Notable and quotable

In the latest episode of the Hoover Institution’s GoodFellows podcast (with Dan Senor sitting in for H.R. McMaster), Niall Ferguson joined from Jerusalem. He had some advice for Tucker Carlson regarding his misadventures in Putin’s Russia buried at about 43:00 of the video (below). Asked to assess Carlson’s interview with Putin, Ferguson responded:

I am beyond disappointed in what Tucker Carlson has become because four years ago he was an impressive and effective broadcaster whose monologues I used to enjoy. I mean Tucker — I don’t know if you listen to this — but you have a chance to admit that you made a terrible mistake by going to Moscow, that you were made use of by a fascist dictator. You don’t want to be the Walter Duranty of this story. You don’t want to be the useful idiot of American journalism who fell for a dictatorship.

So my advice is own it. You made a huge blunder and you need to admit it and recognize that you have been used by a fascist regime. The fact that Navalny was killed just after you had been made a fool of in that interview where Putin filibustered, made stuff up that you didn’t know enough Russian history to correct — all of this has all but destroyed your reputation and the only possible solution is a full and frank apology and an admission that you screwed up.

See my own “Political pilgrimage revisited,” “From glib to stupid,” and “The lonesome death of Alexei Navalny.”

Tucker Carlson has worked himself into a dark corner of which his Russian misadventures constitute only one component. He seeks to fill the niche formerly occupied by Charles Lindbergh on the isolationist wing of the populist right and has become a fool for Putin in the process. The odds of Carlson taking Ferguson’s advice asymptotically approach zero, but not because he shouldn’t take it.

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