Carlson’s Putin interview: who benefited?
The far-right US journalist Tucker Carlson conducted a two-hour interview with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 6. There had been much criticism ahead of the interview, while Russian state media reported euphorically on the visit by Carlson, who has been broadcasting via the X platform since he was fired from Fox News in 2023. For commentators, neither the interviewer nor the interviewee cut a good figure.
Softball questions from a helpful idiot
With the interview Carlson acted as a stooge, not a journalist, The Sunday Times fumes:
“This wasn’t an opportunity to gain insight into the mind of a tyrant but a string of softball questions by a fawning supplicant with no idea of how and why he was being used. The people who’ll be most angry are those Russians not yet brainwashed by Putin’s propaganda machine, who must have been hoping that Carlson might ask one question — just one — about Putin’s claim to be a patriotic leader as he plunders the wealth of the nation in cahoots with oligarchs and cronies while millions live in squalor.”
Embarassing justification of Hitler’s invasion
For US-based economics professor Konstanin Sonin, Putin’s statements are a PR disaster. He writes in a Facebook post:
“To the horror of all potential Putin fans, he spouted such nonsense that it is impossible to defend or support his theories. ... In trying to justify the attack on Ukraine in 2022, Putin drew a parallel with 1939, when Poland, he said, had ‘forced’ Hitler to attack it. The task of justifying Hitler to an American audience, even an uneducated and isolationist one, is impossible. Putin didn’t come across as cunning, but stupid. Because he no longer has any dealings with people who could contradict or correct him.”
Putin failed completely
The Russian president has only made a fool of himself, blogger Sergey Fursa writes in Obozrevatel:
“Putin has a lot in common with Tucker Carlson’s core audience. He should just have stuck to what he usually likes to talk about: conspiracies, conservative values, the Orthodox caliphate he is promoting in Russia. ... That would have gone down well. ... And it would have been so easy, so natural for him. But instead? A boring history lecture that Macron had already had to suffer through. ... Carlson got his clicks and Putin came across as a ridiculous fascist who not only spends an hour explaining why he has the right to occupy Ukraine, but then goes on to justify Hitler. Bingo.”
Poison and propaganda
Putin was lying as usual, writes Gintautas Mažeikis, a philosopher and professor, on LRT:
“The most striking example is when he said [that he told] Zelensky: ‘Volodya, aren’t you ashamed? After all, your father fought on the side of the USSR in the Second World War.’ In fact, Volodymyr Zelensky’s father was only born in 1947. The same goes for all his claims — who is responsible for the Nord Stream 2 explosion, who are spies and who are not, who made what deal in Istanbul, what so and so told Putin in which private conversation — all fabrications. The whole interview is an attempt to replace Western critical thinking with historical, para-religious imperialism.”