An Uproar over the Putin Interview
One would almost think, upon reading responses to Tucker Carlson’s announcement of his interview with Russian President Putin, that Mr. Carlson was manning a tank into Kharkiv. Cockburn, cautiously cheeky in his Spectator article, is reserving judgment till he himself has absorbed Tucker’s interview.
Not as cautious and scrambling to incriminate are such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Ann Applebaum, Christiane Amanpour and Bill Kristol, calling Tucker a “useful idiot”, among other slurs.
Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister and current member of the European Parliament, has called for the European Union to impose a travel ban on Carlson. “As Putin is a war criminal and the EU sanctions all who assist him in that effort, it seems logical that the External Action Service examine his case as well,” Verhofstadt said, calling Carlson a “mouthpiece” of Donald Trump and Putin.
No talks are in the works to sanction Carlson, according to an EU spokesman, but Bulwark founder Bill Kristol wants to bar Carlson from coming home. “Perhaps we need a total and complete shutdown of Tucker Carlson re-entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” he posted on X.
Of course, agrees Cockburn, Carlson has a track record of going easy in interviews with morally dubious guests such as Andrew Tate, Russell Brand, and Kevin Spacey. The Kremlin denied several other outlets the opportunity to grill Putin.
Nonetheless, the reactions to Carlson’s presence in Moscow seem particularly highly strung given no one currently knows what questions he asked. Cockburn does have his favorite dig against Carlson: a comparison with Unity Valkyrie Mitford, a British aristocrat who became infatuated with Adolf Hitler. In 1933 she moved to Germany and weaseled her way into the Führer’s inner circle, often vacationing with him in his home in Bavaria. After Britain declared war on Germany, Mitford attempted suicide. “Parallel lives,” said the Atlantic’s David Frum of Mitford and Carlson. Only time, and an American declaration of war on Russia, will tell how similar the two really are.
Carlson, notes Cockburn, said he’s in Moscow due to his role as an American journalist.
During the interview, Putin declined Carlson’s request to release the WSJ journalist Evan Gershkovich as a goodwill gesture. According to the WSJ, Putin said that “it does not make any sense to keep (Evan) in prison in Russia” but that it was up to the U.S. to facilitate his release.
The State Department didn’t respond to the WSJ’s request for a comment.