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Photo Illustration: A "MAGA" hat translated into Russian
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It’s not just Tucker Carlson. The right’s soft spot for Putin is also well documented.

The Fox News host is using his show to spread pro-Russia talking points. It’s worth remembering why so many American conservatives back the Kremlin. 


Fox News host Tucker Carlson caused quite a stir online this week when he used his show to spread pro-Russia talking points. But his actions shouldn't really come as a surprise.

On Tuesday, Carlson railed against what he claimed were U.S. efforts to help Ukraine join NATO. Though President Joe Biden has said he's unwilling to close the door on a potential NATO membership for Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded, Biden said Wednesday that it's "unlikely" Ukraine will join the alliance anytime soon. The issue has been a sticking point during ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and Russia.

In one of the show's most bizarre moments, Carlson dubiously compared Ukraine joining NATO to a hypothetical scenario in which China gained control over Mexico. 

Carlson continued his pro-Russian attacks on NATO just days later

It's understandable why this might not seem newsworthy. “Fox host backs authoritarian regime” isn't a headline that captivates like it once could. But to the extent it’s worth mentioning at all, it’s because Carlson’s Russia-friendly stance is emblematic of a trend among America’s white nationalists, their sympathizers and even the conservative movement broadly.

National security experts have warned about those dangerous connections for years now. In essence, many white nationalists and American conservatives feel a kinship with Russia that largely stems from a shared opposition to multiracial democracy. We can take their words and actions as proof. 

Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke once called Russia, a majority white, Slavic country that frequently opposes the increasingly diverse European Union, the “key to white survival.” White supremacist leader Richard Spencer hailed Russia as the “sole white power in the world” in 2016. Republican approval of Putin grew stronger after Russia was seen by many as having helped Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election (in part by targeting Black voters with propaganda, I should add). And several American white nationalists have reportedly attended multiple events sanctioned by Russian extremist groups. 

For example, in 2015, prominent white nationalist Jared Taylor and KKK lawyer Sam Dickson attended an event organized by far-right Russian extremists. The event was also attended by the Russian Imperial Movement, a white supremacist group focused on building a global network of like-minded groups.

All of these instances show that where white nationalist and American conservative support for the Kremlin exists, it isn’t just born out of political convenience. It exists because these entities have similar beliefs about what kinds of people should be able to wield power. 

And all of this, of course, is important background information for you to determine whether a Fox News host’s pro-Russia pandering is a sincere policy disagreement with the U.S. government or something far more sinister.

CORRECTION: (Jan. 24, 2022 2:50 p.m. ET) A previous version of this article misstated the election Russia is accused of trying to influence. It was the 2016 presidential election, not 2020.

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