Michael McFaul Absolutely Torches BBC Anchor For Interviewing Russian Official: ‘Did the BBC Put on Nazis’ in WW2?


Former Amb. Michael McFaul absolutely destroyed a BBC anchor on air for interviewing a Russian official who he said spewed “ridiculous” propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine — and asked if the BBC would have given Nazis airtime during World War II.

On Thursday morning’s edition of BBC World Service’s Newshour, presenter James Menendez interviewed Vitaly Milonov, a Russian MP who is bonkers even by that nation’s political standards.

For four minutes, Milonov spouted Vladimir Putin’s talking points, which the anchor did his best to challenge.

Menendez then introduced McFaul, who was U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. McFaul spent a minute answering the first question, then tore into the BBC for hosting Milonov:

AMB. MCFAUL: I want to ask a question. The BBC, if it was September 1st, 1939, would you put on the air a member of the Nazi Party to try to explain this ridiculous, absolute falsification of history and information that we just heard from Mr. Milonov? Because this is complete, utter nonsense what he just said, and I’m wondering if we’re doing a service to the world by giving him a voice on the BBC?

MR. MENENDEZ: Do we need to hear, though…? And I don’t speak for the BBC, of course, but do we need to hear what the justification is in those elite circles, in the Kremlin and among parliamentarians, even if it’s not true? Put some of what he said to rest then.

AMB. MCFAUL: Well, it’s utter nonsense, and I really want to ask the question, let’s go back and find out was the BBC putting on Nazis on September 1st, 1939? Because I think it’s an ethical question for those that are in the business. You put him on and then you put me on. It’s here’s one view. Here’s another view, and I don’t like that. There are not flowers being thrown in front of tanks riding in Ukraine, the people of Ukraine voted, including in the Donbas, except for the occupied territories where there were no votes. They voted overwhelmingly for President Zelensky. So the gentleman you just had on was speaking under false facts.

After a bit of analysis, McFaul circled back to give BBC the business one last time:

First thing we need to do is we need to call things that are right and wrong, and things that are evil, and this is evil. And Mr. Milonov was propagating evil, and we need to call that out for what it is. That, I think, is the most important thing that people in the free world, not just governments, but individuals, need to do. This is an evil, unjust war.

He also followed up with a very unsubtle subtweet:

It’s worth it to listen to the end to hear the exhausted tone of Menendez’s outro of McFaul, which kind of says it all.

Watch above via BBC World Service.

Correction: A previous version of this story identified Tim Franks as the BBC anchor who was confronted by McFaul. As he made clear in a tweet, he was not the anchor involved, although he is a Newhour presenter. This story has been updated. Mediaite regrets the error.

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