Tucker Carlson Is Facing Massive Backlash for Interviewing Vladimir Putin – Is Any of the Criticism Fair?

Tucker Carlson posted a video on X earlier this week to announce that he was in Russia to interview Vladimir Putin. It didn’t take long for the media freakout to ensue.

On Thursday’s show, Megyn was joined by Dennis Prager, founder of PragerU, to discuss Carlson’s sit-down with the Russian president and whether or not he deserves the criticism.

Tucker’s Announcement

After rumors began to swirl that Carlson was in Russia, the former Fox News primetime host took to X on Tuesday to confirm that he was in Moscow to interview Putin. In the four-minute clip, he explained what he considers to be the purpose of the sit-down.

We’re doing it. First, because it’s our job. We’re in journalism. Our duty is to inform people. Two years into a war that’s reshaping the entire world, most Americans are not informed… But they should know. They’re paying for much of it in ways they might not fully yet perceive. 

The war in Ukraine is a human disaster… This war has utterly reshaped the global military and trade alliances… and yet the populations of the English-speaking countries seem mostly unaware. They think that nothing has really changed. And they think that because no one has told them the truth. Their media outlets are corrupt. They lie to their readers and viewers, and they do that mostly by omission…

They have done scores of interviews with Ukrainian President Zelensky… But the interviews he’s already done in the United States are not traditional interviews. They are fawning pep sessions… That is not journalism. It is government propaganda… Not a single Western journalist is bothered to interview the president of the other country involved in this conflict, Vladimir Putin. Most Americans have no idea why Putin invaded Ukraine or what his goals are now. You’ve never heard his voice. That’s wrong. Americans have a right to know all they can about a war they’re implicated in… 

We are not here because we love Vladimir Putin. We are here because we love the United States.

It did not take long for the media to react – mostly negatively – to the news that Carlson had secured an interview with Putin. 

On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist spoke of jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and others who have tried and failed to cover Russia and Putin amid the war. “They let a certain kind of journalist in for an interview, but not the ones who ask the questions,” Geist said. “And I assure you, NBC and every other news organization in the Western world has a request in for an interview with Vladimir Putin. So, it’s not for lack of trying.”

Megyn was willing to cede the point that there have no doubt been efforts made by many in the U.S. media to get an interview with the Kremlin. “A lot of journalists pointed out that they have requested multiple times to interview Vladimir Putin. It’s not an easy get, that’s for sure,” she said. “But what’s more interesting to me is the freakout.”

The Backlash

As Megyn explained, “the left wing is very upset that he’s platforming Putin,” and “they’re guaranteeing that he will ask no tough questions because his coverage of Putin hasn’t been completely pro-Ukraine.”

She likened it to the backlash she personally faced before her interviews with controversial subjects. “I had this myself when I interviewed Putin the first time, before he invaded Ukraine. And I certainly had it when I interviewed Alex Jones, who is nowhere near as controversial as Vladimir Putin,” she noted. “But the meltdown was catastrophic over here, and we’re seeing it again.”

Prager wondered if the reaction would be the same if a “prominent person on the left” went to Qatar to interview the leaders of Hamas. “Would there be an outcry,” he asked. “I mean, if the issue is you don’t interview evil, is it only applicable to Putin or is it applicable to Hamas?”

In Prager’s view, this interview is a “risk” that may prove to be “a very noble risk,” but it does require Carlson “to ask some very difficult questions.” Those should include queries about Gershkovich and opposition leaders “that all of a sudden seem to disappear and die premature deaths,” he said. 

Ultimately, Prager said Carlson will need to practice what he preached. “If he excoriates those who interviewed Zelensky as ‘pep sessions,’ then he can’t do the same thing with Putin,” he concluded. “But otherwise, I think it is important that somebody does an interview with him.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Prager by tuning in to episode 720 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.