Russian State TV Can't Get Enough of Putin Sycophant Tucker Carlson

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has been blatantly cheerleading Russia on the air, and it’s earned him favorable mentions on state-controlled media as they broadcast clips from his Fox News show on Russian TV. A screencap shared by Daily Beast columnist and Russian media analyst Julie Davis on Sunday showed Carlson’s comments airing on state-controlled media outlets Rossiya-1 and RT.

Davis also shared a clip where she said state TV host Vladimir Soloviev mused that Carlson might be jailed in the U.S. for espousing his pro-Russia views. “I wonder how long it will take before Tucker Carlson is put into prison as a Russian agent,” Soloviev said, according to Davis’s translation.

Soloviev knows that Carlson won’t be jailed, and the trollish remark is a clever bit of projection from a regime that’s punishing people at home for speaking out against the war. But it’s illustrative of how closely Carlson’s talking points match Team Putin’s preferred narrative.

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In February, Davis reported that “scarcely a day goes by without a supportive mention of Tucker Carlson on Russian airwaves.”

For years now, Carlson has positioned himself as friendly to Russia and Putin. In 2019, Carlson said on air, “Why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?! And I’m serious. … Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.” He later tried to walk back the remark by saying he was “joking” and is “only rooting for America.”

But Carlson’s pro-Russia comments continued. Last month, the host pushed his audience to ask themselves why they dislike Putin. “It may be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious, what is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much?” he said. “Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him?” Carlson has also bashed Ukraine on his program, referring to the country as not “a democracy” but rather a “client state” of the U.S. government.

Comments like these have made him popular in the Russian government. Reacting to a Carlson broadcast from Dec. 2021 where the host argued the U.S. should not get involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, a member of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Public Council, Igor Korotchenko, said of Carlson’s remarks: “Excellent performance, with which we can only express solidarity.”

Carlson has also recently pushed a false claim made by Russian state media that the Pentagon is funding biological weapons research in Ukraine, twisting March 8 testimony given by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland. Carlson claimed that when Nuland referenced “biological research facilities” in Ukraine she was referring to “secret labs” to manufacture bioweapons. But in fact, according to The New York Times, the U.S. has funded Ukrainian institutions trying to prevent the use of bioweapons. And Politifact noted that there are labs in the Ukraine that study pathogens and viruses, but those facilities are not making bioweapons.

Russia, however, has been fueling accusations that Ukraine intends to use biological weapons. U.S. officials fear the rhetoric could be a prelude to a Russian biological or chemical attack, as it seeks to preemptively muddy the waters about who might be using such weapons in the current war. During Nuland’s testimony, Sen. Marco Rubio asked her, “If there is a biological or chemical weapon incident or attack inside of Ukraine, is there any doubt in your mind that, 100 percent, it would be the Russians?”

“There is no doubt in my mind, senator,” Nuland said, adding, “And it is classic Russian technique to blame the other guy what they’re planning to do themselves.”

According to a report from Mother Jones, the Kremlin is so happy with Carlson’s pro-Russia remarks that the Russian government has reportedly urged state-friendly media to replay clips from his show.

Mother Jones obtained what it said is a 12-page memo with talking points distributed to media outlets friendly to the Kremlin. The memo, the publication says, was provided by a contributor to a national Russian media outlet who asked to remain anonymous. Titled “For Media and Commentators (recommendations for coverage of events as of 03.03),” metadata attached to the document examined by Mother Jones indicated it was created by a Russian government agency, the Department of Information and Telecommunications Support, part of the nation’s security bureaucracy.

“It is essential to use as much as possible fragments of broadcasts of the popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson,” the memo encouraged media outlets, per Mother Jones’ translation. The memo went on to describe Carlson as someone 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.”

According to Mother Jones, Carlson is the only Western journalist mentioned in the document. While the outlet said it has verified the memo, its authenticity has not been independently confirmed by Rolling Stone. A representative for Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone.

When he was interviewed by The New York Times in January and confronted with criticism that his on air remarks have been in line with Russian propaganda, Carlson seemed to brush it off. “I don’t care, if that’s the question. I’ve never been to Russia, I don’t speak Russian,” he told the paper. “Of course I’m not an agent of Russia.”

But according to the memo, Carlson certainly is a tool.

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