Viktor Orbán explains what went wrong

If I hadn’t already known that Viktor Orbán is in serious political trouble, I would certainly have discovered it last night while watching an interview he gave to Zsolt Bayer, one of the founders of Fidesz and a foul-mouthed racist who thinks he is a journalist. The interview was aired on Echo TV, a far-right television station catering to Jobbik supporters and to those Fidesz voters whose political views are practically indistinguishable from the ideology and racism of Jobbik.

After his falling out with Lajos Simicska, a former friend and financial wizard of Fidesz, Orbán no longer wants to use HírTV, Lánchíd Rádió, or Magyar Nemzet, all Simicska businesses. László Kövér indicated that the party considers these media outlets to be mouthpieces of the opposition. Fidesz politicians have been advised to keep away from them. In the meantime the government, behind the scenes, is creating a new “independent” media empire.

Why did Orbán use the far-right Echo TV instead of the new state television’s news channel, M1? Although M1 is a flop, it still has a wider audience than Echo TV. The only explanation I can think of is that Fidesz is sending a message to Jobbik supporters, who most likely prefer Echo TV above all others, that Fidesz is no less radical than Jobbik is.

It was a long interview, a little over 45 minutes, and a lot of topics were covered, but what I personally found most interesting was the discussion about “the confusion” in the party and the government. I assume Bayer was addressing the party’s lack of direction and the resultant slide in its popularity. He introduced an idea he had written about earlier, that Fidesz has lost its “soul.” Naturally, Viktor Orbán doesn’t believe that there is any intrinsic problem with his leadership. The “confusion” is not in Fidesz or in the government but in the heads of his right-wing supporters. The reason for this confusion is the government’s loss of the media that in the past explained the policies of his administration and directed public opinion in the proper way.

So, if I understand it correctly, Orbán more or less admits here that without a Fidesz-created servile media he and other Fidesz politicians would be nowhere today. They needed Magyar Nemzet, Heti Válasz, and HírTV, which were financed by Fidesz operatives such as Lajos Simicska. Try to imagine a similar situation in a truly democratic country where the president’s or the prime minister’s success depends on the existence of a secretly financed media empire. And once, for one reason or other, something goes wrong and the owner of that media conglomerate withdraws support, the whole government and the government party are suddenly heading toward oblivion. Because this is what seems to have been going on in Hungary for more than a decade. At least since 2002.

Perhaps I should add here that a large chunk of that money came straight from Brussels. Even during the socialist-liberal period Lajos Simicska’s companies received plenty of government projects. There is also a strong possibility that Simicska was not the only Hungarian CEO who secretly worked for Fidesz. Of course, after 2010 the government coffers were opened wide to Fidesz-supporting entrepreneurs who surely paid the party back for favors received.

At the time of the Simicska-Orbán confrontation the majority of commentators were convinced that Lajos Simicska would come out the loser. After all, the power and purse strings of the state are in Viktor Orbán’s hands. He is the one who can destroy Simicska’s business ventures. In the past, it was Viktor Orbán who made sure that huge government projects landed at Simicska’s concerns, and now those orders will go elsewhere. Of course, this may be true in the short term, but what if the “confusion” in the heads of the Hungarian people remains because there are no longer industrious scribblers who try to point their minds in the “right direction”?

Orbán obviously realizes how important it is to create another servile Fidesz media, and I’m sure they are furiously working on it. Orbán specifically mentioned Gábor Liszkay’s purchase of Napi Gazdaság as a first step toward rebuilding a government-servile media conglomerate, but it will take time, if it’s even possible, to make a second Magyar Nemzet out of what used to be a financial paper. And second, there is a good possibility that by now a lot of Fidesz supporters can no longer be so easily swayed. It is enough to read the comments in Magyar Hírlap following the article that describes the interview. Keep in mind that this is a far-right paper. Here’s a tiny sample. “Something was broken. This is not the same Fidesz any more. There is too much senseless arbitrariness. Too much János Lázár.” This is not a left-wing troll writing here. I’m sure that he used to be a true believer. Another reader realizes that “if there is no media on the right, just on the left, then there will be big trouble. By now all media are anti-Orbán and anti-Fidesz.” Of course, there are still many who are glad that Viktor Orbán explained so clearly what the real trouble is, but another reader suggests that perhaps the prime minister should have mentioned some of the mistakes he and his government made. It will be difficult for the government to pick up where they left off.

