Not that many are expecting Tucker Carlson to be a source of absolute truth, but his claim that Western journalists haven’t even tried to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin about the war in Ukraine is being ripped by reporters who have been trying to do exactly that for years.
The former Fox News personality’s Tuesday announcement that he’s interviewed Putin included the claim that journalists have done “scores of interviews” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky but “not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview the president of the other country involved in this conflict, Vladimir Putin. Most Americans have no idea why Putin invaded Ukraine or what his goals are now. They’ve never heard his voice. That’s wrong.”
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First, Putin’s reasons for invading Ukraine have been widely and repeatedly reported in the U.S. from his speeches and official statements (which often include his “voice”).
But second, the idea that Western journalists haven’t “bothered” to interview Putin is false, as many are pointing out.
“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 chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour stated on X. “It’s absurd — we’ll continue to ask for an interview, just as we have for years now.”
While BBC Russia editor Steve Rosenberg posted that network has “lodged several requests with the Kremlin in the last 18 months. Always a ‘no’ for us.”
“Poor, poor Vladimir Putin,” added Yaroslav Trofimov, chief foreign-affairs correspondent at The Wall Street Journal, on X. “Until now, nobody in the West has had the chance to hear him explain all the excellent reasons for why he had to invade Ukraine. Not in the speech that was broadcast live on every global network the morning of the invasion, and not in countless others.”
Meanwhile, Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats wrote, “Unbelievable! I am like hundreds of Russian journalists who have had to go into exile to keep reporting about the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine. The alternative was to go to jail. And now this SoB is teaching us about good journalism, shooting from the $1000 Ritz suite in Moscow.”
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov even shot down Carlson on this, saying “Mr. Carlson is wrong,” but then quickly tried to defend him by adding “but he couldn’t have known.”
Carlson could have known, however, since he worked for decades in cable news, where reaching out to foreign leaders for interviews is standard operating procedure. It’s hard to imagine Fox News didn’t also try for Putin many times during Carlson’s tenure, which overlapped with the war’s first year. He could have also asked the Kremlin before stating it.
Peskov added that other media outlets that have requested to interview Putin “take an exceptionally one-sided position … Of course, there is no desire to communicate with such media, and it hardly makes sense, and it is unlikely that it will be useful.”
Whereas a Carlson interview, presumably, will be quite “useful.”
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