A comparison of Magyar Nemzet and Népszabadság

As promised, here are my findings. Since the contents of the online papers change from minute to minute, this is a "slice of time" analysis.

My first impression is that Magyar Nemzet simply leaves out those MTI reports that in the opinion of the editors don't fit into the paper's ideological framework. In plain language, any criticism of the government is ignored. The most obvious such item today was "the uproar in Austrian commercial circles" over the extra tax on mostly foreign chains. The Austrian companies claim that they lost a lot of money as it is in the last few years because of the decrease in Hungarians' purchasing power. In comparison, Népszabadság reported on the story, although the editors changed the title, making it less forceful: the Austrians were not in an uproar, they only found the new taxes strange.

Staying on the same topic. It turned out that a conference was organized some time ago by the association of private pension and healthcare funds. It took place yesterday. One can imagine the confusion at the Siófok hotel where it was held. No one knew how these vaguely formulated plans would affect them. Népszabadság sent a reporter to the scene and an article appeared about "the resistance" to the measures that allow the state to withhold payments by their customers. If Magyar Nemzet sent a reporter to Siófok, there is no sign of any article on the subject, at least not in the online edition. The new taxes and the question of the private pension funds are on everybody's lips, but Magyar Nemzet simply announced that the bills will be presented to parliament today and speedily enacted.

Magyar Nemzet's most important item today seems István Tarlós's inauguration as the first right-wing mayor of Budapest. Interestingly, the article is not so much about Tarlós but about Viktor Orbán who was present and made a speech. In it one can read details about what "the country expects from the capital and its new leadership." Only in the second part of the article can one read about Tarlós's speech and that the new mayor considers the financial state of Budapest so bad that "radical steps" must be taken "in a humane manner." In plain language, a lot of people will be fired. While in Magyar Nemzet the headline of the article read: "Orbán: Budapest is no longer the city of scandals," Népszabadság stuck closer to the original MTI report and concentrated on Tarlós, mentioning that the inauguration took place in the presence of Orbán.

As for news about MSZP, Népszabadság wrote that Iván Vitányi, the grand old man of the party, will join Ferenc Gyurcsány's new platform called Democratic Coalition. It also reported that Tibor Szanyi announced that the party, which will have a meeting of the steering committee tomorrow, must not tolerate any dissent at this junction. Magyar Nemzet ignored the rather important MSZP meeting tomorrow where Ildikó Lendvai, Ferenc Gyurcsány, and Attila Mesterházy will be the key speakers. Instead it reported on a television interview with Péter Medgyessy this morning. Medgyessy, who blames Gyurcsány for his fall, is no friend of his successor, and in this interview he expressed his opinion that Gyurcsány was far too pushy and should have waited for his turn. At the same time he praised László Botka, the mayor of Szeged who managed to win the election against his Fidesz opponent in spite of a personal visit to the city by Viktor Orbán. Botka in a lengthy interview a few days ago made it crystal clear that all those who are responsible for the party's decline should disappear forever and he pretty much offered himself as party leader. Magyar Nemzet might prefer Botka to Gyurcsány, but I sure wouldn't like to be in the shoes of Botka whose city council with its Fidesz majority refuses to cooperate with him. The inhabitants of Szeged will soon be very sorry that they stuck with their MSZP mayor. Magyar Nemzet also found an interview in the socialist Népszava with József Tóth, the very popular and therefore reelected mayor of one of the Budapest districts, who opined that in the life of the party the next year will be crucial. It will be the time to find out whether MSZP remains intact or falls apart.

Both papers talked about the state of healthcare. Népszabadság claimed that in the 2011 budget Hungarian healthcare will receive 100 billion forints less than this year. Journalists asked different important people in the healthcare sector and, depending on the ideological bent of those asked, they either didn't believe it or they were outraged. Magyar Nemzet acted as if they had never heard the rumor and only quoted István Mikola, earlier the medical expert in Fidesz, who thinks that in ten years the state of Hungarian medicine will be on par with the best in the world.

Another noteworthy news item published in Népszabadság was the latest government plan. The Orbán government intends to put 100 billion forints into the development of the credit unions through which the government wants to help small- and middle-size firms in Hungarian hands. Magyar Nemzet made no mention of this new development, perhaps because taking away money from largely foreign-owned banks and giving the money to credit unions might look a tad suspicious.

