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Putin, Tucker and President Trump

Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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by Dr. Sebastian Gorka
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Tucker Carlson interviews Vladimir Putin
Tucker Carlson interviewing Vladimir Putin. CC: Kremlin.ru

Congratulations to Tucker Carlson.

It’s a big get. Actually, it’s a journalistic coup. 

Yes, Vladimir Putin gives interviews, but not often, and rarely to western media. So for a man who has no corporate home, because he was fired from the most popular ,Conservative cable platform, it was quite the achievement to sit down for several hours with the leader of the world’s second nuclear state, a state that is currently in an all-out conventional war in Europe. 

But was it actually journalism? 

Did it help Western audiences understand anything better? 

Did it present the Truth? 

First, let’s get our terms straight. Tucker Carlson is not a journalist. In fact, he’s much more than that. 

I heartily agree with my friend, and fellow show host, Dan Bongino when he admonishes his audience not to ever call him – or me for that matter! – a “journalist.” Dan says that because journalism has become a dirty word. It should be an insult to anyone who believes in factual reporting. 

The former marquee brands in media, the Washington Posts, the New York Times, the CNNs of the corporate press are hemorrhaging staff, readers and viewers for a reason. After 7 years of the “Russia, Russia, Russia,” hoax and “vaccines stop COVID,” or denying the veracity of the Hunter Biden “laptop from hell” story, even the erstwhile apolitical have had it with left-wing talking points masquerading as “journalism.” There’s a reason prime-time viewership for CNN, for example, has plummeted to 345,000. That’s in a nation of 330 million. Trust in corporate journalism has cratered for good reason. 

However, Tucker Carlson was a journalist when that wasn’t a pejorative term. Then he became a show host. And that’s another beast entirely. It’s a far greater responsibility than being just a journalist. How so? 

After I left the White House, and just before I launched my national radio show with SALEM Media, I was celebrating with my soon-to-be colleague, the inestimable Dennis Prager. Dennis had been hosting a radio show, and an incredibly successful one at that, for decades, so I was the keen apprentice eager to glean whatever morsels of wisdom I could before having to speak for 3 hours, live, every day to millions! 

We were in a cigar lounge – the Dennis has the most exhaustive knowledge of where to find and enjoy a good stogee anywhere in America – and he suddenly says: “Sebastian, do you know what we do for a living?” I, the newbie, reply: “No, Dennis, tell me!” “Well, Sebastian, we get paid to tell people what we think.” And he was right. 

Dan, Dennis, yours truly, we’re not paid to sit in front of a microphone or camera and read the empirical results of our exhaustive investigative journalism. No one would listen to that. Our audiences tune in to hear our opinion, our “take,” on what’s happening. They want our reaction to the news, for us to explain the significance of others’ “journalism.” That’s why people tuned into Tucker every night on FOX. 

And why was his show the No 1. rated program on FOX News? Because of his monologues. His well-crafted interpretation and explication of what’s going on in the world from his perspective. The Tucker nightly monologue set the tone for the whole evening of programming on FOX. And it was 11 minutes of Tucker’s views, his opinion, not just reportage. That makes his role all the more influential because his viewers walk away from his interpretation without having read the underlying facts. They trust Tucker’s interpretation of them. That’s why a media host has a far greater responsibility than just a journalist. 

But then Tucker was exiled into the wilderness and FOX tried to gag him until Elon Musk afforded him a new platform on Twitter/X instead of on cable. And now he decided to leave his studio here in America and interview the President of Russia from within the bowels of the Kremlin.  

Was the 2 hour-plus interview “journalism?” Hardly. Would a hardened investigative reporter with decades of experience under his belt allow his interview subject to do what Putin did? In response to his first question on how Putin justifies the war in Ukraine, after making fun of Tucker for behaving like a talk-show host, Putin gives a 40 minute soliloquy about Prince Rurik of Novgorod and the letters of the 17th century Cossack Commander Bohdan Khmelnytsky, and how Ukraine isn’t really a country but an artificial construct “invented” by the Poles, the Austrians, the Hungarians and the Bolsheviks. No really, if you haven’t watched it, watch it. That’s what Putin wants Tucker’s audience to believe, and sadly many do. 

Allowing a man in command of the second greatest military machine in the world, currently shelling civilians with artillery, to spew propaganda like that for 40-plus minutes straight isn’t journalism. It’s not even an interview. It’s what in new media parlance is called “platforming.”  

If it were journalism meant to question authority, get to the truth, and illuminate the audience, there are some questions that all reasonable people would expect, given who the “interviewee” is. I’ll get to that. 

Then there’s the way Tucker was “handled.” 

Remember who Putin really is. He’s not the elected President of Russia. He’s a former KGB colonel who was hand-picked by the corrupt Boris Yeltsin to replace him and protect him, his family and his ill-gotten gains after he left the Kremlin. More importantly, this no-name bureaucrat was “elected” as the new hard man leader of post Society Russia after a series of Russian tower-blocks were bombed by “terrorists.” Terrorists who turned out to in fact to be Putin’s security service colleagues. The streets of Moscow may be clean and the hamburgers delicious, but it’s not because Putin’s Russia is a normal country peopled by free men and women. It is run by a man who has been running the country for more than twenty years and was propelled to his position because his security services blew up scores of their fellow Russians so the bureaucrat no one had ever heard of could blame Chechens, invade Chechnya and look like a Tsar. 

