I don’t often point to Margaret Sullivan in the WaPo (I mean, does anyone?), but she listened to a passage from Fiona Hill’s testimony and highlights it:
But it was another part of that long interview that I found almost as arresting. Hill described how Putin, as he reaches for domination, relies heavily on his skills at the influence-and-information game.
“What happens in a Russian ‘all-of-society’ war, you soften up the enemy,” she told her interviewer, Maura Reynolds. Hill named some names: “You get the Tucker Carlsons and Donald Trumps doing your job for you.”
And now, after a few years of their apologetic rhetoric on behalf of Russia, Putin “has got swaths of the Republican Party” and “masses of the U.S. public saying ‘Good on you, Vladimir Putin,’ or blaming NATO, or blaming the U.S.” for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, she added.
This is definitely true and falls into Driftglass’ programmable meat puppets ™ theory of the Republican base. Sullivan continues:
That Russian state TV has repeatedly played clips of Carlson’s rants, complete with Russian subtitles, is a tribute to just how well-received his rhetoric has been by Putin and his allies.
Laura Ingraham’s show was a big help late last month as she trashed a speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as “really pathetic” and brought Trump on as a guest. The former president’s analysis: His strongman idol would merely have taken over two regions in eastern Ukraine but went further because “he sees the weakness and the incompetence and the stupidity” of the Biden administration.
This is a former president siding with an enemy of our country against our country and the current president. You think this apologia will not be broadcast in Mother Russia? Hair Füror knows that and is glad to be contributing to the cause, as it were.
It’s cheap and easy to dismiss Lord Damp Nut’s rhetoric to having Daddy Issues (but also true), but what about Tucker, or Ingraham? I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say they are actually True Believers when it comes to fascism. And as members of the media, they know damn well that there remarks are getting airplay in Russia. That’s not even questionable.
The old phrase of useful idiots seems dismissive in this context as all of these people are savvy media performers, so the real question is of intent. When people tell you who they are, believe them the first time.