TV-watching Russians may be “dangerously unaware” of what Americans think

By Dawn Stover | February 25, 2022

Tucker Carlson rebroadcast on Россия 24 (Russia 24), a Russian state-owned news channel, on February 23. Россия 24/YouTube

Tucker Carlson hosts the top-rated show on Fox News, but lately he has been making frequent appearances on Russian television. In the days leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kremlin-backed TV channels have been rebroadcasting Carlson’s thoughts—with Russian subtitles—about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine.

It’s not hard to understand why the Kremlin wants Russians to hear the popular American talk-show host. Carlson’s statements in recent months have often sounded like praise for Putin and insults for Ukraine:

“[Putin] just wants to keep his western border secure.”

“NATO exists primarily to torment Vladimir Putin.”

“Why do Democrats want you to hate Putin?”

“[Ukraine is] run by a dictator who’s friends with everyone in Washington.”

“Ukraine isn’t a democracy. It’s a State Department client state.”

 

Even after Russia invaded Ukraine this week, Carlson initially played down the conflict as a mere “border dispute.” Last night Carlson abruptly switched gears, saying the invasion “could become a world war” and blaming Putin for starting it. But Russian TV viewers probably won’t see that clip.

Carlson has a history of controversial statements supporting Putin and dissing Ukraine. Back in 2019, when Moscow and Kyiv were already sparring, Carlson asked a guest on his show: “Why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?” Carlson also wondered why he shouldn’t root for Russia. “Which, by the way, I am,” he quipped.

Russian state-owned media outlets such as RT (formerly known as Russia Today) and Channel One have “gone out of their way to highlight his work,” said MSNBC host Alex Wagner earlier this week, before playing a string of Carlson clips. “Right now, one of the biggest cheerleaders for Russia is also the host of the number one show on Fox News.”

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According to The Intercept, “At least four times this week, Russian news reports have featured translated clips of Tucker Carlson or his guest Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic US representative, attacking the Biden administration.”

CNN’s senior international correspondent in Kyiv, Matthew Chance, also reported recently on Russian state TV coverage of Carlson’s hot takes on Ukraine. “For years now, Russia has homed in on controversial praise from the US, including from the former president himself, and often used it to justify its stance at home,” Chance said.

“Please show us Tucker Carlson,” says a host for Russia’s Channel One before playing a clip of Carlson comparing Russia’s feelings about Ukraine to how the United States would feel if Canada and Mexico became satellites of China. “Excellent performance,” says one of the panelists afterward, expressing “solidarity” with Carlson.

At RT, editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan recently gushed about Carlson on air after watching one of his translated clips. She called him “wonderful” and suggested Putin should grant him an interview.

C-SPAN video of former secretary of state Mike Pompeo calling Putin “very shrewd, very capable” has also recently aired on Russian TV. “I have enormous respect for him,” Pompeo said of Putin.

 

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US journalists are often criticized for “both sides” coverage that conveys a false balance between opposing positions. Televised Russian propaganda does a different kind of disservice to its audiences. “Listening only to support for Russia while blocking out the criticism distorts what the US really thinks, leaving many Russians dangerously unaware of just how divided the US and Russia have become,” said Chance in his CNN report.


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Keywords: Fox News, Putin, Ukraine
Topics: Nuclear Risk

 

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Jenny Agutter fan
Jenny Agutter fan
11 months ago

Hard to believe that the right-wingers used to be the most russophobic people of all, even labeling political opponents Soviet spies (they literally executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on trumped-up charges of endangering US security).

Madeline Mitchell
Madeline Mitchell
11 months ago

Yeah, now they actively collude. I’m including Trump in that too. If I had my way, Carlson and Trump would be shot to death as traitors to the United States of America.

Last edited 11 months ago by Madeline Mitchell
Jenny was not that great
Jenny was not that great
11 months ago
John Doe
John Doe
11 months ago

They weren’t trumped up charges, they literally were caught spying for the Soviets. And in a classic bait-n-switch, the party of peace now becomes the party of war. Democrats are the chameleon‘s of the war party, sure Republican’s are too, but Democrat’s are so self-righteous about it that it becomes sickening.