With such a background, it’s no surprise that Tucker was rolled by Putin. And I mean exactly that. The murderous head of state had his American interlocutor exactly where he wanted him for most of the whole charade. If you haven’t watched the interview, watch it. Closely. Especially when Putin reveals who he really is and why this is his show and not Tucker’s. 

In a moment most commentators and viewers missed, after blaming the CIA and America for a series of crimes, Putin mocks Tucker and his connection to the CIA when he calls it “the organization you wanted to join back in the day, as I understand.” Tucker, the show-host, Tucker the “journalist,” is left speechless. For good reason. 

Tucker did apply to work for America’s foreign intelligence agency but for some reason wasn’t hired. Putin knows this because he clearly perused the SVR file on Tucker, the file in the bowls of the successor to the KGB. He prepped for his interview of the American. This wasn’t Tucker’s interview of Putin. It was Putin’s interview of Tucker and an adroit hijacking of the American’s platform to propagate lies and disinformation. Go back at watch the video and see how Tucker is left utterly speechless by Putin’s reveal of his CIA history

Which is all a shame, especially given what could have been. 

In a tease before the big event, filmed from downtown Moscow, Tucker made a political statement, not a journalistic one. He declared that his interview is about freedom of speech and the right for Americans to know the truth. Maybe, maybe not. It could be if viewed through the narrow prism of one man’s right to broadcast the interview back in the land of his birth. But it has nothing to do with the actual principle free speech. If it did Tucker would have asked about Boris Berezovsky, Aleksandr Litvinenko, Sergei Magnitsky, or Anna Politkonskaya. Why? Because these are all Russians who tried to exercise their free speech, as politicians, opposition leaders, dissidents, and mostly importantly as real journalists. And all of them were murdered for it. 

I give credit for Tucker asking at the end of the “interview” about one American held in a Russian prison for alleged spying. But he had nothing to say, peculiarly, about the most important political challenger to President Putin, the 47-year old anti-corruption activist Alexei Navaly. Perhaps if he had, Navaly would not have suddenly died last week in a Siberian gulag right after the Kremlin interview, and just after Navaly appeared by video for a court deposition, seemingly healthy. 

Mentioning the names of any of these Russian patriots killed by the state that also maintains clean subways and great cheeseburgers would have been journalism. And in fact, demanding such questions be asked is a very reasonable expectation since Tucker recently interviewed Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison, presumably because he is being unjustly held by the British government. Do political prisoners only matter if they are languishing in jail in corrupt Western regimes? And would Tucker even have been given access to the Kremlin if he had also asked to interview inmate Navaly before he dropped dead? At 47.

It is this latter point that perhaps is the most important aspect of the Putin-Tucker event. 

I have been countering some criticism on social media and behind-the-scenes resistance from some of my “Conservative” colleagues, one who immediately banned me from his podcast because I dared to criticize Tucker Carlson on X. (I wonder if the person in question appreciates the irony of his right-wing version of cancel culture.) That’s fine. After 7 years of the left literally labelling me a right-wing extremist and a Nazi, having a handful of alleged Conservatives suddenly label me “Deep State” is rather amusing. 

But there is a bigger problem that Tucker is just the symptom of. 

In what Konstantin Kisin has perfectly labelled the “Wokification of the Right,” it is clear that there are some who see themselves as patriots but who have actually started to deny reality just as badly as the godless secular Left does. 

This all began, understandably enough, with skepticism about politics, the media and our political elites. After the endless post-9/11 wars, the lies about COVID and its origins, and the incessant “Russian Collusion” hoax targeting a Republican President, why would you trust “conventional wisdom?” We are justified in disbelieving the media narratives about our “secure borders,” to distrust what both Republicans and Democrats are telling us why we have to send another $60 billion dollars to Kiev. Skepticism is more than justified. But we are not talking about skepticism. We are talking about believing the unbelievable. 

I know I have baggage when it comes to secret police officers and former Communists. At the age of 20, my father, a patriot and the bravest man I know, was arrested, tortured and given a life-sentence after a show-trial. He was liberated 6 years into his sentence by fellow patriots during the Hungarian Revolution, brave men and women fighting a regime secured by secret police officers modeled on the KGB Putin was once a sworn officer of. But you shouldn’t have to be a blood relative of a person prosecuted by a police state to know what Russia is and why Putin is not a champion of the West. 

If that last sentence is jarring, congratulations, you are not the problem. But it is a sad fact, actually a tragic one, that we have public voices here in America who lionize Vladimir Putin as a great man, an exemplar for Conservative leaders, a Christian with family values you loves his country and the Church.

