• D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG
rotating globe
  • D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
Semafor Logo
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG


Updated Feb 8, 2024, 4:06pm EST
media

Tucker Carlson met Edward Snowden in Moscow

@TuckerCarlson on X
TweetEmailWhatsapp

Sign up for Semafor Media: Media’s essential read. Read it now.

Title icon

The Scoop

Tucker Carlson has kept a busy agenda in Moscow, meeting with two key American figures living in exile there.

The former Fox News host met for hours Thursday with the NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Semafor has learned. While the former NSA whistleblower was a regular figure in the press in the years after he fled to Russia, he has largely receded from public appearances in recent years, citing the desire for wanted greater privacy for his family.

The Snowden interview was not for Carlson’s video program, but he did tape an interview with Tara Reade, a former junior Senate aide who decades later accused President Joe Biden of sexual assault (an allegation he denied). Reade moved to Russia last year after several years of increasingly speaking out in support of pro-Russian policies. In 2022, the Russian delegation to the United Nations called her to speak in 2022 on “weapons diversion,” and hosted Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations on her YouTube channel. When she made her allegations in 2020, Carlson stood out on the right for his skepticism.

AD
Title icon

Max’s view

Carlson’s interview with Putin is slated to be released Thursday night, and there’s little point judging it in advance. There’s value for any journalist or commentator to interview a figure as consequential as Putin, and some of the most sympathetic interviewers can often make news, even inadvertently.

Of course, the reason for the Russian leader allowed Carlson access is due to his sympathy for Russia’s point of view on its invasion of Ukraine, something that’s made him a familiar face on Russian state-controlled television.

And Carlson’s pre-interview claims that other American journalists hadn’t sought interviews with Putin, or sought to cover Russia, are absurd. Top CNN and BBC anchors noted that they’ve sought interviews with Putin, and even Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov corrected Carlson’s claim.

AD

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershovich and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty editor ​​are currently imprisoned for trying to report on the country.

Carlson said via text that it is “totally false” that he’d met Snowden and Reade, but didn’t immediately elaborate on how.

Title icon

Room for Disagreement

Politico’s Jamie Dettmer didn’t wait to watch the interview to put Carlson in the company of American history’s worst journalists: “Tucker Carlson is far from being the first Western journalist to have aligned himself with the enemy. There’s a long tradition of the likes of Hitler and Stalin finding pliable Brits and Americans to do their propaganda for them.”

AD
Title icon

Notable

“During the Russia-friendly presidency of Donald Trump, Carlson emerged as a favourite voice on Kremlin-run television, which regularly rebroadcast his comments dismissing allegations that Moscow had intervened in the US presidential election,” the FT’s Max Seddon reported. More recently, Russian television has “enthusiastically replayed” his commentary “on its news programmes and the bellicose political talk shows that fill the country’s airwaves.”

Semafor Logo
AD