Vladimir Putin Doesn’t Belong in Your Living Room

Russian President Vladimir Putin is apparently looking to reach out to the American public, and to do it directly. He’s nosing around the possibility of an interview with former Fox personality Tucker Carlson, who is now Elon Musk’s problem on X (z’ll Twitter).

Giving the Oligarch-in-Chief a U.S. platform is both unnecessary and unhelpful. If people are looking for Putin’s propaganda, they can find it any number of places, including RT, the satellite TV channel carefully rebranded from its original incarnation, Russia Today, because it was too on the nose.

Putin’s point of view is also amply represented by the millions of bots and their makers that inundate the internet. In fact, Russia has been doing an excellent job shaping U.S. opinion already.

Russian president and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin meets with his confidants in Moscow on Jan. 31.


Support for helping Ukraine fight the war against Russian expansionism is sliding. A majority of Republicans are now saying that we’re doing too much, and Congress is unable and unwilling to pass a $110 billion package that actually would help U.S. arms manufacturers at least as much as the Israeli and Ukrainian people.

More than anything, Putin wants the people of the United States to be tired: tired of Ukraine; tired of hearing about Russian war crimes and missile attacks on civilians; tired of a war that seems so far away; tired of what Russia would tell you is a distraction from wars closer to home.

Putin already has worshippers on the right—Donald Trump among them—there’s really no point in helping him gather steam with the aid of what is likely to be a sympathetic audience.

So, we can expect that the Russian president, who is getting up there in years, will be the one trying to convince us all to take a nap. His job in any interview is to assure us that everything will be fine if we just let Ukraine slip away. He has chosen a right-wing pundit as his foil, someone who can vigorously nod when Putin speaks against “wokeness,” and shared values of hating LGBTQ people.

You might expect Putin, the autocrat to be uncomfortable answering questions about his actions at home and abroad, but the truth is that Russia’s president has a canned call-in show once a year where he can be the “good tsar” who listens to his people. It’s a smashing success, watched by tens of millions.

If you want more of the same, try RT, available in 85 million U.S. homes. Slickly produced and eternally dissembling, RT plays the trick of putting the bug-eyed crazy against the merely insane. Put “both sides” in front of people, with one side stark raving mad, and you’re likely to choose the option that is speaking in tongues, but at a respectable decibel level.

More subtle—sometimes—are Russian influence efforts online and through indirect media manipulation. Sure, there are bots and trolls out there doing Moscow’s bidding, but the Kremlin’s efforts have become far more sophisticated since the Russian Internet Research Agency threw its endorsement behind former President Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

None of this would seem to indicate the need to give Putin yet another way into our lives. Maybe Tucker Carlson could make it a package deal and host China’s leader Xi Jinping during the live special. We could call it “The Totalitarian Hour.”

Jason Fields is a deputy opinion editor at Newsweek.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.