News media on the left and right showed bias in coverage of Tucker Carlson’s (Right bias) interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which was released on Feb. 8. 

AllSides compared a handful of headlines from NPR (Lean Left bias), CNN (Lean Left bias), The Washington Post (Lean Left bias), NBC (Lean Left bias), Breitbart (Right bias), The Daily Caller (Right), National Review (Right), and Washington Examiner (Lean Right). While some just stated the facts on this issue, others showed bias in their headlines.


The interview was covered widely across the political spectrum, with most outlets publishing several pieces of coverage from different angles. We compiled the very first headlines that a handful of media outlets published after the interview’s release that were not labeled "analysis" nor "opinion."

Apparent in the coverage is a bias or slant against Carlson and Putin on the left; meanwhile, media outlets on the right typically just stated facts in their headlines.

For example, NPR called Carlson’s interview a “bid for relevance,” showing a type of media bias called mudslinging, which is when damaging things are said about a person (in this case, the implication is that Carlson is irrelevant). The Washington Post used a subjective qualifying adjective, calling the interview “rambling” and inserted some subjective analysis into its headline, saying Putin “barely let Tucker Carlson get a word in.” All of these headlines revealed the bias of the publication and suggested a way for the reader to interpret the interview. NBC News, for its part, just stated the facts neutrally. CNN did in its headline announcing the interview, too. In its subsequent coverage, however, CNN primarily highlighted voices that were not favorable toward the interview nor Putin, such as Oliver Darcy, who wrote an analysis piece calling the interview “softball” and a “propaganda victory” for Putin; another CNN headline read, “Tucker Carlson an "obedient puppy" in Putin interview, says Russian historian.” It’s okay for bias to be shown in analysis pieces or via sources interviewed, but by not running any voices in favor, CNN shows a lack of balanced perspectives overall, even though its initial headline announcing the interview was neutral.

Like NBC News, media outlets AllSides analyzed on the right employed headlines that mostly just stated the fact that Carlson interviewed Putin. The subjective qualifiers they used were either objective (calling the interview “rare”, in the case of The National Review), or somewhat positive or neutral, using words like “wide-ranging” (Washington Examiner) and “highly anticipated” (The Daily Caller) to describe the interview in their headlines.

The interview was the President’s first with a Western journalist since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The media bias apparent in the headlines shows very different perspectives on the Russia-Ukraine war and on Carlson, a major figure right-wing media, with left-leaning publications being more skeptical of the interview/Carlson and outlets on the right being either neutral toward or more supportive of the interview/Carlson.

Compare more media coverage of the Tucker Carlson interview with Vladimir Putin by viewing the AllSides Headline Roundup.

Julie Mastrine is the Director of Media Bias Ratings at AllSides. She has a Lean Right bias.

This piece was reviewed by Joseph Ratliff, Content Designer and News Editor (Lean Left bias), and Isaiah Anthony, Deputy Blog Editor (Center bias).