After Fox News announced its seemingly abrupt firing of on-air personality Tucker Carlson, Mother Jones‘ David Corn tweeted a purported screenshot of a post from disinformation and propaganda network @RT_com (Russia Today), apparently extending an employment opportunity:
“Come home, Tucker, come home.” pic.twitter.com/PZxn3WypHl
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) April 24, 2023
Much of the context occurred within the span of a few short hours on the morning of April 24 2023.
Fox News ‘Parted Ways’ With Tucker Carlson
On the morning of April 24 2023, Fox News issued a statement headlined, “Fox News Media And Tucker Carlson Part Ways.”
It indicated that Carlson’s final program aired on April 21 2023, and explained that the network planned to substitute “an interim show helmed by rotating FOX News personalities” until the network names a new host:
NEW YORK — April 24, 2023 — FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.
Mr. Carlson’s last program was Friday April 21st . Fox News Tonight will air live at 8 PM/ET starting this evening as an interim show helmed by rotating FOX News personalities until a new host is named.
FOX News Media operates the FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX News Digital, FOX News Audio, FOX News Books, the direct-to-consumer streaming services FOX Nation and FOX News International and the free ad-supported television service FOX Weather. Currently the number one network in all of cable, FNC has also been the most watched television news channel for more than 21 consecutive years, while FBN ranks among the top business channels on cable. Owned by Fox Corporation, FOX News Media reaches nearly 200 million people each month.
Tucker Carlson and Russia Today
Russia Today (often abbreviated as “RT”) is the subject of an entry on MediaBiasFactCheck.com, a website that tracks the reliability and honesty of news sources.
A copy of their entry archived in January 2023 prefaced its analysis of RT as follows:
A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency, and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact-checked on a per-article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the reasoning section for that source. See all Questionable sources.
Overall, we rate RT Questionable based on promoting pro-Russian propaganda, conspiracy theories, numerous failed fact checks, and a lack of author transparency.
Reasoning: Russian Propaganda, Conspiracy, Lack of Transparency, Some Fake News
Bias Rating: RIGHT-CENTER
Factual Reporting: VERY LOW
Press Freedom Rank: LIMITED FREEDOM
Media Type: TV Station
Traffic/Popularity: High Traffic
MBFC Credibility Rating: LOW CREDIBILITY
Carlson and RT appeared to hold one another in high esteem, and a March 2022 Guardian article reported:
The Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson has been widely accused of echoing Russian propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine. According to a report on [in March 2022], earlier [in March 2022] the Putin regime in Moscow sent out an instruction to friendly media outlets: use more clips of Carlson.
Mother Jones, a progressive magazine, said it had obtained memos produced by the Russian department of information and telecommunications support.
In December 2022, RT.com published “Why Tucker Carlson remains a giant that the establishment media can’t pull down.” It praised Carlson throughout, adding that “Carlson appears to be winning” in the “jungle of the U.S. media kingdom”:
The jungle of the US media kingdom appears to be divided between two powerful entities – the pro-establishment behemoth often referred to as the mainstream media, and Tucker Carlson. And against all odds, Carlson appears to be winning.
It would be difficult to name a single person, aside from the rabble-rouser Donald J. Trump, who is more disgusting and/or terrifying (depending on who you ask) for the establishment media than Fox News host Tucker Carlson. This one man is considered such a threat that the New York Times in May  spent a boatload of ink to assassinate his character in a 20,000-word hit piece. Ironically, the article backfired as it laid bare the reasons Americans no longer trust the ‘legacy media’.
Straight from the Grey Lady’s [the New York Times‘] mouth: “‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ has presented a dominant narrative, recasting American racism to present white Americans as an oppressed caste. The ruling class uses fentanyl and other opioids to addict and kill legacy Americans, anti-white racism to cast them as bigots, feminism to degrade their self-esteem, immigration to erode their political power. Republican elites, however improbably, help to import the voters Democrats require at the ballot box. The United States, Mr. Carlson tells his viewers, is ‘ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule.’”
Broadly, Carlson and RT appeared to be reasonably friendly prior to Carlson’s firing from Fox News on April 24 2023.
RT’s Tweet to Carlson
Corn’s tweet was not a retweet of an original tweet; Corn attached a screenshot of a tweet attributed to RT.
RT’s Twitter timeline (@RT_com) tweeted often, as is often the case with news outlets on Twitter. However, the tweet was real:
— RT (@RT_com) April 24, 2023
On April 24 2023, Fox News confirmed the firing of far right presenter Tucker Carlson via a press release. Not long after the news broke, Russia Today (RT, or @RT_com) tweeted, inviting Carlson to “question more” with Russia Today. The tweet was real, as was a history of RT lavishing praise on Carlson and his work.