The Tucker Carlson show: screening on a network near you

Roger Partridge
Insights Newsletter
16 February, 2024

Television audiences were granted a rare privilege last week: an extended interview with warmongering President Vladimir Putin to “set the record straight” on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
And who better to provide the pulpit of truth for this enlightening exchange? Why, Tucker Carlson, of course – now operating his own TV channel following his abrupt exit from Fox News last year.
Carlson is hardly a paragon of journalistic integrity and geopolitical expertise. He is both a stalwart Trump ally and defender of those who laid siege to the U.S. Capital. His Fox News comments fuelled the 2020 presidential election fraud claims. And he is a longstanding Russian apologist.
Perfect, then, for Mr Putin!
What followed was a masterful performance from the Russian President. Indeed, it was Trumpesque.
The West has Russia all wrong.
With a straight face, Putin regaled the uncritical Carlson with tales of Russia's historical grievances, starting in the 9th century, and its divine right to reclaim lost territories. Ukrainians, it seems, were always Russian. (With their early medieval Anglo-Saxon heritage, maybe someone should try telling the British they’re really German?)
According to Putin, Russia's invasion of Ukraine was but a noble quest to rid the world of Nazism – conveniently ignoring the fact that Ukraine's President is Jewish. An on-to-it interviewer might have challenged the Russian President on the Nazi stuff but not the intrepid Tucker.
But Tucker did ask if Russia also plans to invade Poland. Putin quipped he would only do that if Poland attacked Russia first. The irony that that is exactly what Hitler claimed at the start of WWII was lost on both of them.
And then came the Russian President’s bizarre claim that the West's crisis of confidence was to blame for his country’s tyrannical delusions. Apparently, it's the West's fault for not believing in Russia's divine mission to spread peace and prosperity across the globe. Silly West!
No Putin interview would be complete without a healthy dose of paranoia and conspiracy theories. Putin painted a picture of Western encirclement and aggression, conveniently ignoring Russia's history of annexations and military interventions.
It was a masterclass in deflection and projection – provided convincing the unconverted wasn’t a goal. Putin cast himself as the misunderstood hero standing up to the bullying tactics of the West, with Carlson egging him on.
Speaking truth to power? Forget it.
If only we had journalists of Tucker Carlson’s quality in New Zealand.

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