Just typing that sentence makes me laugh. The idea that any American believes a man who was a senior officer in the KGB, cross-accredited to the deadly STASI, and who called the collapse of the Soviet Union, America’s greatest enemy, the greatest “tragedy of the 20th century,” is a champion of Conservative values is ludicrous. 

And yes, he may want Russians to have babies, be at war with the LGBTQ community, and speak out about the globalists of the World Economic Forum. But so do Jihadists like ISIS and al Qaeda. That doesn’t make them champions of Western Christianity either. On the subtler point of Putin’s “loving his country” and being a patriot, a line even The Federalist just shockingly propagated in an opinion piece, I share with you a story from a good friend who was married to a Russia. She told her America husband that the thing that makes her most angry at Putin is that fact that Russia today is just as corrupt as under the USSR. Yet despite his being so powerful he does nothing about that corruption. He is the apex of it. If he were a patriot, she says, Putin would use his inordinate power to fight corruption. If he were a patriot, that is. 

Finally, there’s the most jarring aspect about Tucker’s platforming of Vladimir Putin, and it has to do with President Trump. 

We all know that Tucker has had his issues with the 45th President. But after the collapse of the DeSantis campaign, it’s clear he is fully back on board the Trump train, which makes his choice to interview Putin and not to challenge him on his use of police-state tactics against opposition forces inexplicable. 

Are Jack Smith, Judge Engoron, Fani Willis, Letitia James, and Judge Chutkan but pale imitations of what Putin’s Russia does to those who dare challenge the Kremlin’s power? As yet we don’t have labor camps above the Article Circle like the penal colony Alexei Navalny was sent to die. But we have a gulag in Washington DC where January 6th protestors have been held without trial for years, some even denied cancer treatment

We may as yet not have Biden’s DoJ deploying hit teams to kill American citizens, but at least six January 6 defendants, including the heartbreaking case of Matt Perna, committed suicide under the withering assault of bogus terrorist-enhanced charges. Not to mention the case of Ashley Babbitt, an unarmed Air Force veteran gunned down by a federal officer whose identity was kept secret for months before the government lionized him as hero. 

President Trump may not be in prison or lying on a mortuary slab having been killed in custody. But his home was raided by armed FBI agents and he currently faces more than 730 years in prison and more than $500 million in fines for “crimes” that never occurred and where there were no victims, so how is it that so many who love America seem incapable of seeing that the Biden regime’s tactics are also Putin’s tactics? Is it remotely possible that Tucker Carlson can’t see that the Democrats and Putin are united in their willingness to use the state as their own political armory? All they both care for is their maintenance of power, and if you love the country and want it to be free, you are a threat to that power and must be stopped. 

Can we return to the time when all Conservatives rejected police-state tactics, whether they are used in Moscow or Mar-a-Lago?

Sebastian Gorka Ph.D. is host of SALEM Radio’s AMERICA First and The Gorka Reality Check on NEWSMAX TV. A former Strategist to President Donald Trump, he is a member of the National Security Education Board of the Pentagon. His latest book is The War for America’s Soul. Follow him on his SubStack page and website.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AMAC or AMAC Action.

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Dan W.
Dan W.
3 months ago

Dr. Gorka is not the only one panning Carlson’s interview. So is Putin.

Pat Geary
Pat Geary
3 months ago

Dr. Gorka is completely on target with these comments. People like Charlie Kirk, who praised Carlson’s interview as top notch, have merely revealed their own blindness and naiveté. Putin is an enemy of America and Tucker is a fool for not seeing this.

Kim
Kim
3 months ago

Whatever your opinion is of Tucker Carlson’s interview, we must remember he was on Russian soil speaking to a murderous thug. Americans have been “detained” in Russia for very minor crimes–crimes in their eyes, of course. If Carlson had said anything that angered Putin, he might not have been allowed to return to the U.S.A.

OnePatriot77
OnePatriot77
3 months ago

Wow, what a hatchet job unfairly attacking Tucker Carlson. Is Seb Gorka jealous Tucker was able to succeed and interview Putin where he was rejected?
I’m a middle-aged man / new junkie that is fans of both Seb Gorka and Tucker Carlson.
1) Tucker is a REAL journalist. Currently, there is no living journalist I appreciate and trust more. His interviews on Tucker Carlson Network (TCN) are excellent. These are not Larry King type interviews with all softball questions.
2) It’s true Putin spoke for 30 minutes or so regarding local history. Tucker made attempts to intervene that irritated Putin. As a guest, he made a smart call to allow Putin to continue talking and we got a 2 hour insightful interview.
For decades the globalists have made Putin out to be the boogeyman. It was helpful for the world to see Putin address questions directly so we can evaluate him for ourselves. The interview was a win for Tucker and all Independent Thinkers.

Dan W.
Dan W.
3 months ago

Yeah, everybody knows that Germany started WWII when they bombed Pearl Harbor.

It was bad
It was bad
3 months ago

that was the most boring interview I ever seen. I know he didn’t want to be pushed out of a window like a Putin critic but at least that would have been entertaining lol

Jerry
Jerry
3 months ago

That was suppose to be good article.

Jerry
Jerry
3 months ago

God article.

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