative-minded US residents who are dissatisfied with multibillion-dollar support for Ukraine. And he accused Western journalists of interviewing Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but not Putin, during the full-scale war.

"It's interesting to hear from Tucker Carlson that no western journalist bothered to interview Putin after Russian troops entered Ukraine. Over the past year and a half, we've sent several requests to the Kremlin. We always get no," the BBC's Steve Rosenberg answered him.

CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour also commented on Carlson's words.

"Does Tucker really think we journalists haven't been trying to interview President Putin every day since his full scale invasion of Ukraine? It's absurd -- we'll continue to ask for an interview, just as we have for years now," she said.

Ukraine is also reacting to Carlson's trip. In particular, former Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Malyar noted that Putin's interview will be a recognition of his status outside of Russia and will open a 'Pandora's box'. In her opinion, the only safe interview with him is an interrogation in The Hague. Petro Andryushchenko, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, agrees with her.

"The USA proves that sustainable democracy, economic development and dominance are not a guarantee against the emergence of large-scale ****** (obscene word, - ed.). The American analog of Solovyov, Skabeeva and Sharij - Tucker Carlson gives an interview in Putin," he wrote in Telegram.

Newsweek, citing sources in the European Parliament, reported that Tucker may be on the sanctions list. One of the legislators, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted that the "mouthpiece of Trump and Putin" could be denied entry, and the EU External Relations Service should consider his case.

Why is attention drawn to the interview and why is it important? Putin rarely speaks to the media, especially Western journalists. And no matter what, it will be a high-profile event. Probably, the organization of the interview will be another step by the Kremlin in the same direction as the allegations about the alleged desire for negotiations with Washington regarding Ukraine. Of course, if Putin wanted to, he could organize a conversation with more mainstream media, but Carlson would be the most convenient interlocutor for him.

"Many journalists and publications would have jumped at the chance to do such an interview. The Russian president did not want to talk, not the Western media," writes Axios.

The anonymous Telegram channel Kremlivska tabakerka notes that Tucker was forbidden to ask questions on several topics: the assassination of the leader of the Wagner Communist Party Yevgeny Prigozhin, losses in the war and strikes on Russian rear lines, the fate of Alexei Navalny, the LGBT ban, and why, due to the failure in Ukraine, no Sergey Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov were released. What exactly Putin said to the American guest will become known soon.