Tucker Interviews Putin
The People's News for the People's Coin 2/8-2/9
This bonus news digest covers Tucker’s monumental interview with Vladimir Putin, looking at the buildup, interview itself, and aftermath.
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Tucker Interviews Putin
I. Run-up: X hits #1
The buildup to the Tucker/Putin interview was dominated by skirmish between new and old media forces.
On Thursday morning, in anticipation for the interview’s 6 pm drop, 𝕏 became the #1 most-downloaded app on the AppStore.
The achievement represented a decisive refutation to the oft-repeated “𝕏 is dying” narrative promulgated by the site’s rivals.
Hilariously, The Verge, which has spent months prematurely eulogizing 𝕏 under Elon, attempted to explain away the platform’s popularity as the result of a nude photo of Drake. The article did not mention Tucker’s interview.
Another attack came from Hillary Clinton who, without having seen the interview, called Tucker a “puppy dog” and “useful idiot” who “parrots Vladimir Putin’s pack of lies about Ukraine.”
CNN similarly painted Tucker as carrying water for the Kremlin.
On 𝕏, defenders of Tucker made light of mainstream media’s fawning coverage of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky
Elon chimed in with a savage post.
Throughout the day, there was a feeling that journalism had reached a crossroads, with the upstart online rebels finally having gained the upper hand.
II. The Interview
At 6 pm Thursday night, the interview dropped and instantly set the Internet abuzz.
Putin began the interview by asking Tucker, “are we having a talk show or a serious conversation?” before launching into a half-hour monolgue on Russian history beginning in the ninth century and working up to the present day.
When he reached the current era in his chronology, Putin argued the war in Ukraine began not in 2022 but 2014.
2014 was the year of the Maidan massacre in Ukraine, a CIA-sponsored coup which replaced Ukraines Russia-aligned President with a regime that favored the West.
Putin argued that the new regime encouraged violence by neo-Nazi militias against ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s western border regions, especially Orthodox Christians.
After its first half hour, the interview ranged more widely, with Putin presenting himself as competent, rational, and detail-oriented.
Several of Putins comments went viral in which he…
Accused the CIA of blowing up the Nord Stream Pipeline
Denied that his motive is to conquer territory beyond Ukraine: "It is absolutely out of the question... It goes against common sense to get involved in some kind of a global war. A global war will bring all of humanity to the brink of discussion. It's obvious"
Said Russia is willing to negotiate peace with the United States: “It's very simple. If you really want to stop fighting, you need to stop supplying weapons, then we can agree on some terms”
Argued the world is moving toward a multi-polar order through the BRICS economic coalition: “Your political establishment does not understand that the world is changing under objective circumstances”
Said western media works in service of western financial institutions: "In the war of propaganda, it's very difficult to defeat the United States. The United States controls all the world's media and many European media"
Argued the US made a mistake by weaponizing the dollar as a tool of foreign policy: "To use the dollar as a tool of foreign policy struggle is one of the biggest strategic mistakes made by the U.S political leadership"
Said the US is not run by its elected officials
Speculated that Elon may already have a Neuralink chip implanted in his brain: "There's no stopping Elon Musk. He will do as he see fits. I think he's a smart person. I truly believe he is. So, you need to reach an agreement with him."
Argued the US should stop stop funding the war in Ukraine: “Don’t you have anything better to do? You have issues on the border. Issues with migration, issues with the national debt”
Said that Tucker attempted to work for the CIA out of college
Tucker ended the interview by asking Putin to release Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gurshkovich, who was imprisoned in Russia last year for espionage. Putin said “in theory we can say we do not rule out that we can do that” but would not commit to releasing Gurshkovich.
Friday morning, a short follow-up video circulated of Tucker reflecting the interview. He showed a folder of documents given to him by Putin and said Putin was “smart” but “not good at explaining himself.”
Reactions to the interview split along lines of media ecosystem: the interview racked up a massive audience on 𝕏, with over 150 million views in its first 24 hours.
The legacy world questioned the sincerity of Putin’s offer for peace talks…
and again attacked Tucker for doing the interview.
III. Biden presser
Hours before Tucker’s Putin interview released, another huge announcement dropped: the Department of Justice said it would not prosecute Joe Biden for his mishandling of classified documents dating back to his time as Vice President.
While on its face the news appeared good for Biden, the DOJ’s rationale for not pressing charges will likely prove politically costly for the President.
Essentially, the DOJ determined that Biden was too old to have charges pressed.
The DOJ’s report read, “Mr Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory…It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him—by then a former president well into his eighties—of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”
The report also claimed Biden could not remember when he was vice president or recall within several years the date of his son Beau’s death.
Biden appeared for an emergency press conference at 7:45 pm Thursday night, just as the two-hour Tucker/Putin interview reached its peak virality.
During the press conference, Biden yelled at a reporter for questioning his mental acuity and confused the Presidents of Mexico and Egypt.
The latest gaffes followed several incidents in recent days of Biden struggling to communicate.
Biden’s questionable fitness has been a hotly debated meme on 𝕏 since he took office.
However, the idea that his age exempts him from legal accountability is something not even his most ardent supporters have claimed until now.
The timing of Biden’s press conference overlapping with the Putin interview created a powerful contrast between the two world leaders.
The differences between the two could not have been more clear if the events had been scripted. The contrast became its own meme.
For now, Thursday evening’s happenings appear to have set the stage for the coming weeks.
As US election season heats up and Congress in legislative gridlock over both the border and the wars, several big questions loom:
Is 𝕏 replacing the mainstream media as the narrative engine of the West?
Has Tucker become 𝕏’s main character as the most consequential independent journalist in the world?
Did Tucker’s interview with Putin change public perceptions of Russia/Ukraine?
Is Joe Biden still the DNC’s presumptive nominee for 2024?
How will the contrast between US and Russian leadership impact geopolitical standoff between the two countries?
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