Who is Tucker Carlson and why did Putin talk to him?

New Delhi | Updated: 10 February, 2024 5:35 pm IST
Tucker Carlson, a divisive figure in American media, recently conducted an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

NEW DELHI: Tucker Carlson, a polarising figure in American media circles, recently sat down for an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At 54, Carlson made history as the first Western journalist to have such a conversation with Putin since Russia’s involvement in Ukraine nearly two years ago. But who exactly is Tucker Carlson, and why did Putin agree to sit down for an interview with him? Moreover, what motivated Carlson to provide a platform for the Russian leader?

Carlson’s Journey On Fox News:

Carlson’s career at Fox News took a significant turn when he was let go from the network in April of the previous year. His show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, had become a prime-time staple on Fox News since 2016, earning him a considerable following and influence in Republican circles. However, after his departure, both his show and the network experienced a drop in viewership, partly due to Carlson’s controversial statements on various topics, including COVID vaccines and advocation for far-right causes.

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The Fallout From Mainstream Television:

Carlson’s exit from Fox News coincided with a legal battle between Fox Corp and Dominion Voting Systems, a voting machine manufacturer. Dominion filed a defamation lawsuit against the network over unfounded claims of election rigging in 2020. Although the network settled the lawsuit, Carlson’s departure left many questioning the circumstances.

What Transpired During The Interview?

During the interview with Putin, the Russian President shared his views on Ukraine, potential peace negotiations, and the case of detained journalist Evan Gershkovich from The Wall Street Journal. Putin expressed willingness to negotiate with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy but reiterated Russia’s objectives in Ukraine, including what he termed “de-Nazification.” He also addressed concerns about potential military actions against Poland and Latvia, denying any aggressive intentions unless provoked.

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As for the case of Evan Gershkovich, Putin suggested the possibility of returning the journalist to the US, contingent upon reciprocal actions from the US government. Gershkovich has been detained in Russia for nearly a year on espionage allegations, which the US denies.

Why Putin Agreed To Do The Interview?

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov shed light on why Putin agreed to the interview with Carlson. According to Peskov, Putin valued Carlson’s approach, which differed from what he saw as the biased reporting of mainstream Western media outlets. Peskov highlighted the one-sided nature of Western media coverage and emphasised Putin’s interest in engaging with a different perspective.

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“These are all media outlets that 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,” he said.

“But Carlson’s stance differs from others,” he added.

Carlson’s Motivation:

In a video released shortly before the interview aired, Carlson explained on microblogging site X that his goal was to “educate” Americans by providing them with insights directly from Putin.

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He expressed frustration that no other Western journalist had pursued an interview with Putin, a claim that has been challenged by journalists covering Russia.

Watch The Video Here:

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