Russian TV uses Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard to sell Putin’s war

at the hours Since Russia launched its military assault on Ukraine, Russian state television news has been dominated by official statements and reports from war correspondents. But in the days leading up to the attack, as the state broadcaster tried to tarnish Ukraine and brand US criticism of President Vladimir Putin as hysterical, its producers borrowed heavily from another source: FoxNews.

At least four times this week, Russian news reports have featured translated clips of Tucker Carlson or his guest Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic U.S. Representative, attacking the Biden administration.

Moreover, a report on Sunday’s main Russian television network did more than quote Carlson: it expanded on and escalated a political attack on a prominent Democratic senator to whom Carlson had just alluded.

On Sunday at 8 p.m., a prime-time review of the week’s news hosted by Dmitry Kiselev, an explosive Putin favorite, featured remarks from the opening monologue of Carlson’s Feb. 17 show, in which the commentator American ransacked the Ukrainian government.

“These people are so gruesome,” Carlson said of US officials who provided military aid to Ukraine. “Of course they are promoting war,” Carlson continued, as his comments were translated into Russian, “not to maintain the democracy that is Ukraine. Ukraine is not a democracy. It has never been a democracy in its history, and it is not now. It is a client state of the Biden administration.

The Russian broadcast cut Carlson’s monologue at this point to show Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s appearance at the United Nations that day. But it echoed exactly the next part of the original Fox News broadcast, which also showed Blinken on screen as Carlson mocked his warning that Russia might stage a false flag attack and blame it on the Ukraine as a pretext for war.

An hour later, Russia’s main state-run television evening news program used a longer excerpt from Carlson’s same monologue and fashioned its own report to amplify the Fox News host’s attack on a Democrat. . In the original Fox News broadcast, Carlson had suggested that Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who was working to arm Ukraine with Javelin anti-tank missiles, was only doing so because of donations from American defense contractors like Raytheon.

Before citing Carlson’s comments, the Russian report noted that Blumenthal had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Raytheon and referenced Blumenthal’s false claim that he had served in Vietnam. The Russian broadcast then cut a portion of Carlson’s program in which he showed viewers a video of Blumenthal telling MSNBC about the need to supply Javelin missiles to Ukraine. Carlson was then shown laughing at Blumenthal. “So this guy, who lied about his own war service, is pretty excited about Ukrainians fighting and dying in the streets,” Carlson quipped.

After cutting Carlson, the Russian correspondent noted that President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump also received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Raytheon.

On Wednesday evening, just hours before Putin ordered the attack on Ukraine, two excerpts from Carlson’s most recent program were shown on the 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. newscasts of Russian state television.

Carlson began his show Tuesday night with a sarcastic monologue in which he told viewers, “The Democrats in Washington told you it was your patriotic duty to hate Vladimir Putin. It’s not a suggestion. It’s a warrant. Anything short of hating Putin is betrayal. Many Americans obeyed this directive. They now dutifully hate Vladimir Putin. Maybe you are one of them. Hatred of Putin has become the central goal of US foreign policy. That’s the main thing we’re talking about. Entire cable channels are now devoted to it. Very soon, this hatred of Vladimir Putin could drag the United States into a conflict in Eastern Europe.

Carlson’s comments were so well received in Moscow that a Russian-subtitled excerpt of the rant was quickly produced by the Russian-language service of RT, the government-funded network formerly known as Russia Today. .

During the 8 p.m. newscast on Russian state television on Wednesday, as Russians tried to figure out what was about to happen, they were offered a dubbed version of Carlson’s monologue as an explanation.

An hour later, Russian television’s main evening news program featured another excerpt from Carlson’s broadcast the previous night, an excerpt from his discussion of possible economic sanctions against Russia with Gabbard, who is now a frequent Fox guest and has received a privileged speaking niche at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend.

Like Carlson, Gabbard sought to blame the United States and NATO for allegedly provoking Putin’s attack on Ukraine and suggested that Americans would suffer from higher energy prices if the Russia was sanctioned for invading Ukraine.

“These sanctions don’t work,” Gabbard told Carlson in a projected trade for the Russians. “What we know is that they will increase the suffering and hardship of the American people. And that’s the whole problem with the Biden administration: they’re so focused on how we punish Putin that they’re don’t care and don’t focus on what is truly in the best interests of the American people.

Russian officials have not been shy to point out that fuel prices are likely to skyrocket in Europe and the United States if sanctions are imposed on its vast oil and gas industry. Washington state television reports on the crisis have repeatedly included close-ups of high gasoline prices and suggested they could rise.

On Thursday, after Russia launched its military assault on Ukraine, Gabbard posted the video of his sanctions comments on Twitter and suggested, without evidence, that he should do anything to pressure Putin to it stops the invasion of Ukraine could lead to nuclear war.

Gabbard returned to Carlson’s show Thursday night; during her appearance, she blamed Biden for failing to prevent the war, which she could have done by caving in to Putin’s demand to rule out the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO.