After weeks of seemingly defending Vladimir Putin and having clips of his show played on Russian state media, Tucker Carlson is taking umbrage at being called an enabler for Russian disinformation.
Carlson’s reaction comes at a time when two Republican legislators have accused him of spreading Russian propaganda connected to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. In the Thursday broadcast of Carlson’s Fox News program, he said that Republican Texas Representative Michael McCaul had recently called his show an “organ of Russian disinformation.”
Carlson didn’t cite a specific instance of McCaul saying such a thing.
“In other words, not only are we wrong—which is fine—we’re disloyal Americans doing the bidding of a foreign power,” Carlson said. “It’s not fine. It’s slander.”
Carlson then said that his show is “only and narrowly interested in the interests of our own country.” He then accused McCaul and other Republicans of “suddenly talking like Joe Biden” who “calls anything he doesn’t like Russian disinformation.”
As proof of his claim, Carlson referred to Biden’s comments stating that Russia had an interest in furthering claims that Biden had used his political standing to benefit the Ukraine-based business dealings of his son, Hunter.
An 87-page report released in mid-September 2021 by Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin examined these claims. Their report neither cited any instances of criminal financial activity by Hunter Biden nor presented concrete evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden.
Carlson has continued to broadcast these claims. The Biden administration has since said that Russia has repeated these allegations in order to aid in its characterization of Ukraine’s government as corrupt and in need of a regime change.
Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger has also recently .
Part of Kinzinger’s claim stems from Carlson’s recent broadcasts about the U.S. allegedly funding bioweapon labs in Ukraine. In fact, on Tuesday, Democratic Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen accused Carlson of spreading misinformation about the labs.
In a March 9 broadcast, Carlson claimed that the U.S. and Western media had tried to disavow the labs’ existence. He said that testimony by U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland proved that Russia’s claims of U.S. involvement in the labs were “totally and completely true.”
However, fact-checkers pointed out that the U.S. government had previously stated that the labs were researching possible epidemics, not bioweapons like Russian sources have long claimed. In fact, the U.S. has said Russia’s claims about U.S. bioweapons in Ukraine may be a cover for Russia to launch its own bio-attack and then blame the U.S. or Ukraine for the attack.
The Russian state-owned TV network RT has frequently replayed Carlson’s February 24 defense of Putin, in which he rhetorically asked: “Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? Has he shipped every middle-class job in my town to Russia? Did he manufacture a worldwide pandemic?”
Russian state media has also broadcast a conversation between Carlson and retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor, who predicted Russia would “annihilate” Ukrainian troops if they did not surrender.
The Russian government has instructed its news outlets to show clips of Carlson “as much as possible” because of his critical views of the U.S. policy, according to Mother Jones.