- Tucker Carlson is facing backlash for stating that Western media hasn’t tried to interview Putin.
- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed Carlson’s claim.
- Carlson’s interview with Putin is likely to air on Thursday.
It seems even the Kremlin thinks Tucker Carlson has gone too far in his criticism of Western media.
The former Fox News host claimed that “not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview” the Russian president since the war in Ukraine began, and accused journalists of engaging in “fawning pep sessions.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed Carlson’s claim and said that they had received various interview requests, but that they were all from Western media publications “that take a one-sided stance”, according to Meduza.
“Mr Carlson is not correct,” he said. “In fact, there’s no way he could know this. We receive numerous requests for interviews with the president, but mostly, as far as countries in the collective West are concerned, these are from major network media: traditional TV channels and large newspapers that don’t even attempt to appear impartial in their coverage.”
Carlson’s comments also received backlash from media organizations across the globe.
The Financial Times’ Moscow bureau chief, Max Seddon, said it was wrong of Carlson to suggest that US-based journalists weren’t reporting on Russia when two journalists were “in jail right now for doing just that,” BBC News reported.
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and Radio Free Europe’s Alsu Kurmasheva have been in pre-trial detention in Russia since 2023, according to BBC News.
Steve Rosenberg, the BBC’s Russia Editor, said that his media organization has “lodged several requests with the Kremlin in the last 18 months. Always a ‘no’ for us.”
Carlson said in a post on X on Tuesday that the interview would allow US citizens to understand Russia’s view of the war.
“We are not encouraging you to agree with what Putin may say in this interview, but we are urging you to watch it. You should know as much as you can,” he said.
Carlson’s comments on Putin are important. While his influence has waned since his departure from Fox News, he still has a major following and has defended the Russian leader on numerous occasions.
In 2021, as the Russian military arrived on Ukraine’s border, Carlson said Putin was trying “to keep his western borders secure” — a rhetoric that is nearly identical to Kremlin propaganda.
The BBC noted that Carlson later changed his tone as the war progressed, saying, “Vladimir Putin started this war… He is to blame for what we’re seeing tonight in Ukraine”.
However, Carlson has called Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a “dictator” who “is friends with everyone in Washington”.
“It’s too stupid,” he added. “I don’t speak Russian. I’ve never been to Russia. I’m not that interested in Russia. All I care about is the fortunes of the United States because I have four children who live here.”