Another topic I found fascinating was Viktor Orbán’s evaluation of his tenure as prime minister between 2010 and 2015. There seems to be a new twist in his interpretation of his own role as well as the accomplishments of his government. Until now we have been told that in April 2010 a revolution occurred, a revolution in the voting booths. Now, however, he sees the whole four years following the election of 2010 as a revolution, which he considers a fantastic accomplishment. After all, there have not been too many “victorious” revolutions in Hungarian history. Now the gates to a “polgári Magyarország” (a prosperous Hungary with a well-off middle class) are open. “We just have to enter them.” But one must be vigilant because “the opposition wants [to stage] a counterrevolution,” and therefore they are doing everything in their power to prevent the establishment of that long-sought “polgári Magyarország.” What followed was even more bizarre than his description of the opposition as a bunch of counterrevolutionaries. “We have been victorious and that the opposition is attacking us is an excellent sign. They would like to take our place because now it is good for us and bad for them.” A true democrat is speaking here.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
petofi
Guest

Gee, wasn’t there someone else who spoke about counter-revolutionism in Hungary?
Oh yeah! Putin.
Orban taking dictation…

i-csabi
Guest

To our sorrow, Bayer still enjoys the confidence of a large camp of believers/haters.

Latefor
Guest

After watching this interview, I believe that Orban is a brilliant communicator and Byer is a good interviewer. Orban comes across as a strong leader, who is deeply concerned about the present and the future of the Hungarian people. He believes that he’s on a mission: to create a farer society. With all due respect, if the Hungarian people watched this interview, he will be hard to beat, as he is very convincing.

petofi
Guest

Sad.

Great con man are always believable.

exTor
Guest

Slickness = brilliance ???

Not sure why you watch this channel, Latefor. It should be clear that here the shows are antiOrban, antiFidesz, antiJobbik, etal.

The point is not just corruption, which exists elsewhere, though seemingly in greater amounts in Hungary compared to western Europe, the point is what Fidesz (which is Viktor Orbán) represents.

Fidesz is now a right-wing party that is a somewhat less-odious version of Jobbik. Both parties contain aspects of racism. Both parties are dangerous because they seek to align themselves toward the east [read: beside Russia] for no other reason than to distance themselves from what they consider to be Eurocontrol.

Eurocontrol = euros.

Sure, Viktor Orbán professes deep concern for the Hungarian people. Well barf! What Magyar politician doesn’t regurgitate such bubbly platitudes?

Fairer society? How does that happen when your best friend sits to your right and is openly hostile to Jews and to the Roma? How does that happen when elements of Fidesz are just as racist as Gábor Vona?

MAGYARKOZÓ

Latefor
Guest

exTor,
I don’t believe that they’re racists. I’d call them: strong nationalists.

Guest

Just like Hitler maybe?
You should look at some of the recent comments on pol.hu where your Nationalist friends are ranting …

exTor
Guest

Rather imprecise, Latefor. Who are the ‘they’ in your defense? Jobbikers? They are out-and-out racists. Vona may now try to prettify himself, however his (and Jobbik’s) history is explicitly racist.

As for Fidesz, toward which you seem soft, it has racist sympathizers within it. These people have not (yet ???) been repudiated by Orbán, nor are they ever likely to be.

Strong nationalists are very often strident racists. Jobbik is one example. When one is excessively nationalistic, the other becomes the enemy.

You seem not to know many details that are patently obvious. I’m sorry to have to adhominem you, but this is the way things have devolved when it comes to your opinions.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Latefor
Guest

ExTor,
I’m discussing the Orban interview with Bayer, Not JOBBIK.

