Newsmax has continued to lash out at Fox News' Tucker Carlson for effectively taking Russia's side in the Ukraine conflict -- but it has also forwarded some pro-Russia, anti-Ukraine rhetoric of its own.
Dick Morris has been Newsmax's chief Tucker-basher, and he did that again in a Jan. 21 article by Charlie McCarthy:
Former presidential adviser Dick Morris ripped Fox News host Tucker Carlson Friday for "helping to join the Putin people" who are trying to scare Americans into believing that defending Ukraine against Russia will lead to a long, costly war.
Carlson on Tuesday tweeted, "America is moving towards war with Russia, and the media is encouraging it." On his program Thursday night, he told viewers that the U.S. defending Ukraine "serves no American interest."
Morris slammed Carlson's hyperbole and told Newsmax a war between the U.S. and Russia will not happen.
"He should know better, that economic sanctions can accomplish [stopping Russian aggression]," said Morris, a former adviser to then-Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
"I can't believe that Tucker Carlson is so willing to throw away the entire legacy and work of President Ronald Reagan," he said, noting Reagan's success is liberating Eastern Europe from communist subjugation.
McCarthy followed up in a Feb. 3 article:
Republican senators say they are not moved by Fox News host Tucker Carlson's recent rants in favor of Russia's Vladimir Putin while deriding support of Ukraine.
Carlson has been on a tirade rationalizing Russia's aggression toward Ukraine and downplaying its relevance to U.S. national security.
But major Republican figures are not afraid of taking on Fox's top-rated host for what they believe is dangerous thinking, if not outright propaganda.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said lawmakers' actions are more important than TV hosts' opinions.
"Our allies around the world — obviously after Afghanistan — are doubting our credibility, our reliability," Cornyn said.
Dick Morris, a veteran political strategist and Newsmax analyst, has worked on Ukrainian elections and believes Carlson is deceiving the public.
Morris bashed Carlson again on Newsmax TV on Feb. 22:
Those who have been apologists for Russia and Vladimir Putin – like Fox News' Tucker Carlson – are woefully "short-sighted" about this "takeaway" by the "expansionist" regime, starting a "de facto world war," according to political strategist Dick Morris on Newsmax.
"Tucker Carlson, amazingly, on Fox News, said that he would choose Russia over Ukraine – I mean, how short-sighted could you be?" Morris told Tuesday's "America Agenda."
After Russia invaded Ukraine, Morris used his Feb. 24 column to beat up on Carlson some more:
But as war now rages in Europe with Russia’s reckless and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine, everything we feared about Vladimir Putin is coming true.
Still Fox’s top host is doubling down on his own support of the Russian dictator and even claims he would back Russia over innocent Ukraine.
Carlson is making claims which are patently false.
As I have written before, he's smarter than this.
I don’t know what his motive is, but I do know it’s a problem that he's seeking to win over normally sane rational Fox News viewers, and by osmosis, some Newsmax viewers.
We are watching pure 1930s-style appeasement in action on Fox News and in Carlson’s show. It’s not an invasion. It’s an incursion. It’s not important. Ukraine is not a vital ally. It’s none of our business. It’s Europe’s problem. They’re corrupt.
Such talking points must be dear to Putin’s heart as they split the conservative freedom-loving Republicans in America and sap the very limited reservoir of courage and resolve in Joe Biden’s heart.
Offering a coward a way out is like buying a drunk a drink.
Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy even issued a company statement bashing Carlson's support for Putin:
Newsmax believes Russia has made a major transgression and this should be condemned strongly by all people. I think we are seeing for conservatives a clarity moment where Fox News’ main host is stating categorically he is siding with Putin and Russia in support of the invasion. Newsmax supports President Biden’s efforts to stop this invasion, if anything we think he is not being strong enough. We believe there is a bipartisan consensus in opposition to this dangerous aggression.
But as Mediaite noted, "Ruddy’s statement raised eyebrows across the media world, however, as Newsmax’s content in the past week and even 24 hours has been both highly critical of Biden and dismissive of the severity of Putin’s invasion," adding:
The conservative news network released the statement some twelve hours after Michael Savage appeared on Newsmax and condemned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a “puppet of George Soros” who “provoked” Putin. Earlier on Thursday night, host Greg Kelly excused Putin’s invasion of Ukraine by comparing it to the U.S. invasion of Iraq under George W. Bush and went on to claim the U.S. should get rid of term limits, arguing Putin’s lengthy reign has benefitted Russia.
Meanwhile, another Newsmax TV host, Rob Schmitt, got a dressing down by none other than John Bolton for giving too much credit to Donald Trump for containing Russia, as Mediaite also reported:
Former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton corrected and scolded Newsmax host Rob Schmitt on Monday evening over the assertion that Vladimir Putin didn’t invade Ukraine while Donald Trump was president because his administration was “very tough” on Russia.
“In almost every case the sanctions were imposed with Trump complaining about it, saying we were being too hard,” said Bolton. “The fact is he barely knew where Ukraine was.”
“He once asked John Kelly, the second chief of staff, if Finland were part of Russia,” Bolton continued. “It’s just not accurate to say that Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians.”
Toward the end of the interview, Schmitt said that credit is nevertheless due, and claimed Trump was the first to warn Europe about the dangers of relying on Russian gas and oil.
“You’re absolutely wrong,” yelled Bolton. “You’re absolutely wrong!”
“The first person to tell the Europeans not to rely on Russian oil and gas was Ronald Reagan,” said Bolton, which elicited a “Fair enough,” from Schmitt.
Newsmax needs to work a bit on unifying its messaging.