This week, amid overwhelming evidence that Russia would soon invade Ukraine, state-controlled Russian television network RT published an article on and aired a segment from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight in which the show’s host pushed back on the idea that Vladimir Putin is someone Americans should dislike. What’s more, RT took the trouble of translating the clip into Russian, ostensibly for its domestic market.
More Stories On Russia-Ukraine Conflict
Tucker Carlson's defense of Vladimir Putin on Tuesday was rebroadcast with Russian subtitles by Kremlin-backed outlet RT (via @ragipsoylu) pic.twitter.com/PsZZ9enuJD
— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) February 24, 2022
“It may be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious, what is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much?” said Carlson on his show Tuesday night. “Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? Has he shipped every middle-class job in my town to Russia?…Is he making Fentanyl? Is he trying to snuff out Christianity? Does he eat dogs?”
Carlson answered his own queries.
“These are fair questions, and the answer to all of them is ‘no.’ Vladimir Putin didn’t do any of that,” he said. “So, why does permanent Washington hate him so much?”
Covering Ukraine: Five U.S. Journalists Talk About Their Experiences On-Air & In Country As Invasion Unfolded
Jimmy Kimmel responded on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night with a few questions of his own.
“So in order for you to despise a man who murders his rivals, who murders and poisons people, and who’s actively trying to destabilize our country, he has to do something to you personally? He has to eat your dog? That makes sense.
“How did we go from being the country that made Red Dawn and Rocky IV to this? It boggles the mind.”
He continued, “Can you imagine Ronald Reagan turning on Fox News?”
Russia Banned From Eurovision Song Contest 2022
Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert last night joked about what the White House’s announced sanctions would mean for Carlson’s show.
“That means no Russian money can come into the U.S. There goes Tucker Carlson’s sponsors,” he said.
The criticism of Carlson’s remarks did not stop there.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was born in Ukraine and a key witness in former President Trump’s first impeachment trial, directed a string of tweets at Carlson regarding the segment. His comments set the hashtag #tuckyorose trending.
The moniker is, of course, a play on Tokyo Rose, a name U.S. servicemembers gave to the English-speaking all-female troupe who broadcast pro-Japanese propaganda on the radio during WWII.
So, just listened to #Tuckyorose @TuckerCarlson. I’ll explain it, since you have no clue. There are several reasons why the U.S. now faces the prospect of a major war in Europe, initiated by your idol, Putin. https://t.co/mBkU8t9vJx
— Alexander S. Vindman (@AVindman) February 24, 2022
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who also served in the military, added his own expression of shock in response to Carlson’s commentary.
“In 35 seconds here, @TuckerCarlson basically said: ‘Putin isn’t your enemy. Your fellow American is.’ This is beyond dangerous, to say the least,” Kiniznger tweeted.
In 35 seconds here, @TuckerCarlson basically said: “Putin isn’t your enemy. Your fellow American is.”
This is beyond dangerous, to say the least https://t.co/n76SrvS3dr
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) February 23, 2022
In addition to Russian TV, state-owned propaganda web site Sputnik News yesterday used Carlson’s segment as the subject of a piece entitled “Tucker Carlson Slams Biden for Focusing on Putin, Ukraine Instead of US Domestic Problems.”
The piece maintains that U.S. sanctions were implemented “over [Russia’s] decision to recognise [sp.] the people’s republics in Donbass,” not over Russia amassing close to 200,000 troops on the border of a democratic state in Europe — that being Ukraine. The story further asserts that, while the sanctions will “affect Russian state debt, banks, and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” they will at the same time “bring no benefit, but entail negative consequences for the American people.”
Donald Trump made his own Pro-Putin comments on a radio show Tuesday. Trump called the Russian president’s pre-invasion moves “brilliant…genius…smart.” His effusiveness was also the target of late-night hosts’ humor.
Stephen Colbert did a piece on The Late Show that used manipulated sound bites to joke that Trump’s love for “murderous villains” is more expansive, as it also includes Voldemort, Scar from The Lion King, Osama bin Laden and the Devil himself.
On #LSSC tonight: The former president doesn’t just love Putin, he loves all villains. pic.twitter.com/5te1NwuDw4
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) February 24, 2022
Seth Meyers joined in on The Late Show, lampooning Trump’s enthusiasm for Putin and Carlson’s questions on the subject.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.