Tucker Carlson had an opportunity to prove he’s not a willing participant in Russian disinformation and propaganda but he continued directing his anger at the U.S. instead.
As I reported a few days ago, Mother Jones obtained some memos showing that the Kremlin considers Tucker Carlson’s anti-U.S./pro-Putin commentaries on Ukraine and Russia so “essential” that it told the country’s media organizations to use clips of him “as much as possible."
Mother Jones’ David Corn made an important point about Carlson during an appearance on MSNBC’s The ReidOut this week (emphases mine):
CORN: Tucker has his opinions. He`s free to have them and to share them.
And maybe they even line up with the opinions of Vladimir Putin and Russian propagandists. But I have to say this. If I was being cited in memos like this by a barbaric regime that`s killing civilians, I would say, hey, leave me out of it. I would say, I may agree that this is America`s fault. I may agree that that you have a right to do this. But that`s my honest opinion. But I don`t want to be brought in by your disinformation and propagandist tactics.
So he hasn`t done that. And, in fact, he`s done everything to make him -- make himself of tremendous use.
Corn is exactly right. His article dropped on Sunday. Not surprisingly, it garnered quite a bit of attention. But instead of distancing himself from the Kremlin on Monday, Carlson gave them more of what they want. Also not surprisingly, Fox’s biggest prime time coward played the victim.
From Carlson's opening commentary on Monday night:
CARLSON: Putin invaded Ukraine because he's bad. End of conversation. And anyone who says otherwise, anyone who suggests there might be a way out of this disaster short of total war, anyone who says that is immediately denounced as a tool of Russian propaganda.
Carlson threw in a few comments announcing he’s on the side of the U.S. But just like he threw in a few self-serving, anti-Putin remarks in a commentary that accused the U.S. of wanting Russia to invade Ukraine, they were little more than camouflage for his deeply anti-American sentiments. Ditto for the “I just care about America” rhetoric he couched his hate and victimhood in:
CARLSON: We've made the point repeatedly that forcing Ukraine into NATO will in no way serve the interests of the United States, and in fact, could hurt us here in ways from which we will never recover.
As if that lets him off the hook for being a poster child for Russian propaganda.
Then, ignoring the Mother Jones report, Carlson played up his victimhood. He played a series of clips of people condemning his pro-Putin rhetoric, concluding with one from Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).
ROMNEY: How anybody in this country, which loves freedom can side with Vladimir Putin, which is an oppressor, a dictator, he kills people. He imprisons his political opponents. He has been an adversary of America at every chance he's had. It's unthinkable to be. It's almost treasonous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Oh, almost treasonous. Siding with Putin. Who is siding with Putin? I haven't seen anybody do that. I've seen a few people try to side with the United States, and that, says Mitt Romney, a man who got four deferments to keep himself out of the Vietnam War, that is almost treasonous.
What's so interesting, we don't want to pick on Mitt Romney here, it's too easy, but it does seem like if you take a step back that the very same people who spent the last, say, two years telling us that this country, our country, is inherently sinful and racist, and disgusting and born in iniquity, those same people, the ones who lecture you about how there is something inherently wrong with you, if you live here, were born here. Those same people have been the very quickest, the very first to whip around and accuse anyone who wants to save the United States from yet another pointless war, a war that they would never fight in or their children, accused those people of being unpatriotic.
We don't love America enough, says the man who thinks America is racist. How does that work, exactly? We're not sure. But in case you've forgotten, here is the very same Mitt Romney marching with the very same people who told us that this is a white supremacist hellhole.
Carlson continued ranting about Romney and accused him of wanting to “do away with the nuclear family.” Carlson’s “proof” was a clip of Romney saying, “We need to end violence and brutality and to make sure that people understand that Black Lives Matter.”
Carlson went on and on attacking Americans Romney and Black Lives Matter supporters, but he never said a bad word about Putin.
CARLSON: So okay, it's just Mitt Romney. Never a genius, obviously deep in the grip of some late life crisis, licking his wounds for being beaten by Obama in 2012. Okay.
But it's not just Mitt Romney. Imagine how you would feel if you were a business owner in Kenosha, or Minneapolis, or Atlanta or Louisville. If you were someone who -- I don't know, used to go to St. John's Church in Washington, D.C. or someone who works in the Federal Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, before BLM torched all of it. You're long accustomed to knowing that your leaders don't really care about you. But when they reveal that they actively hate you, that's hard to take.
So of course, Mitt Romney is debasing himself, degrading himself in order to be liked in Washington. Yes, we've seen that, of course, but it's deeper than that.
Needless to say, the people Mitt Romney wants to like and his new masters were not satisfied with him marching with BLM or denouncing his critics as almost treasonous, they want more. They won't be satisfied until every Republican in the U.S. Senate is wholly indistinguishable from Chris Hayes, and they're getting pretty close.
Carlson continued attacking Romney, this time for calling Tulsi Gabbard “treasonous.” But #TraitorTucker Carlson “forgot” to mention that just this week we learned that a recently-indicted, accused Russian agent donated, twice, to only one politician in the 2020 presidential race: Gabbard. And that’s not including all the ways Gabbard has acted every bit as pro-Putin as #TraitorTucker Carlson.
Here's what I wrote about her shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine, in a Crooks and Liars post about Gabbard and Carlson suggesting that President Joe Biden should avert war by caving to Russia’s demands:
[Gabbard] has been fuming over Hillary Clinton alluding to her, without naming her, as a “Russian asset” with “a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her” 2020 presidential candidacy. Yet, even in her $50 million defamation lawsuit against Clinton over the remarks (dropped just a few months later) Gabbard never specifically denied receiving support from Russia. In fact, when Carlson asked Gabbard on the air about the allegations, she deflected and never denied them there, either.
Funny how Carlson never mentioned any of that. Instead, he continued his tirade against Sen. Romney:
CARLSON: On Sunday, yesterday, Mitt Romney edged a little closer. Here's what he wrote to Tulsi Gabbard.
Now Tulsi Gabbard is the former Member of Congress who currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and unlike Mitt Romney, has been deployed, quote: "Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives." Treasonous lies have cost lives potentially. So you're betraying your country and committing murder.
So what exactly did Tulsi Gabbard do? Did she call for a violent overthrow of the United States government? Did she come out and pledge allegiance to Putin? Did she get a Cyrillic tattoo on her neck? No, she didn't.
What she said, is we have a problem. Here is how we know. She cited publicly available information and said, we should probably deal with that problem. But I guess, here you have Mitt Romney who is a consultant for God's sakes, accusing someone who has been in the Army for nearly two decades of treason.
People didn't used to talk that way. Treason is a death penalty offense. It's absurd on its face. But if you watch the video that got Mitt Romney to call a fellow American treasonous and suggest she was committing murder, it really makes your head spin.
Carlson didn’t distance himself from the Kremlin last night, either.
You can watch #TraitorTucker Carlson lash out at Americans but fail to distance himself from Kremlin propaganda below, from the March 14, 2022 Tucker Carlson Tonight. Underneath is David Corn discussing the Kremlin memos, from MSNBC’s March 14, 2022 The ReidOut.
Having miscalculated in thinking that NATO and the EU would be incapable of pulling up its boots like they did, Putin’s desire to make Russia great again may have (I hope) been foiled. In any case, were he to succeed in taking over Ukraine by force, he won’t be able to rest easy because that’s a country now chocker-block full of resentment. So far, at least, that resentment is directed at Putin rather than the nation called Russia. As that brave lady said on Channel One: “get out into the streets and protest! They can’t put all of you in jail.”