The former Fox News host and longtime Kremlin favorite has finally obtained his long-sought interview with Russia’s authoritarian leader
Tucker Carlson confirmed on Tuesday that he will be interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin during his ongoing trip to Moscow. Carlson, a longtime defender of Putin’s authoritarian regime, would be the first American journalist granted a one-on-one interview with the dictator since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
In the video released on X (formerly Twitter), Carlson confirmed that the interview is scheduled to take place, but did not provide a release date. The former Fox News host stated that “there are risks to conducting an interview like this,” but that he considers it his “duty” to “inform people.”
Carlson suggested that the central theme of the interview will be the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. “Most Americans are not informed, they have no real idea what’s happening in this region … their media outlets are corrupt. They lie to their readers and viewers, and they do that mostly by omission,” Carlson said. “We are not here because we love Vladimir Putin. We are here because we love the United States, and we want it to remain prosperous and free.”
During his tenure at Fox News, Carlson repeatedly drew backlash for his staunch defense of Russia and the Kremlin’s policies. The criticism escalated dramatically after Carlson declared on air that he was outright “[rooting] for Russia” in 2019, as tensions escalated between Ukraine and Putin’s regime.
Days before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022, Carlson told Fox News viewers that Americans had no good reason to “hate” Putin, and attempted to link President Joe Biden’s support for Ukraine to unproven allegations that the president accepted millions of dollars from the Ukrainian nationals.
As the war unfolded, Carlson ramped up his pro-Kremlin rhetoric and criticism of support for the Ukrainian government, to the point that his broadcasts were repeatedly lauded by Russian state television. In March of 2022, Mother Jones obtained a Kremlin memo that encouraged state-controlled media outlets to “use as much as possible fragments of broadcasts of the popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who sharply criticizes the actions of the United States [and] NATO, their negative role in unleashing the conflict in Ukraine, [and] the defiantly provocative behavior from the leadership of the Western countries and NATO towards the Russian Federation and towards President Putin, personally.”
Among the most notable pieces of Russian disinformation promoted by Carlson were false claims that the United States was manufacturing biological weapons within Ukrainian laboratories. Carlson went so far as to make a barely veiled attack against his then-Fox News colleague Jennifer Griffin after she fact-checked the false claims on air.
Carlson has long sought a face-to-face with Putin. In July 2021, he accused the National Security Agency of spying on his communications with Russian intermediaries as he attempted to secure an interview, and of plotting to have him ousted from Fox News. In a rare move, the NSA issued an explicit denial of the accusation, writing that Carlson “has never been an intelligence target of the Agency and the NSA has never had any plans to try to take his program off the air.”
Now that Carlson has attained his longtime goal, the former host is using the specter of censorship in an attempt to gin up viewership of the upcoming interview. Carlson stated that he’d secured a promise from X owner Elon Musk “not to suppress or block this interview.”
“Western governments, by contrast, will certainly do their best to censor this video and other less principled platforms because that’s what they do,” Carlson added.