Media responses to the Putin interview

10 Feb

I’ve seen it start to end. Here again is the link. Many on this site would have tuned in anyway, but if a single person watched as a result of its promotion here, then I’m a happy man. Do let me know your thoughts.

Meanwhile what of our fiercely independent corporate media? Of whom I will keep saying:

On many matters their ‘quality’ sections serve us tolerably well but this enables a greater lie. They need to show good faith even if that embarrasses those in high office. (Not only does their long term capacity to influence opinion and manufacture consent depend on it. So too, on pain of losing market share, do their business models.) But the trust so gained helps them mislead us, more by omission than commission, on matters critical – above all the vilifying of states and leaders standing in the way of empire designs – to the power they ultimately serve.

Here’s a tough question. Which of the two responses just described would be triggered by an interview wherein the RF President laid out for a Western audience – speaking for over two hours with little interruption – his view of the Ukraine War, its antecedents and implications?

I guess this set of returns, two days ago on the search term, “tucker carlson interview”, gives us our answer:

Let’s take a closer look. Starting from the top, here’s the link to the Independent opinion piece. It’s by Ryan “I’m working class you know”  Coogan. If you can find, amid a sea of smear, a single reference to, far less a fact based rebuttal of, a word the RF president said, you’ve a sharper pair of eyes than I have.

And no, it offers no link to the full interview so we can make up our own minds. Odd as this may seem – and to be pedantically clear, I’m resorting to the lowest form of wit now – nor do any of the others.


The first Yahoo! report is is by Madison Czopek:

“Since the day the war began in Ukraine, American media outlets have spoken to scores of people from Ukraine and they’ve done scores of interviews with Ukrainian President Zelensky,” Carlson said, noting that he’d requested an interview with Zelenskyy, too. “At the same time, our politicians and media outlets have been doing this — promoting a foreign leader like he’s a new consumer brand — not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview the president of the other country involved in this conflict, Vladimir Putin.”

This was disputed by the Kremlin’s spokesperson and numerous Western journalists. Journalists across the world have “bothered” to seek interviews with Putin. The Kremlin declines.

Czopek writes for Politifact, a self-anointed ‘fact checker’ site of a kind I’ve covered elsewhere. This one is owned by a Poynter Institute whose funders include the Charles Koch Institute, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Washington Post (i.e. Jeff Bezos). Anyone who thinks I need say more should lay off the weed and find out how the real world works. 1

Literalist in her malign stupidity, Ms Czopek ignores the glaring disparity in media coverage of the two leaders, allowing her to finish with the most damning of Politifact’s verdicts:

Pants on Fire!

This deep thinker has co-written another piece. In 3 conspiracy theories Putin promoted in his Tucker Carlson interview that Carlson didn’t challengeshe and one Jeff Cercone inform us:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that “Ukraine is an artificial state.” That claim is inaccurate and one-sided, historians say.
  • Putin said the U.S. isn’t being run by elected officials such as President Joe Biden. Experts who study Russian propaganda campaigns and Russian politics told PolitiFact there’s no evidence to support that theory, and said Putin advanced the theory to sow existing political divisions in the U.S.
  • Putin claimed Russia’s goal in invading Ukraine was “denazification.” There’s no evidence Ukraine is a Nazi state; this narrative has been rebutted by historians, U.S. officials and other experts.

I guess that settles things once and for all. Desperate Dan slices of humble pie for yours truly!


Credit to Metro. The other selections are coy in their avoidance of specifics, opting instead for generalised assault, but its piece – Body language expert gives chilling verdict on Putin’s Tucker Carlson interview – makes no bones about ignoring what the RF President had to say.

Do I focus too much on media like Guardian and Economist, calling out their untrustworthiness on the things that most matter? Should I focus more on the infantilisations of media whose role is to distract us with unabashed candy-floss in lieu of serious comment?


Yahoo News! invokes Boris Johnson. He’s not the UK’s first mendacious prime minister. Just the first whom corporate media could and frequently did call a liar without fear of litigation. That he urged Ukraine to walk away from the Istanbul peace talks in the spring of 2022 is not a matter for grown up debate …

… which makes Bojo, whose hoots of “utter nonsense” and “Russian propaganda” are worthless, an accessory before the fact to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths, and to Ukraine’s irreversible loss of territories east and south of the Dnieper.

Sensibly avoiding reliance on this man’s word on any factual question, the focus here is on his incisive summation of the Carlson interview as “bum-sucking servility to a tyrant”.

Credit where it’s due, given London’s status as Washington’s most obedient serf, he’d know.


