Boris Johnson, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, vehemently denounced conservative commentator Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As reported by The Hill, Johnson’s scathing rebuke was not just about the interview’s content but its implications, labeling it as a “tissue of lies” and a direct affront to the global understanding of the Ukrainian conflict.
Johnson’s condemnation came in the wake of Carlson’s high-profile interview, a significant media event given Carlson’s recent departure from Fox News and his venture into independent media via his platform on X. This interview marked a notable occasion, being the first instance a Western media figure engaged Putin since the onset of the Ukraine invasion nearly two years prior.
The essence of Johnson’s critique, shared through a video by the Daily Mail and an op-ed, centered on Carlson’s approach to the interview. Described as “fawning” and indicative of “slack-jawed happiness” at securing a journalistic ‘scoop,’ Carlson’s demeanor and questioning were, in Johnson’s view, a betrayal of journalistic integrity and an abdication of the responsibility to challenge and scrutinize.
Johnson’s words minced no terms in assessing Carlson’s performance, accusing him of acting less as a journalist and more as an admirer of Putin, failing to press the Russian leader on critical issues such as the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. This, according to Johnson, allowed Putin to propagate a narrative filled with historical distortions and outright falsehoods unchallenged.
Putin’s assertions during the interview, including a purported openness to negotiations with the U.S. and justifications of his military actions in Ukraine, were met with criticism from Johnson for lacking substantive challenge from Carlson. The former British leader lamented the missed opportunity to highlight the resilience and efforts of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his people in the face of Russian aggression.
Drawing parallels to past instances of Western figures perceived as overly deferential to dictators, Johnson’s critique of Carlson underscored a broader concern about the dissemination of unchecked narratives and the role of media in international diplomacy and conflict. Johnson’s plea extended beyond the interview itself, touching on the broader political implications of the discourse surrounding Ukraine, specifically addressing U.S. Congress members resistant to providing aid to Ukraine