29 Comments

Hmmm. I love TFP for not telling us what & how to think. I was seriously distracted by the language used as Peter “explained” what & how we are to think! I probably agree with much of what he says, but would rather hear facts & background, rather than opinion stated as fact.

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Characterizing Tucker’s interview with Putin as “sycophantic“ doesn’t seem accurate. There’s an argument to be made about whether Tucker is playing the “useful idiot“ to Putin, but I think that the way he conducted his interview – where he did in fact challenge him on multiple issues including the detention of a journalist – kept Putin talking in a way that other interviewers haven’t managed. I suspect that can lead to interesting insights into Putin’s current thinking, etc. if one can get past the pearl clutching rhetoric on Tucker being the one to conduct the interview.

I also think that the equivalence being drawn between the anti-Americanism on the left and what this author is calling anti-Americanism on the right is shallow, and lacks any serious analysis. It’s a comfortable position for many on the left to claim that the right is “just as bad“, but there are places where that truly falls flat, including in this piece.

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This is one of the most disappointing things I’ve seen on the free press. The shallow black/white, good/evil take leaves no space for nuance. There are two sides to every story, and that seems to be lost here. Tucker pointed out some facts that are troubling to some because they challenge our closely held beliefs.

I went to Moscow five years ago. I had the exact response Tucker did. I never dreamed that a huge city could be so clean, safe, and beautiful. Compared to any of the capitals of Europe, Moscow is in a different league. Because it happened under Putin doesn’t make it untrue. Does it mean that Putin is a good leader or even semi-decent human? No. It doesn’t. But if an evil person does a good thing, does that make the good thing evil?

We need to have an honest conversation about this issue. This was not.

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I took acceptation to:

“But all is not lost, it turns out that to win over the American right, all you have to do is to give them a dose of homophobia and misogyny.”

I do not know any conservative that supports homophobia much less misogyny.

Most have family members, friends, and/or close colleagues that are gay…it is not an issue.

Many believe that Transgender surgery and chemical blockers should be reserved for consenting adults and not minors, but that is another issue and certainly not homophobic.

There may be some fringe nut jobs that call themselves conservatives that do have problems with race, sex, gender, and overt Nationalism, but they are the exception AND do not represent mainstream conservatives.

The left’s Progressive group do not accept anyone (regardless of their race, sex, or gender) if they fall into the Oppressor group..horribly demonstrated by their support of Hamas and denial or minimization of the atrocities on Oct 7th.

Just as it would be wrong to characterize the Left by the ideology and behavior of their Progressive Group, it’s wrong to characterize the Right by their fringe groups.

Peter was presenting some important issues and then went school yard bully- it was not relevant, not necessary, and not true.

It said more about Peter’s point of view of conservatives, than conservative’s frame of mind, but I’m sure it juiced up some liberals who are looking for reasons to vilify the Right….not helpful.

We need to spend more time recognizing and acting on our similarities and agreements, rather than pushing each other away by inaccurate generalizations or characterizing each other as less than…

I believe the moderate left and right are much closer together than many would have us believe, we need to find more ways of bridging together, acknowledge differences/opportunities, and shy away from unhealthy rhetoric….AND hopefully a candidate will come forward that we can collectively support.

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In a commentary that condemns Tucker Carlson for failing to mention Navalny in his interview, Savodnik fails to mention Gonzalo Lira, an American citizen who was arrested and died in a Ukraine jail for his criticism of Zelensky.

So, who can an average US citizen trust? Tucker Carlson? Nope. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the Free Press does much better by ignoring the wider context here. Ukraine killed a US citizen for criticizing a regime which cancelled elections and arrested the opposition. Russia killed a Russian citizen for criticizing a regime which arrests and suppresses the opposition. They have also arrested a WSJ journalist, which is a further step, but Tucker called Putin on this and basically called Putin a liar by contradicting him and saying nobody believes Putin's claim that the WSJ reporter was a spy. In Tucker's words, "He's just a kid." Thankfully, Putin hasn't killed Evan Gershkovich. One wonders if the MSM had called out Zelensky on jailing an American on trumped up charges, if Mr. Lira would still be alive? If Gershkovich dies, we won't be blaming Tucker.