Hungarians who read only Magyar Nemzet hear absolutely nothing about foreign and domestic reactions to Viktor Orbán's latest economic announcements. As far as MTI news is concerned, Magyar Nemzet is selective. As for the opposition they naturally pick news that reflects badly on them: dissension, criticism, dire predictions about the future. Two papers, two worlds.

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Johnny Boy
Guest

It’s a huge luck that we have Népszabadság. Magyar Nemzet would probably never try to forge a falsified letter in the name of the world famous Edward Teller after his death, putting false statements in his mouth about how Hungary is becoming a victim of right-wing extremists (interestingly, this is the only thing that continuously happens to Hungary, according to the left), when it was widely known that Teller always supported the democratic right.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Johnny Boy: ” Magyar Nemzet would probably never try to forge a falsified letter in the name of the world famous Edward Teller after his death”
Oh, yes, one will never hear the end of this one case. What about the hundreds and hundreds false accusations by Magyar Nemzet. The victims were sueing and Magyar Nemzet kept losing and losing.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Those “hundreds” were cases of insults by the paper when “victims” were treated with offensive phrasing, much like you do to people disagreeing with you on this blog. These are nowhere near the category of the necromania which Népszabadság committed. Moreover, the editor-in-chief responsible for this profanation has been promoted shortly after, straight into the chair position of the Alliance of Hungarian Journalists.
A respectable deed and career, indeed!
By the way, how many positive comments on Orbán’s newest levies are reported by Népszabadság? I can’t find any reference to this in your post.

Alias3T
Guest

To fully expose us to the extent of the cesspit that is Nepszabadsag, why don’t you tell us about a scandal that happened more recently than seven years ago?

Johnny Boy
Guest

In what aspect does time nullify the disgrace of shameful actions?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Johnny Boy: “In what aspect does time nullify the disgrace of shameful actions?”
Did anyone tell you that you’re tiresome? An editor believed the source who was a friend of Teller. He turned out to be wrong. The fellow was unreliable. That can happen to any paper.
I would like to call your attention to all the brazen lies Magyar Nemzet came up with over the years. Hundred and hundreds. They kept losing every time someone sued them.

Gábor
Guest

Johnny Boy, allow me to inform you that Magyar Nemzet published some nasty articles on one of my close relatives about eleven years ago. They were just lies, it would have been very easy for them to check it, but they didn’t, for obvious reasons. I hope you will stick to what you’ve said (time won’t earse such dishonest action) and either challenge me (call me a liar and duel me somwhere on a foggy dawn) or never read MN again as you detest such newpapers impartially as it is worthy of honest people.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“Did anyone tell you that you’re tiresome?”
I think you are frustrated because you are getting repeatedly cornered. There was no friend of Teller as a source, the whole false letter was entirely crafted by László Zeley himself, a retired “journalist” of Népszabadság:
http://belfold.ma.hu/tart/rcikk/a/0/62352/1
“I would like to call your attention to all the brazen lies Magyar Nemzet came up with over the years”
As I already said (you may find me tiresome but my messages apparently still don’t get through to you) those were cases of offensive language. And that is radically different than profanation.
By the way, have I already asked you about how many positive comments on Orbán’s newest levies are reported by Népszabadság?

Alias3T
Guest

Johnny, you are being tiresome. At least Szilard was fun. When does he come back on shift?
If you insist, here’s a recent article from Nepkommerszag which, while not overflowing in treacly love of Orban, says that lefties only have themselves to blame if they can’t even function as a proper opposition.
http://www.nol.hu/ajanlo/20100904-mi_lesz_ebbol_
They also invariably run a summary of Torok Gabor’s not-exactly-hostile ‘analyses’ of why Orban’s latest move is a masterstroke of Talleyrandian genius.
I defy you to find something like that in the Nemzet.
But really, why the aradivertanukoszomorunemzetverpestutcainjaj are you asking us to defend Nepszabi? It’s not exactly the Frankfurter Allgemeine, but given the terms of reference, it’s a lot less despicable than the Nemzet. You’ve brought up that risible incident from seven years ago three times so far, which leads me to suspect you have no more material in your arsenal.
Neither even matters much: only Viktor Orban reads newspapers nowadays. Index and Origo (both enormously superior, journalistically, to Nepbirosaggyanus and Szent Nemzet), are far more influential.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Johnny Boy: “. There was no friend of Teller as a source, the whole false letter was entirely crafted by László Zeley himself, a retired “journalist” of Népszabadság”
You know I haven’t even thought of this incident for seven years, but your problem is my friend that I have an exceptionally good memory. I remembered that Zeley was indeed a good friend of Teller. And indeed. Here is the story: http://index.hu/belfold/nsz0916/

