After days of fevered anticipation among his far-right fanbase and Russian media reveling over his recent arrival in Moscow, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson finally put to rest the speculation and made it official on Tuesday: he is indeed interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Carlson, a loud critic of Ukraine and its president Volodymyr Zelensky, dropped a promotional video on X—where he now conducts his online show—announcing the upcoming interview with the authoritarian leader. The conservative commentator, who has said he is rooting for Russia in its war against Ukraine, claimed he was there because “we’re in journalism” and “our duty is to inform people.”
Why I'm interviewing Vladimir Putin. pic.twitter.com/hqvXUZqvHX
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) February 6, 2024
Carlson, who will be the first American media figure to interview Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago, claimed that English-speaking countries are unaware of how the war has changed the entire world because “no one has told them the truth” and spoken to Putin.
“Their media outlets are corrupt,” he added. “They lie to their readers and viewers, and they do it mostly by omission... not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview the president of the other country involved in this conflict, Vladimir Putin.”
While Carlson called the interviews that Zelensky has done with Western media outlets “propaganda of the ugliest kind” and “fawning pep sessions,” he asserted that his sit down with Putin will be anything but. Of course, those who have seen Carlson’s softball interviews with other authoritarian leaders, such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban, are likely to be more than a little bit skeptical.
Promoting the upcoming interview with Putin, Carlson once again claimed that the Biden administration “illegally spied” on him three years ago when he was attempting to secure an interview at that time with the Russian president. He additionally asserted, without evidence, that he believed the White House had done it again in the past month.
“We are not here because we love Vladimir Putin,” he declared. “We are here because we love the United States. And we want it to remain prosperous and free.”
The ex-Fox host, who was fired by the conservative cable giant last spring, also heaped praise on X owner Elon Musk for promising not to “suppress or block” the interview once he posted it to the platform. The entire unedited conversation, Carlson said, would be available to view for free on his website.
Carlson concluded the promo by claiming “Western governments” and “less principled platforms” will censor his interview because “they are afraid of information they can’t control,” making no mention of Putin’s own crackdowns on free speech or imprisonment of journalists.
Since arriving in Moscow, the outspoken defender of Putin has been feted by Russian state media, who have long gushed over Carlson and lobbied for the far-right nationalist host to interview their leader. Some Russian propagandists have gone so far as to insist that the sit-down will “blow up” the upcoming American election and reinstall Donald Trump in the White House.
Meanwhile, as Carlson suggests he’s the only Western journalist who’s been willing to interview Putin since the start of the Ukraine war, others pointed out that is hardly the case.
“Does Tucker really think we journalists haven't been trying to interview President Putin every day since his full scale invasion of Ukraine?” CNN’s Christiane Amanpour tweeted. “It’s absurd—we’ll continue to ask for an interview, just as we have for years now.”