One would hope American journalists would care a little more about an American citizen getting offed. Apparently, they don't. People don't watch Tucker because he is balanced. They watch him because the MSM refuses to report on critical stories, and we need both sides. Plus, frankly, how else are we going to hear Putin's own words. We may not believe them, but it helps to know what the enemy is thinking.

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It's not rocket science to say that right wing, Putin loving extremists exist just like Leftist, Hamas loving extremists. The difference is that the right wing extremists have very little power in America, while the Leftists dominate many American institutions. The threat of Left wing authoritarianism in America is very real.

Tucker never said that Russia was a bastion of freedom and wonderful values. All he said was that Moscow is clean compared to major cities in America. So what? I also highly doubt that Tucker was allowed to ask whatever he wanted in the interview.

Savodnik is acting like a Leftist by accusing "the right" of being Putin lovers over a pro-Putin YouTube video and some tweets. Real data to back up this claim would be great, but Savodnik is too lazy to dig further and just wanted to whine about Tucker Carlson. I suspect the actual number of people that support Putin is low, just like the number of of Americans that don't support Israel is low.

What I got from the Putin interview is that he is much more sharp and focused compared to Biden. It scary that someone like Biden is leading us with so much global and domestic conflict.

This was nothing more a disgruntled opinion piece that would be better placed on CNN.

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I don't think that Tucker was in a very good position to do much pushing. Putin could have chucked him out at any moment. Perhaps Tucker has done us a great service for doing the interview. It isn't obligatory to swallow everything you hear and I don't think Tucker did.

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I'm not a Tucker fanboy by any means but the chance to get any interview at all with Putin is a win. If indeed Putin used it just to "rant", then fine, that's newsworthy information - analyze it. But would we really expect a dictator to just open up and wear his heart on his sleeve as if on an American personal growth podcast or something? Do we really think Putin, who is used to total control in his life, would put up with getting badgered about things he won't talk about publicly in any other context? That would be a challenging interview for any journalist to do. So here's what I have to say to journalists that are having meltdowns over Tucker: You go secure an interview with Putin and show everyone else how it's done. Go ahead - prove you'd get the hard hitting information out of the dictator while in a country that might toss you in prison if they feel like it. Until then, chill the hell out and be journalists and analyze the content of the interview like a journalist would, with interest, research and skepticism. Oh and the grocery scene - let's all just laugh that this was probably Tucker's first time grocery shopping for himself and he may very well be surprised to see loaves of bread on a shelf. Tucker's not a genius or without many faults, and has many funny faces, but he did have the skills to get an interview with Putin and that sounds like journalism to me. Unfortunately right now the FP is looking a lot more like the NYT - be wary of reconstructing an echo chamber not unlike the one you supposedly rebelled against.

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I agreed with almost everything about this podcast except for one thing:

Again and again, Savodnik put "the right" into one big 'ol basket of deplorables. There are many conservatives that can't stand Tucker Carlson and whatever you call the politicians and media types that represent a small part of the right; or that only tolerate Trump because anything is better than our Manchurian president and pretty much everyone lined up behind him.

When I look at Democrats, I see whackadoodle progressives and clear-headed compassionate liberals. On the Republican side, I see whackadoodle populists and clear-headed compassionate conservatives. While the left seems to have a higher whackadoodle population than the right, the majority on each side tend to be pretty clear-headed. So, please, Free Press, stop identifying all conservatives as "bad"...we are not.

And finally, like another commenter, I don't need to be told how to think...the emotional bias came through so strong that even if I was in complete agreement, it was quite aggravating (and not in a good way).

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Not a great look smearing all Republicans like that. If you ever make generalizations about large groups of people you’ll always be wrong.

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If I am being "honest" (pun intended) a few things need to be addressed with this mini- podcast episode. It is definitely below the standards of what I enjoy about Honestly.

1) I have not watched the TC interview nor do I plan to - however, Peter suggests that interviewing Putin was somehow outside the bounds of a journalist code of ethics - breaking news... every major newspaper wanted that interview. Criticizing the content is one thing but actually getting the interview is quite another.

