Journalists took issue with Tucker Carlson after his announcement Tuesday that he’ll be interviewing Vladimir Putin.
In various posts to the social media site formerly known as Twitter, some took particular offense to Carlson’s claim that no “Western” journalist “has bothered to interview” the Russian dictator, pointing out that Putin refuses to speak with most media outlets. Others noted Russia’s oppression of free speech, with journalists routinely imprisoned or forced into exile. Still others simply noted that Carlson’s interview amounts to open support for Putin and not much else.
Among Carlson’s critics were BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg and CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, both of whom said they’ve made repeated requests to interview Putin but have been rejected.
“We’ve lodged several requests with the Kremlin in the last 18 months. Always a ‘no’ for us,” Rosenberg wrote.
“Does Tucker really think we journalists haven’t been trying to interview President Putin every day since his full scale invasion of Ukraine? It’s absurd — we’ll continue to ask for an interview, just as we have for years now,” Amanpour said.
Politico’s Heidi Przybyla was blunt, declaring that Carlson’s interview “is not journalism… Tucker is platforming authoritarian strongmen who want to undermine Western democracy.”
“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. The alternative was to go to jail. And now this SoB is teaching us about good journalism, shooting from the $1000 Ritz suite in Moscow,” Yevgenia Albats, a Russian political scientist and journalist said.
Others pointed to the oppression Putin typically inflicts on journalists.
Human rights lawyer and commentator Hillel Neuer suggested Carlson talk to Vladimir Kara-Murza, the British-Russian activist and journalist who has been sentenced to 25 years in prison in Russia for criticizing the invasion of Ukraine.
Time columnist and political scientist Ian Bremmer was more direct, posting a photo of Evan Gershkovich, the American Wall Street Journal reporter who was arrested and charged with espionage for his coverage of the Ukraine invasion. “Actual journalist in russia,” Bremmer wrote.
And still others simply had curt insults about Carlson.