Americans Apoplectic over Putin Interview [Opinion]
You don't have to believe anything that Putin said to see that Tucker Carlson's interview has gotten people talking about Ukraine pre-2022, and starting a discussion is what journalism is all about. And that's a good thing, unless of course you don't want people discussing the historical context of the war in Ukraine. I'll wager that Tucker's critics did not watch the interview. They don't believe it would be informative. But that sort of takes away their right to criticize and malign the interviewer.
EU leaders are considering sanctions and a travel ban on Carlson. Here in the U.S., people are calling him a traitor. May I remind the reader that in order to officially be a traitor someone must give aid and comfort to an enemy we are at war with. And yet Biden administration officials insist that this is not a proxy war with the United States.
Some are using the word propagandist to describe Tucker as it pertains to this interview, a term that carries the accusation that Carlson is pro-Russian or anti-Ukrainian (and by extension, anti-American). They say Putin would not allow any "real" journalists to interview him. This is, of course, an assumption if not a bald faced lie. When did Norah O'Donnell request that interview? Sure we all know that more than one lawsuit against Fox News has ended in the determination that it is biased partisan entertainment and not news, a label that will follow Carlson through the rest of his career. But all he did was ask questions, neither loaded nor fawning, and in some cases he even challenged Putin.
Of course everything that Putin said can be defined as propaganda, but does that make Tucker a conspirator? In the past, American journalists have interviewed Castro, Bin Laden and other despots. Did those interviews make them de facto sympathetic propagandists? Perhaps the difference in those instances is that the facts of the matter supported the U.S. narrative.
We used to extol the virtues of a free press, agreeing en masse that more damage is done by silencing alternate points of view than by giving them voice.