Part-time The Daily Show host Jon Stewart called out far-right reactionary Tucker Carlson's interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, arguing during a segment that Carlson had capitulated to a man who is widely considered an enemy of Western values.
The interview, the first by an American media figure with Putin since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, was posted on X on February 8th and was widely seen as a softball propaganda exercise for Putin.
Stewart's sharpest criticism of Tucker came early in the segment, after Tucker praised a Russian grocery store's grocery cart security system, saying "It's free but there's an incentive to return it and not just take it to your homeless encampment."
"I know I've said this before...you're such a d*ck!"
Stewart also highlighted Carlson's characterization of himself as a journalist, sarcastically jotting down notes as Carlson claimed his duty was to "inform people."
"Lie about what your job is. Lie about what your duty is."
“I have much to learn — ‘Disguise your deception and capitulation to power as noble and moral and based in freedom.’ Yes, master.”
You can hear what Stewart said in the video below.
The comedian then delved into Carlson's coverage of Russia, particularly focusing on a segment where Carlson visited a grocery store, suggesting that the low price of food would "radicalize" viewers against American leaders:
“And it will radicalize you unless you understand basic economics. See, $104 for groceries sounds like a great bargain unless you realize Russians earn less than $200 a week. But that’s the kind of context that a — what did you call yourself earlier? — a journalist would have provided."
But here’s the reality, you know all this, because you aren’t as dumb as your face would have us believe. Perhaps if your handlers had allowed, you would have seen there was a hidden fee to your cheap groceries and orderly streets. Ask Aleksei Navalny or any of his supporters.”
Furthermore, Stewart dissected Carlson's broader agenda, suggesting that he and others like him are attempting to blur the lines between political ideologies, framing the global narrative as a battle between "woke" and "unwoke" forces:
“Because the difference between our urinal-caked, chaotic subways and your candelabra-ed beautiful subways is the literal price of freedom. But the goal that Carlson and his ilk are pushing is that there is really no difference between our systems. In fact, theirs might be a little bit better."
"The question is: Why, why is Tucker doing this? Here’s why: It’s because the old civilizational battle was communism versus capitalism. That is what drove the world since World War II. Russia was the enemy then."
"But now, they think the battle is woke versus unwoke, and in that fight, Putin is an ally to the right. He’s their friend. Unfortunately, he is also a brutal and ruthless dictator. So now they have to make Americans a little more comfortable with that."
"I mean, liberty is nice, but have you seen Russia’s shopping carts?”
Many echoed Stewart's criticisms of Carlson.
Stewart's criticisms came after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton labeled Carlson a "useful idiot" and compared him to a "puppy dog" while suggesting that his future in media could involve a "contract with a Russian outlet."
In an interview with MSNBC before Carlson's interview with Putin aired, said Carlson "says things that are not true, he parrots Vlamidir Putin’s pack of lies about Ukraine."
Clinton said that given Carlson's history of capitulating to Putin and his anti-democratic ideals, "I don’t see why Putin wouldn't give him an interview.”