Russian propaganda quotes Tucker Carlson to malign US and spread disinformation about Ukraine
Tucker Carlson falsely claimed that Ukraine is an autocracy. Ukraine is a democracy that has struggled but a democracy nonetheless.
Russian propaganda featured Tucker Carlson
Multiple outlets associated with the Kremlin (including one in Pakistan) have published stories rationalizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—while simultaneously insisting its only peacekeeping. Russian state-controlled outlets like RT and Fondsk.ru have republished clips of Tucker Carlson in articles that falsely claim that Ukraine is an autocracy when it is an imperfect democracy.
Carlson claimed that Ukraine was the President’s son’s former employer, which is false. Hunter Biden was formerly employed by the privately held company Burisma, not Ukraine, and multiple investigations into both have not found misconduct or evidence that these affiliations affected policy.
Fondsk.ru supported its claims by linking to the Fox News article version of the segment, which was titled “Biden's 'infinite ignorance' in speech makes Russian invasion of Ukraine 'inevitable': Col. Macgregor.”
Key issues were that Carlson:
Omitted relevant information
Carlson uncritically repeated Russian claims while omitting concrete evidence that contradicts the Russian claims.
Neglected to mention United States’ objections to Putin’s demands
Failed to provide context that Russia had illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, an assault that has claimed 14,000 lives so far.
Inaccuracies and false claims
Claimed that Ukraine was Hunter Biden’s former employer
Claimed that Ukraine was an autocracy
Asserted that Putin invaded because Biden ignored Putin’s concerns while ignoring Putin’s list of demands that the US did not have the power to oblige.
Carlson’s distaste for Biden extends beyond policy disagreement, and Carlson frequently makes false, unprofessional statements about members of the Biden family. The claims sometimes have an unclear rationale or no relationship to their professions.
Russia falsely claims US ignored its concerns
Tucker Carlson, Sputnik, Fondsk.ru, and RT argue Biden ignored Russia’s concerns — a false claim, as the US responded in a televised announcement and writing— and that ignoring Russia caused the invasion. The Sputnik article bolsters it’s claims with a quote from the Ron Paul Institute, which falsely claimed that the US was behind a 2014 coup in Ukraine early this month.
But we consistently did not recognize their legitimate interests in Ukraine - the interests of security. They will not tolerate Ukraine becoming a platform from which NATO could threaten Russia. Whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not, they see NATO as an anti-Russian organization and as a threat. I think (Biden’s) statements have likely made Russia's intervention in Ukraine inevitable.
—Tucker Carlson, as quoted by RT
AP reported February 1, 2022:
Washington and its allies have rejected Moscow’s key demands. They emphasize that Ukraine, like any other nation, has the right to choose alliances, although it is not a NATO member now and is unlikely to join any time soon.
Putin said the Western allies’ refusal to meet Russia’s demands violates their obligations on the integrity of security for all nations.
Putin’s demands included making security decisions for Ukraine, which was not something the US had the power to grant. Putin stated that Russia not invading Ukraine would depend upon “unconditional compliance with Russian security demands.”
In December 2021, US Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) discussed Russia’s proposals. RadioFreeEurope reported:
The top Republican on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee says the security proposals that Moscow has put forth in response to Western alarm over a Russian troop buildup near Ukraine are a clear sign that Russia is “trying to create a pretext for war.”
Russia indicated around February 15 that troops were withdrawing from the Ukrainian border. Satellite images and eye-witness accounts demonstrated Russia had not begun to withdraw. The West was willing to negotiate arms control if Russia de-escalated by removing equipment and troops.
How do we know these outlets are state-controlled?
The outlets mentioned in this report and linked sources are as follows:
Articles that republished quotes or clips from Tucker Carlson have been identified as under the control of or affiliated with the Russian state by a US government agency or a respected research organization. In some cases, both have identified outlets.
Further recommended reading
The 2022 report was preceded by the article embedded below.
Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem from the U.S. Department of State (2020).
R.T. and Sputnik’s Role in Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem from the U.S. Department of State (2022).