'Propaganda that empowers Putin': Conservative says these Fox News hosts have become Kremlin mouthpieces
Near the end of his life, the late Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona voiced his vehement disdain for Russian President Vladimir Putin and lambasted then-President Donald Trump as a Putin sympathizer. McCain’s anti-Putin perspective set him apart from the Trump Administration and the MAGA movement as well as from Putin-friendly pundits at Fox News and Fox Business — pundits who have continued to defend Putin even during the invasion of Ukraine.
Never Trump conservative William Saletan, in an article published by The Bulwark on October 5, examines Fox News’ coverage of the Ukraine/Russia war. And he laments that during “prime-time hours,” Fox News “has become a platform for propaganda that serves Putin and undercuts Ukraine.”
“During the day, you can find many Fox News hosts and guests who speak candidly about Putin’s war crimes and the importance of American resolve,” Saletan explains. “But the hosts who control three of the four hours between 8:00 p.m. and midnight on the East Coast — Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Greg Gutfeld —are peddling arguments that coincide with Putin’s interests. So are several other Fox hosts.”
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Saletan notes that Carlson has been consistently critical of the Biden Administration’s Ukraine policy.
“Carlson, casting America as the villain, frames the war as a Democratic plot,” Saletan observes. “‘Biden’s advisers wanted a total regime-change war against Russia, apparently to avenge the election of Donald Trump,’ he told viewers last week. He claimed that this was why the Biden Administration wanted to label Russia a state sponsor of terror: not because Putin really does commit terrorism, but because we’re looking for an excuse to ‘topple’ him…. Carlson and his protégés alternate between portraying Ukraine as our victim and portraying it as a wicked temptress.”
On Monday, October 3, Saletan notes, Carlson told viewers, “Zelensky is not the independent leader of a democratic nation. Zelensky is a client of the Biden Administration, which runs his country…. (He’s) ‘the puppet of the Democratic party of the United States.’”
That same night, Saletan points out, Ingraham painted the Biden Administration as aggressors in that part of the world and told viewers, “You would think that the elite class would call for calm…. They don’t seem to want calm.” And on Thursday, September 29, Ingraham commented, “We’re sending another $12 billion to Ukraine. Is there any real debate about how things are going in Ukraine? Or are we just going to agree with whatever CNN says?”
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Saletan is careful to make a distinction between Fox News’ hard news division and its prime-time opinion hosts — and it is the latter who, according to Saletan, are quick to echo Kremlin talking points on Ukraine.
“Many people who support a strong foreign policy, or who simply believe in telling the truth, still work at Fox News,” Saletan writes. “They report on Russia’s war crimes, they speak frankly about Putin’s illegal annexations, and they interview guests about the urgency of arming Ukraine. But in prime-time, their good work is buried by propaganda that misleads the public, blames America, and empowers Putin.”
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