Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson is getting flak from other journalists in America and beyond for saying no Western reporter “has bothered” to interview Vladimir Putin. Mr. Carlson said it in a video Tuesday revealing that he sat down with the Russian president.
“Many journalists have interviewed Putin, who also makes frequent, widely covered speeches,” American journalist and historian Anne Applebaum wrote on X Tuesday. “Carlson’s interview is different because he is not a journalist, he’s a propagandist, with a history of helping autocrats conceal corruption.”
“It’s our job, we’re in journalism. Our duty is to inform people. Two years into war that’s reshaping the entire world, most Americans are not informed,” he said. “They have no real idea what’s happening in this region, here in Russia or 600 miles away in Ukraine.”
Later in the video, he called out Western media for not interviewing the president.
“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,” he said.
BBC Russia Editor Steve Rosenberg pointed out that his network “lodged several requests with the Kremlin in the last 18 months.”
“Always a no for us,” he said.
Mr. Carlson‘s comment also angered Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats.
“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,” she wrote. “The alternative was to go to jail. And now this SOB is teaching us about good journalism, shooting from the $1,000 Ritz suite in Moscow.”
Some pointed out that journalists in Russia who try to talk about the war with Ukraine face harsh consequences.
“He says he’s interviewing Putin because freedom of speech is Americans’ birthright. I guess he knows that Putin made it a crime to tell the truth about Russia’s war on Ukraine? That independent Russian journalists have fled to avoid prison?” BBC Eastern Europe correspondent Sarah Rainsford, who was expelled from Russia in 2021, wrote on X.
She underscored how Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich still sits in prison after being accused of espionage last March.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov set the record straight Wednesday.
“Mr Carlson is not correct. In fact, there’s no way he could know this,” Mr. Peskov said in a statement. “We receive numerous requests for interviews with the president, but mostly, as far as countries in the collective West are concerned, these are from major network media: traditional TV channels and large newspapers that don’t even attempt to appear impartial in their coverage. Of course, there’s no desire to communicate with this kind of media.”
Interviewing world leaders isn’t new for Mr. Carlson. He has also sat down with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Argentina’s President Javier Milei.
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