Tucker Carlson receives a job offer from Russian state TV after Fox News firing

Putin-linked propagandists troll American media with their bid for the ousted far-right pundit’s attention

Alex Woodward
New York
Wednesday 26 April 2023 10:01 BST
Trump mourns 'very good man' Tucker Carlson after shock departure of Fox host

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


It didn’t take long for Tucker Carlson to land a job offer after losing his primetime slot on the most-watched cable news network in the country.

Within hours after Fox News announced that the network agreed to “part ways” with the far-right nationalist pundit on Monday morning, Russian state media personalities and propaganda outlets opened their doors.

RT – the Russian state broadcaster formerly known as Russia Today, which is banned in dozens of countries, inducing across Europe – offered him a platform. “Hey @TuckerCarlson, you can always question more with @RT_com,” the outlet wrote on Twitter.

Vladimir Solovyov, a propagandist whose channels were blocked by YouTube last year for violating the platform’s policies against inciting violence, said he sent an email to Carlson, calling him “the last remaining voice of reason.”

“You have our admiration and support in any endeavor you choose yourself next, be it running for president of the United States (which you should totally do, by the way) or making an independent media project,” Solovyov wrote, according to a screenshot of the message he shared to Telegram on 24 April.

“Tucker, come join us,” he wrote in the post. “You don’t have to be afraid of taking the piss out of Biden here.”

On his Solovyov Live programme, which airs on the state-owned Russia-1, the host addressed the camera: “Tucker, come work with us!”

“Our beloved Tucker Carlson has been fired, it’s a disgrace!” said cohost Dmitry Drobnitsky

Both men suggested that Russia, China and Saudi Arabia could impose sanctions against Fox and network leadership responsible for his departure. “The rules-based world doesn’t suit us, we’ll be building our own world and calling on all rational players to join us,” Drobnitsky said.

The flood of support for America’s most-watched conspiracy theorist follows nearly nightly rhetoric bolstering support for Russia by undermining Ukraine and questioning US military aid to support the country against Russian attacks – claims that have not only advanced into Republican Party platforms but also made Carlson a star on Russian state media.

After the White House announced a first wave of sanctions against Russia as armed forces launched an assault into Ukraine last February, Carlson used his platform to make an apparent defence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, posing a question to Americans: “It may be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious, what is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much?”

He referred to the conflict as a “border issue” and called Ukraine “a pure client state” of the US Department of State. Carlson also has characterised the US as an aggressor in a proxy war against Russia, a claim also raised by Russian propagandists, though he also has conceded that Putin “started” the war and pinned the blame on Putin for the assault that would lead to thousands of casualties. Meanwhile, he has cast Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky as a “dictator,” a “pimp” and “a dangerous authoritarian”.

Carlson also stated that Ukraine’s defence of its sovereignty is a “lie”.

“You can’t have an audit” of US defence spending in Ukraine, Carlson said last month, in a sarcastic screed, “because if you do want an audit of where your money is going into the most corrupt country in Europe, you’re a tool of Putin!”

On his Tuesday programme, Solovyov renewed his offer to Carlson: “We sent him an official invitation. Something tells me he won’t answer right away. Still, it seems like the only place where he can work is not the United States, but Russia.”

Jon Roozenbeek, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge who studies Russian propaganda and disinformation, told NBC News the job offers are likely attempts to “troll” American audiences more than genuinely court Carlson’s attention.

Such propaganda campaigns are not necessarily meant to persuade viewers or audiences to a cause but to sow doubt or uncertainty and raise emotions while ensuring that Russian voices, policy and narratives receive equal attention, he said.

Meanwhile, far-right influencers and media figures lashed out at Fox for Carlson’s departure with similar statements, lamenting the loss of a major anti-Ukraine voice on mainstream airwaves.

Steve Bannon told The Charlie Kirk Show on 25 April that Carlson successfully platformed his populist, nationalist agenda for a “more mainstream audience.”

“He knows how to make these things accessible to people,” he said. “That’s the power of Tucker Carlson.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in