The hypocrisy of the media's meltdown over Tucker Carlson's Putin interview

The hypocrisy of the media's meltdown over Tucker Carlson's Putin interview

February 13, 2024, 6:50 PM

Photo credit: Screen shot of Tucker Carlson's X video interview with Putin.

By Adam Weiss 

The same mainstream media mob continuously decrying that "journalism is not a crime" sure seems to have changed their tune regarding Tucker Carlson's sit-down interview with Vladimir Putin.

The violation? Tucker, who has a far more extensive reach than almost all of the press corps combined, exists outside of their echo chamber in the un-elitist "alternative" media space.  

The media has suddenly determined that interviewing a sitting President is possibly treasonous, with dramatic headlines ranging from Newsweek's "Tucker Carlson Could Be 'Prosecuted' for Putin Interview, Lawyer Warns," to Politico's "Tucker Carlson joins long line of 'useful idiot' journalists helping tyrants" to MSN's "US talk show host Tucker Carlson slammed as 'traitor' after being pictured in Russia ahead of 'sit-down interview with Putin," to Washington Post's "Putin interview with Tucker Carlson shows Kremlin outreach to Trump's GOP."

A Media Matters senior fellow was given a platform to opine on MSNBC that "rather than have Putin sit down with The New York Times or NBC News, the BBC or Le Monde, it provided access to Tucker Carlson" because "the Russians aren't seeking a credible interview for a mass audience." Even disgraced fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo blasted Carlson for daring to do what journalists do, which is interviewing world leaders, declaring that it was all for Tucker to generate "attention" toward himself.

The left-leaning media's besties in the political realm also got involved. Biden's National Security Council spokesperson, John Kirby, decided it was his place to comment on who the Kremlin should and should not grant interviews to, declaring that "we don't need another interview with Vladimir Putin to understand his brutality." Irrelevant Hillary Clinton branded Carlson a "useful idiot" on MSNBC, and some members of the European Parliament even shrilled for the former Fox News host to be sanctioned and banned from the EU.

It doesn't matter when the toe-the-line media interviews other controversial figures and villains.

The Washington Post wrote a glowing feature when Jesse Jackson sat down with Bashar’s father, dictator Hafez Assad. No, those interviews were all lauded as award-winning examples of top-notch journalism. Nobody condemned the BBC's Jeremy Bowen for interviewing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad at the height of the Syrian civil war as he stood accused of slaying hundreds and thousands of his own people or when CNN's Clarissa Ward sat down with an ISIS leader in Kabul just days after the terror groups killed thirteen U.S. Marines amid the chaotic evacuation, or when ABC's Diane Sawyer gave Charles Manson hours of airtime or Barbara Walters toured around with Fidel Castro.

Moreover, when news outlets – from 60 Minutes to Bloomberg to NBC – interviewed Putin in the past, there were no wails of outrage from the press. But when Tucker does it, it's crossing a red line.

The meltdown is mind-blowing, but it shouldn't come as a surprise given how twisted the mainstream media is in looking down their noses and believing they are the only smart ones in the room versed enough to take on the task. The likes of CNN and BBC admit that they tried – unsuccessfully – to score a sit down with Putin and seem shocked that the Russian leader called out their clear bias by turning them all down.

Bizarrely, journalists have even managed to make this whole saga about them, positioning themselves as victims. Susan Glasser, a New York Times writer and former Washington Post lamented on CNN that Carlson was somehow wrong for interviewing Putin "at a time when Western journalists are literally sitting in jail for having done nothing wrong other than seeking to report independently in Putin's Russia, not to mention the many Russian journalists who face imprisonment or exile in the effort to continue their work."

What? This is all the more reason to interview Putin – to hold him accountable in the public eye and be a vessel of communication. This goes to the foundation of the job. And Carlson did just that. The independent media figure raised Putin's imprisonment of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, stressing that he isn't a spy and is "just a kid." Carlson urged Putin to show his "decency," to which the President responded that he believed a deal could be reached "if our partners take reciprocal steps." 

The bottom line is that journalism needs to be open and without barriers. One does not have to agree with a subject's position, but journalists must give all sides a hearing to do the job right. It is a sad day in America when the media itself is the ones to proclaim that a free press is selective. Thank goodness we have alternatives now – alternatives like Tucker willing to go against the biased grain. 

Mind you, there is much more to the media's breakdown of Carlson than meets the eye. For eight years now, the press corps has been desperate to prove the widely disproved Russian collusion narrative that somehow the Trump team is in lockstep with the Kremlin, despite zero proof. By painting Carlson as a "propagandist," they can get ahead of the game, drumming up clickbait of Russian meddling inside the GOP.

Just watch this space.

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Adam Weiss is the CEO of AMW PR, a New York based political strategy and communications firm. His firm has worked with Jim Brown, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Congressman Lee Zeldin, Eboni Williams, Corey Lewandowski, David Bossie, Andrew Giuliani, Governor Haley Barbour, Steve Hilton. Anthony Scaramucci, and more.

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