…until the other asks the right questions (Proverbs 18:17)
There is a furore over journalist Tucker Carlson’s as yet unaired interview with Vladimir Putin, though you may be unaware of it given its low profile on MSM. Yet social media is full of it, and the Telegraph online had a video of him filmed with a hidden camera by an obvious stooge in Moscow, Project Veritas fashion, as if there were anything secret about the trip. But Carlson expressed a wish to interview Putin back in his Fox News days, and the fact that it was blocked then is sufficient explanation for his determination to do so now he is independent and America’s highest-profile commentator.
Here, though, well-poisoning pieces from state-supporting media remind us what a shady, far-right, racist and transphobic conspiracy theorist and Putin apologist Tucker Carlson has always been, lest we were tempted to try and find the interview. I guess it’s unlikely to be aired on the BBC. But if (as some articles have claimed) Carlson really were the new Lord Haw-Haw or even the devil himself, an interview with President Putin is worthy of our attention.
More significantly than the pre-propaganda, America’s National Security Agency, and their political sock-puppets, have been darkly hinting that Carlson should not be allowed back into the country under some nebulous accusation of spying, or abetting an enemy (despite America’s insistence that it is not a belligerent in the Ukraine War, Ukraine not being in NATO and all). This sanction is not at all implausible nowadays, when one considers the fate of US nationals like Edward Snowden, foreigners like Julian Assange, or Britain’s illegal persecution of our own citizen, journalist Graham Phillips, for reporting from Donbas since 2014. Minor details like a US passport and legitimate visas are of little significance in our rules-based democracies.
I want to draw attention to just one aspect of this today, and that is is why an interview with Vladimir Putin should be major news at all. Given the number of interviews with Zelensky over the last two years, it ought to surprise us instead that we have heard nothing whatsoever directly from Putin since the start of the war, although we keep insisting it’s his war against Ukraine, not ours against Russia. This is, of course, because from the very beginning all news outlets from Russia have been strictly censored in our country. Political censorship in peacetime ought to be an immediate flag that were are not in a free country at all, but a totalitarian one.
This was brought home to me by one of the minority of Russiophobes at The Daily Sceptic constructing an imaginary Carlson interview full of “Putin talking points.” It took a moment to realise that this only makes sense because real Putin interviews, or speeches, are not easily available to us because of our political censorship. Indeed, there’s every chance that the mock-interview will be the closest most Westerners get to the actual one, apart from selected quotes taken out of context in the BBC news.
We are told that Russian people are afraid to voice opposition to their government, that Putin is a communist dictator, and that Russians have no access to non-state media. Friends will roll these facts out as they use Putin as their first candidate for the antichrist. They are unaware (because it is we who have no access to non-state media) that opposition to Ukraine policy is happily voiced in street interviews for Russian TV, that the 80%+ of Orthodox Christian Russians appreciate Putin for his shared support of the national faith (whilst Sunak has only 18% support and was never elected!), and that most Russians, at least in the cities, have full access to Western media.
On Quora, in reply to questions about this last point, it is notable that whilst Westerners reply that Russians are cut off from the world, numerous Russians with open access to Quora deny it. For example:
The usual sources of news are all available (I would be surprised if Western countries would block access to them for ex-USSR).
However, they are of little use – the amount of fake news about Ukraine-related events is overwhelming. As recently invented joke goes, “Google News” should be rebranded to “Google Fakes”.
In any case, other countries’ media is available, and even the fake news have some use – they allow to monitor the trends in those news’ producers’ plans.
Russians say they regularly follow both Western and Ukrainian news outlets as well as Russian – do you? That they are not simply FSB stooges was shown in an interesting series of “Vox Pop” street interviews in Moscow, on Sputnik, in which a number of articulate, and clearly uncoached, citizens showed familiarity with Tucker Carlson and his courage on a whole range on non-Ukraine topics, contrasted with other Western news outlets they followed.
Critics say that Russia has indeed tried to censor western sources like the BBC. But in the first place, we should not forget that Russia, unlike us, actually is in a hot war for its survival. You can be sure that, if the warmongers here managed to kick off a UK war with Russia, you would no longer be granted access to seditious material like this piece, and that I’d be in an internment camp somewhere! But in the second place, the healthy suspicion of State Media engendered under Soviet Communism (would that we had learned it here!) makes Russians the most frequent users of VPNs in the world. Russia could not keep the Western news from its people even if it wanted to. And when only 18% of people even here trust our press, Putin has little to fear from letting his people access it.
The bottom line is this: if we are being told that we (or our grandchildren, in my case) may soon be conscripted to die fighting “the evil Putin,” we surely ought to have been given the chance to assess for ourselves just how evil he, and his country, is. To have selective quotes, mocking photographs, and wild sabre-rattling against “the Soviets” (yes, politicians here failed to notice the collapse of the USSR thirty-two years ago!) fed to us by a state-censored media is just not good enough… but it’s all we’re going to get, it seems. That, and constant news of Putin’s terminal illnesses and his country’s economic collapse. Our regime really does, once more, smack of Orwell’s 1984, in which the endless war against Eurasia/Russia (or was it Eastasia/China?) was only known from a lying press and may not have existed at all in the real world.
Make no mistake, we are being groomed to treat a mythical version of Russia as our mortal enemy. Tucker Carlson’s interview will at least give us the opportunity to see and hear Valdimir Putin “face to face,” as it were, and to compare him with our own thoroughly trustworthy political sages like Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Ursula von der Leyen, Justin Trudeau and so on. If the CIA don’t take down the channel or mysteriously disappear Carlson, the interview will no doubt appear here first. It will be worth watching.