Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) insisted this week that Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News should be suspended or cancelled over the host’s incessant support for Russian rhetoric regarding the unfolding war in Ukraine. It’s been weeks since the Russian government invaded Ukraine, and in that time, Vladimir Putin’s forces have inflicted devastating impacts on the Ukrainian population, thousands of whom have died. And yet, Carlson has been essentially directly backing up the Russian government’s arguments in relation to the war involving specific issues like the West’s supposed role in inciting the conflict and the supposed (but in reality non-existent) U.S.-funded biological warfare labs in Ukraine. With that first point, it would seem Carlson is essentially trying to excuse Putin’s regime for killing thousands of people.
Tucker Carlson is lending considerable support to the cause of America’s enemy.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) March 14, 2022
Kinzinger commented as follows in response to a post about Russian state television promoting a recent segment on Carlson’s show where the host and former Hawaii Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard promoted the biological weapons lie:
‘Both are an embarrassment and a shame. Traitorous activity. Why is [Fox News] still allowing [Tucker Carlson] to spew his lies for Putin? I know it will cost in ad revenue, but [Fox News] should suspend or cancel his show.’
Both are an embarrassment and a shame. Traitorous activity. Why is @FoxNews still allowing @TuckerCarlson to spew his lies for Putin? I know it will cost in ad revenue, but @FoxNews should suspend or cancel his show. https://t.co/hSndbeYSee
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) March 14, 2022
Mother Jones recently revealed that formal Kremlin recommendations to Russian government-aligned media outlets have repeatedly pushed sources in Russia to use Carlson’s comments in coverage. The recommendations seem to have emerged from a Russian government agency called the Department of Information and Telecommunications Support, and a March 3 document from that entity insists that it’s “essential to use as much as possible fragments of broadcasts of the popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who sharply criticizes the actions of the United States [and] NATO, their negative role in unleashing the conflict in Ukraine, [and] the defiantly provocative behavior from the leadership of the Western countries and NATO towards the Russian Federation and towards President Putin, personally.” As for his excusals for the Russian government’s responsibility for the war in Ukraine, Carlson insisted that the U.S. had been “inciting war with Russia,” adding — as though his nonsense was a given fact: “Why in the world would the United States intentionally seek war with Russia? How could we possibly benefit from that war?”
SCOOP: @MotherJones has obtained Russian government memos sent to pro-Putin media outlets telling them "it is essential" they feature Tucker Carlson in their coverage of the #Ukraine war "as much as possible."https://t.co/GFNq4Gx91i
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 13, 2022
However exactly the war in Ukraine ends, it appears clear that pro-Putin — or at least Putin-accepting — sentiments are here to stay, for now, in the Republican Party, which sets up particularly troubling prospects for the scenario in which a Republican becomes president once again. Besides the metaphorical blind eye to authoritarian atrocities that certain Republicans could be expected to provide, there’s also the possibility of a further push for authoritarian, Putin-like policies by a hypothetical Republican president. Sitting alongside Putin back in 2019, Trump remarked, in reference to journalists: “Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do.” Putin replied, in English: “We also have. It’s the same.” Trump found common ground with Putin — who has been stated to be behind murders of journalists — in joking about “getting rid” of “fake news” journalists.
Don't forget that Donald Trump was impeached (the first time) after he illegally withheld military aide from Ukraine in an attempt to get them to interfere with our democratic process.
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) March 14, 2022