For its part the Telegraph runs with Putin threatens World War Three if US deploys troops in Ukraine. Do correct me if I’m wrong. What I heard the president say was that if the US were to deploy its own troops in Ukraine, “that would certainly bring humanity to the brink of a very serious global conflict.”

Is it the prevailing wisdom on Planet Telegraph that it would not?


Finally Yahoo, in yet a third piece, gainsays Ryan “I’m working class you know”  Coogan to side with Hillary under the header, Tucker Carlson Proves Useful Idiot For Putin In Sycophantic Sit-Down. It too makes clear that Tucker Carlson’s real crime is that of giving this man, whom so few Westerners ever get to hear in his own words, the space to set out his thinking:

It would be one thing if the much-hyped sit down from the Kremlin was merely fawning, but instead Carlson abdicated any sense of being a significant participant in the interview to let the internationally-scorned Russian president 2 deliver what is for all practical purposes a stump speech.

I already addressed this in Carlson-Putin: why not judge for yourself? Citing media coverage before the interview aired – from Independent, Telegraph and Washington Post – I noted the assumption by all three that “the job of an impartial interviewer is to control or even dominate from the outset”.

When did those second rate Jeremy Paxman wannabes, eager to show their colours as feisty hatcheteers for power, ever generate more light than heat with their childish rudeness? Then again, generating light is hardly the point here, is it? Quite the opposite.

A useful measure of the good faith of this writer, one

At no point did Carlson challenge Putin, or counter with even the basic fact that … Zelensky is Jewish and had members of his family killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Did Mr Patten actually watch the interview? Or is he even more obtusely supine than Madison Czopek? The RF president could not have been more clear on this point. He spoke of his dismay – directly conveyed, he claimed, to Zelensky – that a man “of the Jewish faith” whose father had fought the Nazis in WW2 was now a prisoner of Ukraine’s far right. It’s one thing to dispute such a depiction of the Ukraine President, though that would not be easy given on the one hand the man’s 2019 election on a ticket of ending war in the east and mending fences with Moscow, on the other his u-turn to appease Ukraine’s far right.

It’s another thing entirely to mangle the claim itself beyond recognition.


I leave you with two things. One is a question. Given the need of those in power, to whom our media ultimately answer by way of oligarchic ownership and advertiser dependency, to trash the Russian leader, do you suppose any of the writers here would, had they taken a different approach, still have a job?

Journalists who know what’s good for them please editors. Editors who know what’s good for them please proprietors. Proprietors not only crave seats at the high table. They need advertisers and/or wealthy sponsors.

The other is a plea. Go to sources less compromised by interests incompatible with truthful reporting and comment. Naked Capitalism for one. The Duran for another. Best of all, if you haven’t already done so, take this rare opportunity to hear what the man himself has to say.

* * *

  1. It’s worth noting Mr Putin’s reply when Tucker – who shares his certainty, as do I, that the US destroyed Nordstream – asked why Moscow has never gone public on the matter:

    Why would we? America controls the information space, including Europe.

  2. The “internationally scorned Russian president”?  I’ll be kind and assume writer Dominic Patten the smug product of the brainwashing his own profession does so much to aid – as opposed to being an out and out racial supremacist. Either way he clearly draws on an understanding of the world as depicted here …

    … and, equally clearly, failed to notice Putin’s recent reception in the middle east.

3 Replies to “Media responses to the Putin interview

  1. For me, the most troubling aspect of MSM’s reaction to the interview is its utter simplicity. (To say it’s facile is to insult skin-deep beauty.)
    It wasn’t that long ago that MSM had no trouble with the Nazi elements in Ukraine. And now . . . ? Completely buried, or should I say, “burned away.”

    • Hi Chet. Let’s just keep plugging away at the fact MSM cannot be trusted on any matter which seriously challenges ruling class interests in a fading imperialist world order. It’s not that journalists are a pack of liars. A few are exactly that but most are just regular dudes trying to get by; as much brainwashed as brainwashers, and neither more nor less prone than the next guy to believe what it suits them to believe. Your compatriot, Upton Sinclair, nailed it beautifully:

      It’s hard to get a man to see a truth his salary depends on him not seeing.

      As did another of your compatriots:

      Andrew Marr (BBC interviewer): How can you know I am self censoring?

      Noam Chomsky: I do not say that you are self censoring. I’m sure you believe all you say. But what I’m saying is that if you did not believe those things, you would not be sitting in that chair

  2. Pingback: ‘Hasn’t The US got anything better to do?’ – onthebrynk

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