Johnny Boy
Guest

Eva: I made the mistake of thinking that no “friend” of Teller could have done such a disgrace to him. Looks like I was wrong. I only hope Teller never had to get to know how ethical really his “friend” was.
Your link unfortunately doesn’t cover the truth of the story – it only provides Zeley’s point of view, the credibility of which we could all witness. In fact, Zeley was simply lying about how Teller “first agreed on, then revoked” the letter; there was absolutely no letter in the first place, let alone from Teller. The claims in the letter couldn’t have been farther from Teller’s personal opinion on the topics. Read more here: http://www.mno.hu/portal/171702
Anyway, enough of this topic. It apparently conforms to your ethics to publish a crafted letter in the name of a dead person to give credibility to misinformation; it doesn’t conform to mine. We’re obviously different (luckily, I feel).
How about Népszabadság maybe citing positive reports on Orbán’s new levy proposals? Eva, anyone?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Johnny Boy: ” Anyway, enough of this topic. It apparently conforms to your ethics to publish a crafted letter in the name of a dead person to give credibility to misinformation”
I must say you can come up with incredible conclusions. Just because I think that the editor-in-chief of Nepszabadsag was duped, according to you I condone cheating. Something is very wrong with your logic.

pgyzs
Guest

Eva and Johnny: Everybody knows (including you I guess) that Népszabadság is partly own by the socialist party (Ringier owns much of the stocks but the editorial group of Népszabi had some privileges unless the paper produces a loss for three years in a row, this is actually happening soon.), while Nemzet is own by the economic circles close to Fidesz. So what are you arguing about of course, both parties are going to be biased. If you’re looking for an independent newspaper in Hungary then you’re just gonna face a lot of disapointment, and eventually (unless you’re a complete zealot) you have to learn reading between the lines whatever you read.

whoever
Guest

The point is, pgyzs, is that they are not ‘like for like’ – one of which is openly propagandist and utterly beholden to a group of politicians, the other is a newspaper with a hint of liberal/social-democrat emphasis, much like the Guardian. They aren’t like-for-like. One is a half-decent newspaper, possibly the last one still functioning.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Eva: “Just because I think that the editor-in-chief of Nepszabadsag was duped, according to you I condone cheating”
Maybe because I’ve never seen you frown about the letter?
Noone can seriously think that poor Pál Eötvös was duped. Even I couldn’t be deceived by that false letter, very well knowing what Edward Teller has always been thinking about politics in Hungary, and I, a layman, am far from a journalist. The letter contained all the long expired panels of the left, word by word, far below the standard of Teller’s, both linguistically and content-wise. I’ll never believe that anyone’s rationality at Népszabadság could have been so blinded by their cramped effort to prove the Orbán government’s non-existent anti-Semitism as to not recognize that.
whoever: you’re totally wrong, Népszabadság is nowhere near the Guardian, in any aspect. It is just as openly a propagandist for the Socialists as Magyar Nemzet is for Fidesz. They’re pretty much each other’s biased counterparts, although Magyar Nemzet is somewhat more sophisticated in terms of style and language.
As second tier newspapers, there are Népszava and Magyar Hírlap, both “playing” for the core fan bases, they play the counterpart game too.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

pgyzs: “If you’re looking for an independent newspaper in Hungary then you’re just gonna face a lot of disapointment”
I’m not looking for an independent paper. I’m looking for one which covers the news and not only half of it.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Johnny Boy: “Noone can seriously think that poor Pál Eötvös was duped.”
No, he wasn’t. He was a thoroughly corrupt man who published a letter known to be fradulent. He didn’t care whether someone finds out or not. Is that what you’re saying?
I’m afraid you’re really brainwashed. It is amazing what ideologues can achieve with their fellow humans.

