For years, far-right Fox News host Tucker Carlson has embraced authoritarianism at home and abroad, especially in defense of the Russian state. In 2019, amid the impeachment inquiry against former President Donald Trump for pressuring Ukraine's President to investigate the Bidens in order to receive congressionally approved military aid, Carlson bluntly stated that he was "rooting" for Russia over the fledgling democratic nation that broke from it in 1991.
More recently, Carlson's defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian state aggression escalated even further after Putin declared two pro-Russian separatist regions of Ukraine to be sovereign and began sending Russian troops there.
In a lie-ridden diatribe, Carlson questioned why Americans are expected to "hate" Putin when he's never called them a racist or "manufactured" a deadly virus.
Now, as Putin launches an all-out attack on multiple Ukrainian cities, including its capital, Kyiv, Russian state media channel RT is broadcasting Carlson's screed with Russian subtitles, hoping it can increase lackluster support for the Ukraine invasion with American propaganda.
Carlson says in the video:
"Since the day that Donald Trump became President, Democrats in Washington have told you you have a patriotic duty to hate Vladimir Putin. It's not a suggestion, it's a mandate. Anything less than hatred for Putin is treason. Many Americans have obeyed this directive. They now dutifully hate Vladimir Putin. Maybe you're one of them. Hating Putin has become the central purpose of America's foreign policy. ... Very soon, that hatred of Vladimir Putin could bring the United States into a conflict with eastern Europe."
It was not "hatred of Putin" that motivated Putin to invade Ukraine.
Carlson's diatribe is now a facet of the Russian state's larger disinformation campaign to justify the invasion. Russian state outlet Sputnik—which also published Carlson's comments—has falsely painted Ukraine as the aggressor. With its sister outlet, RT, referring to the invasion as a "Ukraine offensive."
Now, the host of America's highest rated cable "news" program is peddling Putin's propaganda amid the most significant conflict in Europe in decades.
Domestically, efforts from media figures like Carlson have already paid off. Republicans in the United States generally have a more favorable view of Putin—an authoritarian former KGB agent known for rigging elections and murdering dissidents—than they have of President Biden.
That development hasn't gone unnoticed.
Biden and other G7 leaders are expected to retaliate to the Russian invasion with additional sanctions that have yet to be announced.