Fox News narratives have “increasingly” been promoted by the Kremlin, research by The New York Times has found; mentions of the network in Russian-language media grew 217% in this first quarter of 2022 compared to the last quarter of 2021. And it’s not just Tucker Carlson.
On Friday, The New York Times published an article by Stuart A. Thompson, called, “How Russian Media Uses Fox News to Make Its Case.” It was based on a review of “nearly 500 Russian-language articles mentioning Fox News between July and late March, sourced from the two largest state news agencies in the country — RIA Novosti and TASS — along with dozens of articles from other Russian-language media.”
From the article:
The narratives advanced by the Kremlin and by parts of conservative American media have converged in recent months, reinforcing and feeding each other. Along the way, Russian media has increasingly seized on Fox News’s prime-time segments, its opinion pieces and even the network’s active online comments section — all of which often find fault with the Biden administration — to paint a critical portrait of the United States and depict America’s foreign policy as a threat to Russia’s interests. Mr. Carlson was a frequent reference for Russian media, but other Fox News personalities — and the occasional news update from the network — were also included.
We already knew that the Kremlin considers Carlson "essential" to its propaganda. It's quite possible the rest of Fox is, too.
The article cited four ways Russia uses Fox for its propaganda:
Blaming NATO expansion
Russia must have loved the March 7, 2022 Tucker Carlson Tonight show where he gave the Russians a twofer, blaming NATO expansion and accusing the U.S. of deliberately provoking the war. From my March 8 post:
CARLSON: Vladimir Putin just invaded Ukraine because he didn't want Ukraine to join NATO. Putin certainly had other motives as well. People always do have multiple motives.
But that's the main reason Russia invaded. The Russians don't want American missiles on their border. They don't want a hostile government next door. Now, that's true, whether you're allowed to say it in public right now or not. It has been true for a long time.
At a public press event at the Munich Security Conference, Kamala Harris encouraged Ukraine to become a member of NATO, quote: "I appreciate and admire President Zelenskyy's desire to join NATO." Message: Up yours, Vladimir Putin. Go ahead and invade Ukraine, and of course Vladimir Putin did that just days later.
So the invasion was no surprise to the Biden administration. They knew that would happen. That was the point of the exercise.
Buttressing conspiracy theories
More of what Fox must have loved: Fox sent Jennifer Griffin out to debunk its own “Ukraine biolab” falsehoods (any real news network would have checked the facts before spreading a conspiracy theory), but Carlson ignored his own network’s reporter and claimed the conspiracy theory “turned out to be true.”
Questioning the west’s goals
As noted above, Carlson has actually blamed the U.S. for the war. But he is not alone. Former Congresswoman and 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard criticized President Joe Biden and NATO, on Fox News, for not caving to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand that they guarantee Ukraine never becomes a member of NATO. The Times found that Russia’s TASS seized on and repeated the comments made by Republican House candidate Joe Kent on Fox in which he claimed that the west’s support for Ukraine was causing them “to continue to blow off any kind of negotiation” to end the war and thus “continue to be slaughtered.”
Criticizing President Biden
Well, Russia doesn’t need a war in Ukraine to find anti-Biden propaganda on Fox. Undermining his presidency in any and every way Murdoch’s minions can seize on is its guiding principle until either there’s another Republican president in office, in which case cheerleading him or her will become paramount, or another Democrat assumes office to become the next full-time target.
But apparently, Biden’s hot mic moment of calling Fox’s White House correspondent Peter Doocy “a stupid son of a bitch” really caught Russia’s attention. “Nearly 400 Russian-language stories mentioned Fox News” that week, the Times found. “The exchange was repeated for weeks in stories criticizing the president’s fitness for the job.”
Sean Hannity has even boasted about being a source for Russia’s anti-Biden propaganda.
With that, I wish all NewsHounds readers a happy Easter, happy Passover or Ramadan Kareem or just a happy day.
(Carlson/Jordan image via screen grab)