2) The broadside against people who may vote for the GOP as solely homophobic and misogynistic is totally out of line and something I would expect to see in the Guardian or Mother Jones. Americans who will ultimately vote for Trump (or RFK) are not voting because they agree with his family values - they vote for the GOP because they are view the metastatic cancer of DEI, the forever wars, illegal immigration, decades of condescension from the coastal elites, and so on.... are a greater threat to America than a single individual. It is that simple.

3) Peter needs a history lesson. He seems to think that only Trump and the GOP are coddling dictators. False. The Obama administration made it foreign policy goal #1 to re-engage with Russia and Putin. This is a fact. He spent two terms seeking rapprochement. He allowed Putin to finish the Georgian invasion, invade Crimea and Donbas, and enter the middle east. Remember the hot mic? Remember the debates with Romney? Foreign policy goal #2 was Iran. The largest exporter of terrorism and Obama releases billions of dollars just so they will start a negotiation.

I don't know if engaging with Putin is right or wrong, but I know that to end wars, you need to engage both sides at some point.

4) Finally, on the notion that TC spoke negatively about the US on foreign soil and presidents killing people. Agreed. I don't like it. However, I spent a lot of time in the Middle East in 2009 and Obama routinely spoke to Arab audiences and apologized for America. It was wrong then so TC is not the first by a long shot.

Just being honest.

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Why do I read the comments? Good lord.

Well done, Mr. Savodnik. This was a great piece.

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Tucker Carlson did the U.S. and the rest of the world a great service, and did so at considerable personal risk. First, the world got to hear and SEE Putin’s rationale for invading Ukraine. Despite the skewed, flawed, and incomplete history, Putin went into considerable depth to make a case that Ukraine is a concoction not a country. Putin now regrets how his “story” is being exposed and ridiculed. We got to see Putin’s expressions and reactions unfiltered. We could judge for ourselves when and how Putin was lying, shading, whining, and obfuscating. Second, we heard and saw Putin’s terms for a negotiated end to hostilities and perhaps even some form of treaty. Again, we heard what was previously speculation confirmed and explained by Putin. Third, Tucker Carlson made a direct and personal appeal to Putin to release Gershkovich right then and there. He also told Putin it was BS that Gerschkovich is a spy. If you consider how many people Putin has had murdered, including Navalny, then you understand that it was a real consideration that Tucker Carlson could have joined Gershkovich in jail, or Navalny in a graveyard at Putin’s whim. I wonder how many would have the guts to attempt what Tucker Carlson succeeded in doing?

Regarding Moscow, I have been there in 1992 and 2017. The evolution was astounding. Moscow is very much like Tucker Carlson described it. I have toured the country as well. Moscow and St Petersburg are as nice as any great European City….and outside those cities, the Russian countryside is as poor and rundown as the worst Europe has to offer.

Neither the right nor the left are of one mind regarding Russia and Putin. Our thoughts and desires are quite varied and quite complex. As a conservative I believe every effort should be made to allow Ukraine to retain her sovereignty and to contain Putin’s revanchist aspirations. However, reality informs that the U.S. should not and cannot achieve those goals unilaterally, and that Ukraine has a great deal to do before she reaches viability as a civil, law abiding member of the community of nations. I believe Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if Trump were President AND hostilities will abruptly end in Ukraine if Trump is elected.

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Everybody seems to be judging Tucker’s interview with Putin from what the news outlets said about it instead of watching the actual interview. Glenn Beck released a podcast interview with Tucker Carlson where he talked about his own experience interviewing Putin. Listen to Tucker tell what he believes instead of people from the MSM telling you what he believes.

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It seems like the U.S. has more motive to kill him. Why would they want to martyr him?

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I had heard of Nalvany but didn't really engage until the headlines of the past week. So, I watched Glenn Greenwald's take and was taken aback by what I saw of Navalny's stances on immigrants, guns, etc. Are y'all overlooking (or minimizing) some of the more uncomfortable aspects of his biography?

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