Media Tip Sheet: Tucker Carlson Interview with Russia's Vladimir Putin to Air Thursday Night

February 8, 2024

Tucker Carlson confirmed that his interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin will air Thursday night, in what is the first interview granted to a member of the U.S. media with Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine. The interview is drawing stark criticism from both U.S. and Russian journalists and journalists around the world.

GW's Frank Sesno

Frank Sesno, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA), is an Emmy-Award winning journalist whose diverse career spans more than three decades, including 21 years at CNN where he served as White House correspondent, anchor and Washington Bureau Chief. He has covered a diverse range of subjects, from politics and conventions to international summits and climate change. He has interviewed five U.S. presidents and thousands of political, business and civic leaders — ranging from Hillary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Microsoft founder Bill Gates and broadcast legend Walter Cronkite.

Sesno previously served as director of SMPA, where he led a faculty of nearly two dozen world-class professors who research and teach journalism, political communication and the impact of digital media in international affairs. Sesno taught classes on environmental multimedia reporting, ethics in journalism, documentary and “the art of the interview.” 

Sesno weighed in Carlson’s interview with the Russian leader: 

“As a journalistic interview - real news by a real journalist - this would be an exceptionally valuable and important “get” and very useful for the world and policymakers. As a Tucker Carlson rant dressed up as an interview, unless he really surprises us, it’s likely to be self-promotional and maybe even delusional.  Dictators should be questioned, grilled, held to account for what they’ve done and asked exceptionally specific and well-documented questions. There is no indication Carlson will do that. So this is more likely to be a propaganda coup for Putin and a branding bonanza for Carlson.  It will do little to hold Putin to account or challenge him on his aggression, lies, and war.”

If you would like to speak with Prof. Sesno, please contact GW Senior Media Relations Specialist Cate Douglass at [email protected].