News at two Hungarian commercial stations: TV2 and RTL Klub

Just as I expected. News coverage at the two stations is poor, with RTL Klub even worse than TV2.

These two stations have the financial wherewithal to produce news of considerable value. They can send out reporters and cameramen for on-the-spot coverage. The trouble is with what they cover. It's similar to the fare on local broadcast news programs in the U.S. However, American stations also broadcast national after the local news.

On TV2's forty-minute program every story, even the most unimportant, is reported in depth. For example, the mother of a hyperactive child claims that the kindergarten teacher scratched her child's neck, drawing blood. TV2 sent a reporter to the small town where that happened and interviewed both the director of the kindergarten and the mother.

The heat wave was the lead story, a theme that was smuggled into several other reports: the festival at Lake Balaton, interviews with ambulance drivers, the death of a seventeen-year-old boy at Lake Balaton. When it came to the circumstances of the capture of alleged murderer from Serbia, TV2 knew more about the case than any other television station. He drove a luxury Mercedes, but it broke down while he was driving toward the Serbian border and therefore he was hiding for days in an empty pig sty. TV2 seems to know that he had an arsenal of weapons that weighed 39 kg.

There was a report on the theft of a car belonging to a French family vacationing in Balatonlelle. While escaping, the thief had an accident. A TV2 reporter and cameraman were on the spot showing the wreck and the helicopter checking highway M7.

Bottles containing carbonated vodka were pulled from the shelves because a couple of them exploded. Again, TV2 was on the scene, and its reporter talked to the spokeswoman of Tesco. Someone who was planning to rob a casino in Pécs went by taxi; having failed to pull off the heist (these criminals are either inept or really unlucky), he got back into the taxi and rode around for half an hour, after which he left without paying. The TV2 staff went to Pécs and showed the casino as well as videos of the man in action.

TV2 couldn't leave out the story of the sick children at summer camp, but again they found out exactly how many children became ill and what the symptoms were. They even managed to get an interview with the director of the hospital in Veszprém, Jenő Rácz, former minister of health. For good measure they talked to the region's medical officer.

In a couple of villages in Veszprém County people have to use bottled water because herbicide and fertilizer got into the water. The report also noted that the Danube is also polluted with insecticides and all these poisonous substances can cause stomach cancer.

Then came the espionage case. They talked to Lajos Galambos's lawyer; they briefly showed Ágnes Vadai (MSZP), chairman of the commitee on national security, expressing her doubts about the evidence presented, and they talked to László Földi, a former intelligence officer.

Back to the normal fare: four hundred apartments are without hot water in Záhogy; a truck burst into flames; a kindergarten must be closed in Érd because MÁV is laying new tracks.

Suddenly we are in Paris. Sympathizers of Palestine are not allowed to travel to Israel.

Back to Hungary. The "Balaton Sound" festival in Zamárdi is so loud that on the north side of the lake people can't sleep. Cyclists who have no light can receive one free of charge from the police. The bicycle lane around Lake Balaton is at last finished. One can now circle the lake without worrying about cars. The length of the bicycle lane is 200 km.

The last trip of the Atlantis ends the broadcast.

As I said, RTL Klub's news coverage is even worse. The lead story was alleged kidnappings in Romania, which turned out to be untrue. Demonstrators for Palestine couldn't fly to Israel. A tearful farewell to Harry Potter. András Stohl, an actor who had a serious accident while under the influence, goes to schools to talk about drug and alcohol abuse. They don't know why the boy at Lake Balaton died. Brief stories on the Serbian murderer, the heat wave, the problem of not enough gyms for daily gym classes. They reported that the price of cigarettes will not go up, and finally, a message came from the sky to a family in Baranya County. In Austria there is a kindergarten where at the end of the year the children send messages via helium balloons. They ask the people who find them to send them a postcard. Great excitement in the village. And that was the end of the evening news.

Out of the five television stations four produce inferior news programs, including the ones that are supposed to provide "quality" broadcasting. After I had finished my article yesterday I read the blog of Árpád W. Tóta whom a friend of mine called "phenomenal." Indeed, he is an excellent commentator with a fantastic style. He too was writing about public television news and remarked that soon enough MTV's evening news will cause about as much excitement as mass on Sunday morning. That's a pretty apt description of the state of affairs, I'm afraid. I would be greatly surprised if with a new crew MTV suddenly became a first-rate television station. I expect in fact further deterioration. In one-party states where the media is strictly controlled, the news is usually deadly dull.

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Paul
Guest

“The lead story was alleged kidnappings in Romania, which turned out to be untrue.”
Sums up Hungarian ‘popular’ TV perfectly.

MM
Guest

As far as I can remember official and commercial news was similarly awful under the Socialists, with Gyurcsány cutting ribbons appearing as a major news item.
I am not too worried. There are limits to the usefulness of propagaqnda. From 1949 onward the communist party had a monopoly of all the news media. This did not convert Hungarians into committed communists. If anything, it made them more sceptical of official news outlets. Blair’s spindoctors led to electoral succes at first, but hostility later. And Orbán’s control of the state media did not bring victory in 2002.

