Show caption Fox News host Tucker Carlson in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2021. Photograph: Brian Cahn/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock Fox News Kremlin memos urged Russian media to use Tucker Carlson clips – report Russian government document instructed outlets to show Fox News host ‘as much as possible’, Mother Jones says Martin Pengelly @MartinPengelly Mon 14 Mar 2022 04.00 GMT Share on Facebook
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The Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson has been widely accused of echoing Russian propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine. According to a report on Sunday, earlier this month the Putin regime in Moscow sent out an instruction to friendly media outlets: use more clips of Carlson.
Mother Jones, a progressive magazine, said it had obtained memos produced by the Russian department of information and telecommunications support.
One document, it said, was entitled “For Media and Commentators (recommendations for coverage of events as of 03.03)”, or 3 March. The magazine published pictures of the memo, which it said it was given by “a contributor to a national Russian media outlet who asked not to be identified”.
It said the memo included an instruction: “It is essential to use as much as possible fragments of broadcasts of the popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who sharply criticises the actions of the United States [and] Nato, their negative role in unleashing the conflict in Ukraine, [and] the defiantly provocative behavior from the leadership of the eastern countries and Nato towards the Russian Federation and towards President Putin, personally.”
The document, Mother Jones said, summed up Carlson’s position on the Ukraine war as “Russia is only protecting its interests and security” and included a quote: “And how would the US behave if such a situation developed in neighbouring Mexico or Canada?”
Carlson and Fox News did not comment to Mother Jones. Fox News did not respond to a Guardian request for comment.
On air last Wednesday, 9 March, Carlson said testimony by Victoria Nuland, a US undersecretary of state, about Ukrainian “biological research facilities” had shown Russian claims of US involvement were “totally and completely true”.
Factcheckers said they were not.
“Russian state TV featured Carlson’s take the next day,” the Washington Post said, adding that the Russian claim about US participation in biological laboratories in Ukraine was “straight out of the old Soviet playbook. But that doesn’t mean prominent commentators like Carlson should be so quick to fall for it.”
Citing another Russian “recommendations for coverage” memo, dated 10 March, Mother Jones said the text advised Russian hosts to relay the message that “activities of military biological laboratories with American participation on the territory of Ukraine carried global threats to Russia and Europe”.
On Sunday Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told NBC Russian claims about biological warfare facilities in Ukraine could indicate Russian willingness to use such weapons.
“When Russia starts accusing other countries of potentially doing something, it’s a good tell that they may be on the cusp of doing it themselves,” he said.
Mother Jones said no other western journalist was named in the memos it obtained, which it said also included advice on how to cite Carlson about how “Biden’s sanctions policy” was actually an economic “punishment for the American middle class”. That memo, the magazine said, also cited the New York Post, like Fox News owned by Rupert Murdoch.
On Sunday afternoon, Julia Davis, an analyst of Russian media, tweeted a still from “Russia’s state TV” showing “none other than Tucker Carlson” on a screen above a discussion panel.
“They always follow the Kremlin’s directives,” Davis wrote, “namely to use Tuckyo Rose clips as often as possible.”
“Tokyo Rose” was a nickname given by Americans to several women who broadcast Japanese propaganda during the second world war.