Leo
Guest

It is not only the contents that differs, it´s also the style.
When I started reading Hungarian newspapers some years ago it soon became clear that the country is made up of two different worlds indeed. Lacking knowledge of current politics I found it difficult for a while to decide who to believe.
In such a situation it is natural to presume that the one you agree with on the few subjects you can judge, is most likely to have acceptable views on other issues too. In that way I descided that Népszabadság was a lot closer to my mental home than Magyar Nemzet.
But it was the tone that eventually made me give up reading Nemzet, Hírlap, Heti Válasz, Magyar Demokrata and such. Invective, insinuations, obvious slander – shouting on paper really. Very disagreeable, especially for someone slowly spelling out a rather reticent language.
The situation is not very different with the contributions of most Fidesz supporters on this forum – it is mainly because of their style that I tend to skip them after a while.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Leo: you give away yourself when putting each right-winged paper into one category where you can squeal about the tone and style. First, Heti Válasz is very different to the Hírlap or Demokrata (but you probably haven’t read a single issue of it), and second, there are way more slandering writings in the left-winged papers. Political analyst László Tóth Gy. has filled 3 books (!) with the hatred speech of the left-winged press, titled “Politikailag korrekt” 1-2-3 (“Politically Correct”), you may even take a read, a whole new world of truth could unveil itself to you: http://www.animakonyv.hu/index.php?BODY=Bookinfo&OP=details&ID=59531&VISIT=1&sz=toth-gy-laszlo&t=politikailag-korrekt-1
“it is mainly because of their style that I tend to skip them after a while.”
It is a very well known tactic of – mostly the most slandering – left-winged people to hide behind their pretended grumbling on others’ style to hide their own lack of knowledge and abilities to debate.

whoever
Guest
Johnny Boy, your denial of truths are both exhausting and rather worrying. The closest Hungarian newspaper to ‘The Guardian’ IS Népszabadság, there are no others with even a passing resemblance – that of a reasonable paper of record (albeit with reservations) and a record of printing left, liberal and occasional centre-right columnists (from TGM to Debreczeni). Magyar Nemzet is a brassy propaganda sheet, blaring negativity and prejorative statements about ‘the other side’. There is no comparison between Magyar Nemzet and, for example, the Daily Telegraph, which is a Right-Wing ‘paper of record’ and which is authoratitive in many fields. Eva is right – you appear to have been brainwashed. We all know what would happen, if a Fidesz supporter got ownership of Népszabadság. As we’ve seen what happened to Magyar Hírlap, which was once an independent, critical liberal voice, now playing host to Hungary’s most demented and Horthyite equivalents to the US ‘shock-jocks’. The bizarre thing is that the attitude of you and other Fidesz supporters/groupies on this blog, is driving the opposition into deeper and deeper agreement, despite the many serious doubts that we may have about the Gyurcsány/Bajnai era. As other people have noted, it’s the tone and… Read more »
Paul
Guest

“But it was the tone that eventually made me give up reading Nemzet, Hírlap, Heti Válasz, Magyar Demokrata and such. Invective, insinuations, obvious slander – shouting on paper really. Very disagreeable, especially for someone slowly spelling out a rather reticent language.
The situation is not very different with the contributions of most Fidesz supporters on this forum – it is mainly because of their style that I tend to skip them after a while.”
And Semmi Baj’s reply:
“It is a very well known tactic of – mostly the most slandering – left-winged people to hide behind their pretended grumbling on others’ style to hide their own lack of knowledge and abilities to debate.”
No further comment needed.

Joe Simon
Guest

The NÉPSZABADSÁG was Kadár’s baby, the former Szabad Nép, Rákosi’s baby, written
backwards. No need to say more. Nobody in
the West can even pronounce its name. After
serving the communist dictatorship, they
changed colours. Rather hard to believe.
Magyar Nemzet is still a readable paper and not a rag as Eva once told me in her
usual dismissive manner.

Passing Stranger
Guest

@Joe Simon. It is pointless to judge the two papers on their record under communism. Magyar Nemzet also served the communist dictatorship quite excellently. As for its tone, a disinterested observer has the following to say. “It has adopted a militant tone in its editorials, a radical nationalism somewhat at odds with the paper’s refined intellectualism of yesteryear.”

Joe Simon
Guest

Yes, Passing Stranger, you are right.
Magyar Nemzet also had to toe the party-line. Not much choice there. I just object to the very name Népszabadság. The
word, the expression itself is a ‘torz-
szülemény’, practically meaningless. To me
it will always be a reminder of the repression that followed the 1956 Revolution.

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