Tucker Carlson may be out of a job at Fox News, but Russian state media seems to have an eye on him.
Fox said Monday the company was parting ways with its star prime-time host after 14 years, an announcement that came as a shock to media observers who had watched Carlson rack up ratings by delivering frequently bigoted monologues to a conservative audience. The cable news network, embroiled in several very pricey lawsuits, did not give a reason for its decision.
The Russian state media network RT tried to grab Carlson’s attention over Twitter, writing: “Hey @TuckerCarlson, you can always question more with @RT_com.” An earlier tweet from RT had framed the departure as Carlson’s decision.
(Notably, Twitter does not label RT as a “state-affiliated media” organisation, despite it being one. Twitter CEO Elon Musk sparked outrage earlier this month when he labeled the US news outlet NPR as “state-affiliated media,” even though NPR receives less than 1% of its funding from the federal government.)
Russian TV host Vladimir Solovyov, an influential state propagandist, also reportedly signalled keen interest.
“You have our admiration and support in any endeavour you choose for 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,” he went on. “We’ll happily offer you a job if you wish to carry on as a presenter and host! You are always welcome in Russia and in Moscow.”
Carlson has earned criticism over the years for promoting some of the anti-West messages of Russian President Vladimir Putin, particularly since Russia invaded Ukraine last year.
The ex-Fox host has suggested at various points that Ukraine is “not a democracy,” that Russia has a right to defend itself against its supposedly aggressive neighbour, that the U.S. is spending too much money on aid to Ukraine and that President Joe Biden “wanted, all along, a regime-change war with Russia.”
His ouster came one week after Fox settled a defamation suit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million (£633 million). The right-wing network is still facing a similar defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic, another voting tech company, and accusations of running “a work environment that subjugates women based on vile sexist stereotypes” from a former staffer, Abby Grossberg.