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Tucker Carlson's Putin Interview Is a Good Thing

Mathew Biadun | Staff Writer

Tucker Carlson was spotted in Russia three days ago, leading to large-scale questioning on the purpose of his visit. The questions were finally answered on Thursday, when he announced he would be interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was Putin’s first interview with a Western journalist since the War in Ukraine started nearly two years ago. 

The announcement of the interview was immediately met with wide-scale backlash. CNN’s reporting accused him of doing the ‘bidding of the Kremlin’. His track record, which has included many statements that are Russophilic or pro-Putin, has led many to share in this accusation.  

Now, you don’t have to like Tucker Carlson. I certainly don’t like him. I even agree that his comments do lean into being expressly pro-Russian, or pro-authoritarian. However, I do not have to agree with him to see the value of this type of interview.  

It has been almost two years since Vladimir Putin conducted an interview like this. He has conducted several interviews with Russian media. However, that media is so utterly controlled by Putin himself and his government that the questions might as well be written by himself.  

Tucker Carlson’s interview will likely be edited and biased as well. He is unlikely to have complete control. However, having more control over the interview is likely. Tucker Carlson does not live in Russia, and his foreign citizenship gives him more freedom than any Russian outlet could dream of. Carlson doesn’t need to fear imprisonment for his comments.  

Many have lambasted this interview, accusing that it will be pro-Russian no matter if Carlson himself is Russian or not. However, these accusations miss the point. It is precisely because Tucker Carlson leans pro-Russian that this interview was allowed to take place. Putin would have never agreed to an interview with a journalist who constantly accuses him of genocide or warmongering. It just won’t happen. Carlson’s sympathies, like them or not, are what allowed this interview to occur. We can still hate Tucker Carlson. 

We can still criticize Tucker Carlson. In fact, we should. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate this interview for the value it holds. We are going to have a Putin interview far less biased than any since the war began, and that is an incredible resource. I’m not thankful that Carlson is pro-Russian. However, I am begrudgingly accepting that his pro-Russian feelings have given us a unique primary source that we have been sorely lacking. It presents an opportunity for a far deeper and superior understanding of Putin. For that, I am happy this interview exists. 


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