Odin's lost eye
Guest

Johnny Boy. Did the President of Hungary sign the amendments demanded by the EU to the Media Act which were passed by the Hungarian Parliament?

Johnny Boy
Guest

Tetű W. Árpád is an infamous boor, a bounder with good writing skills. He denies all common and social values, he rejects everything that is important for a benevolent and responsible person. He just doesn’t find his place in the world, he doesn’t understand how the fabric of society is built up and how it functions, and he lashes out against everything he doesn’t understand (of which there are plenty).
A truly wasted talent.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Odin: I don’t know, I suppose he did. Why?
Those amendments were extremely insignificant and small details that don’t change the whole picture one bit, anyway.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Paul: I don’t think you in Britain are better off with your disgusting “News of the World”, either.

Member

Johnny: “Tetű W. Árpád is an infamous boor, a bounder with good writing skills”
Nice one. His name is Tóta. Johnny made Tetű, which is a pretty strong derogatory term in Hungarian. Oh, well, this is just our Johnny …
The reason for the term “Tetű” is that W ridicules Johnnykin and his favorite government in every single piece he writes in a very entertaining way. I hear people LOL while reading them.

Member

Johnny Boy: “infamous boor, a bounder with good writing skills. He denies all common and social values, he rejects everything that is important for a benevolent and responsible person. He just doesn’t find his place in the world, he doesn’t understand how the fabric of society is built up and how it functions, and he lashes out against everything he doesn’t understand (of which there are plenty).”
Oh, I thought for a moment that you are publishing your bio, but then when I reread the paragraph, I noticed the “good writing skills”, and that gave it away. I knew you must talk about somebody else.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“I hear people LOL while reading them.”
Hhihihi
Strange, I hear most people say LOL about the writer himself. Look at the comments, on worse days it’s about 5:1 not in favor of him, despite Zindex being a ‘liberal’ (bro@f) site.

Johnny Boy
Guest

One of my friends said about Tetű W. that ‘he hasn’t written an article yet in which he had been only a little hick”

Johnny Boy
Guest

Some1: this was your last one, from now on you’re going to be filtered by my script, don’t even waste any effort on trying to address me because I won’t even be able to read your yammer.

Member

Johnny Boy: “don’t even waste any effort on trying to address me because I won’t even be able to read your yammer.” Oh I just copied your post. Is that offensive? I wonder why? On the other hand, JB not replying is the best news in a week!

Member

Dear Johnny,
I looked at the comments on the w.blog.hu posts. Well, W. gets more then 1000 likes on facebook for each post. He also got 1000 comments for his posts before the commenting was moved over to Facebook (this is cool by the way). I’m reading them and I only see positive reactions but I don’t have the resources of the Fidesz propaganda ministry to read them all. So what the hell are you talking about??
I find his filtering script idea very interesting. Is this some blog crawler that flags certain keywords? I was suspecting this before! I knew it!! These guys may have some kind of blog bashing software. Something like the distributed call centers. Volunteers or compensated turul troopers sign up for the work from home. The crawler bots are scouring the net for liberal blogs about Hungary. The bot flags one post and sends a message to Johnny and Simon with the link … beep, beep … then they post. They also working on a random fascist post generator so they can automate the process. Who knows? Johnny may not be human ?? Hmmm …

Member

Somehow it sounds irrelevant first, but I really would like to ask you to read a blog entry by Kai Nagata, the Quebec City correspondent for CTV News (Canada), who has abruptly resigned from his job, expressing his disillusionment with television news in a farewell letter. His essay has received widespread attention from journalists across Canada and even caught the attention of Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert, who posted the lengthy missive on Twitter.
So, why is this relevant for Hungary? Because it talks about he responsibility and the place of press, media and public television (CBC) in today society, and the relationship between media an politics. Very well written and very relevant to any country. http://kainagata.com/

Odin's lost eye
Guest

Johnny Boy. I asked you about the first tranche of amendments to the Media Law.
These amendments were agreed to by Hungary. They have been passed by parliament, but if they are ‘left on the table’ and not signed by the president then nothing has changed.
Hungary will have tried to ‘Bamboozled’ the E.U. (once again)!

Johnny Boy
Guest

Odin: and I responded to your question.
From where do you get the ‘information’ that the president hasn’t signed the amendment?
Or are you just spreading false accusations? I dare not think that.

Member

Odin: If Orban gave it to him, he did sign it. lol Of course they would not make such a huge deal out of it as it would make look Orban even worst. Do not forget how many times he said that he will not change one single thing! Now the MTI would have to say
Contrary to Orban’s firm promise that no one could make him change any points in the new Media Law, he admitted that he was wrong and in deed four points needed to be changed to somehow align the law with European standards. Schmitt Pal put his signature on this document that was put in front of him without any problem.

Paul
Guest

Some1 | July 11, 2011 at 08:37 AM
Exactly!

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