Monthly Archives: May 2008

Media manipulation in Hungary

I have to admit that the inspiration for this blog comes from Sándor Friderikusz's program (ATV) where Júlia Lángh, writer and journalist, had a conversation with Paul Lendvai, an Austrian-Hungarian political commentator. Friderikusz, who has a decidedly low opinion of Hungarian journalists and the Hungarian media, repeatedly complains about the shoddy reporting of Hungarian newspapers, radio, and television. Not long ago he devoted a whole hour to the topic of the widely circulated pseudo-news that three and a half million people live in poverty in a country of ten million. As it turned out, a … Read the rest

Fidesz damage control

It seems that even some of Viktor Orbán's friends and advisors think that his "honest" talk was a mistake, and they immediately began damage control. How effective these efforts will be against an onslaught of MSZP attacks remains to be seen. Uncharacteristically, MSZP has moved into high gear: the party leadership is taking out full-page ads in different publications. And ads are expensive in Hungary. Even on-line ads may cost half a million forints.

Ferenc Gyurcsány in his blog, not unsurprisingly, had some harsh words to describe Viktor Orbán's behavior. As I reported earlier, Gyurcsány … Read the rest

Orbán’s revelations and their afterlife

The storm around Orbán's alleged government plans has not quieted down. On the contrary, it has intensified, especially after the appearance of the Népszabadság-Szonda Ipsos poll today. Last night when two newspapermen at Népszava were putting together their joint article for today's issue, they were still receiving the opinions of "experts" who were convinced that "as things stand today, it is outright advantageous to Orbán that what he said in private came to light." I wonder how Ágoston Mráz, head of the think tank Nézőpoint Intézet (View Point Institute) and author of this opinion, must have reacted … Read the rest

Reactions to Orbán’s revelations

My head is spinning. One hears nothing else but talking heads spouting their wisdom about Viktor Orbán's monologue at a seminar of young political scientists, students of László Kéri. One interpretation is more bizarre than the next. At least to my mind. The best solutions in mathematics are the simplest. I think the same is true about political analysis.

The first hypothesis is that Orbán actually wanted his plans to become public. Oh yes, he wanted all the pensioners to know that he is going to freeze their pensions and that in general he doesn't care … Read the rest

Szálasi as party leader

As mentioned yesterday, Szálasi’s obscure language and confused ideology were not conducive to the creation of a viable political party. However, Szálasi was determined. In 1935 his situation in the army became unbearable because of the pressures put on him to cease his political activities. So in March he resigned and immediately founded his first party, Nemzeti Akarat Pártja (Party of National Will), consisting of, in addition to himself, Sándor Csia, a typist, and two members. Csia eventually became Szálasi’s deputy and from 1939 on a member of parliament. After … Read the rest

Szálasi and Hungarism

Because there has been so much talk lately about the growth of the Hungarian radical right, about paramilitary organizations and the young and not so young waving Árpád-striped flags associated with the Arrow Cross movement, it may be time to say a few words about Ferenc Szálasi (1898-1946).

Perhaps no one will be surprised to discover that the man who came up with “Hungarism” wasn’t an ethnic  Hungarian. His original name was Szalosján. His fraternal ancestors came from Armenia and settled in Transylvania, but Szálasi was born in Kassa (today Kosice in Slovakia) … Read the rest

Orbán’s Őszöd?

You will remember that Ferenc Gyurcsány's problems began with a passionate and not too diplomatic speech to the MSZP parliamentary delegation at Balatonõszöd in which he tried to convince the reluctant socialists that an austerity program had to introduced. Without which, he argued, economic collapse would be inevitable. As usual he didn't speak from a prepared text but improvised, and some of the sentences were–how shall I say it kindly?–more than sloppy. Outright misleading. He said things that could easily be turned against him.

Well, today János Kóka was, I think, close to the truth when he … Read the rest