Member

What does “MAGYARKOZÓ” mean?

exTor
Guest

Well AN, I was waiting for this question.

Because I’m a poet (in another life) I will have to bag the question, perhaps to revisit it at another time. Because I am a poet, I am averse to explaining what I write. This has become my nature.

If you have ever played poker, you know (or should know) that the cards speak for themselves. You dont say “I have such-and-such”, you merely lay your cards on the table. The group figures it [your hand] out.

As a Hungarian might say: “Elnézést kérek.” I will state that the word is my neologism [neologó] and that it conforms to Hungarian rules of word formation. In other words, it could exist in Hungarian.

Perhaps you could add your thoughts as to its poetential meaning.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Webber
Guest

?? Latefor, If you don’t think they are racists, I recommend you read some of Zsolt Bayer’s more foul articles, or spend some time watching Szaniszló on Echo T.V. Bayers’ nastier stuff is available in English, too, if your Hungarian isn’t good (people translated it to let the world know). Szaniszló, whom Min. Balogh gave an award (later rescinded), is so bizarre that words fail me. In case you haven’t seen him, just watch here (only in Hungarian)

But if you are already aware of Bayer’s racism – indeed, if you are Hungarian – please stop with this faux naiveté. It isn’t convincing.

Latefor
Guest

Webber,
In your opinion, every Hungarian politician is racist and unfit to govern. Would you like to see total unarchy in that poor little ex-communist country? For God’s sake, somebody has to pull the strings!

Webber
Guest

Latefor : Dead wrong. Nothing I’ve written here or anywhere else ever even remotely suggested that I think what you’ve suggested.
The sort of attack you’ve just pulled is becoming rather familiar.
In reaction I can only say “Hello troll!” (as a courtesy, PLEASE do let us know who is pulling your strings.)

exTor
Guest

You may well be right, Webber. Latefor may just be yanking our chain. She might be a troll, as you suggest. There is nothing to be gained arguing about racism with racists, in the same way that there is nothing to be gained by arguing politics with one’s parents.

(As an aside, my father more than once said to me that there were more Jews in Hungary after the war than before the war. Other than that, he did not often make antiJewish statements, at least none that stuck in my brain.)

http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayer_Zsolt

I’ve been trying to find out information on Zsolt Bayer. The Hungarian article on him mentions Békemenet. Can someone give me the 4·1·1 on Bayer and what he had to do with it? Thanx.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Webber
Guest

Bayer is a founding member of Fidesz and a close friend of Orban’s.
He is one of the organizers of the Békemenet/ Peace marches.
He, through projects, has been the recipient of massive state funding since 2010.
In one of his outbursts, in 2013, he wrote:
“a significant part of the Roma are unfit for co-existence. They are not fit to live among people. These Roma are animals and they behave like animals.”
Summary here:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/08/anger-hungary-anti-roma-article
Eva covered this and one of his anti-semitic outbursts in a post back then that you can read here:
http://hungarianspectrum.org/2013/03/02/for-you-only-death-is-the-proper-punishment-zsolt-bayer-on-jews-and-liberals/
These articles covered only what he has written, after weighing his words. Almost any mainstream right-wing party in Western Europe would dump a party member for that sort of rhetoric – not Fidesz.
I know a fellow – formerly in Fidesz – who met Bayer on two occasions and told me he goes into obsessive anti-Semitic and racist rants when he thinks he is among “friends,” and that the cameras/microphones are off.

Latefor
Guest

exTor – “There is nothing to be gained arguing about racism with racists”
Now, I would love to see you getting of your high horsie, and apologise for the above comment. I don’t take comments like this too lightly.

Latefor
Guest

Dear Webber,
Please understand, I’m just a bored female who sometimes has to make a choice: should I paint my nails or inject a little spice into the Hungarian Spectrum. Nobody is pulling my strings, but I’m open for offers.
I’m greatful to Eva for allowing me to comment time to time in the last six years. I’ve learnt sooooòo much!
Cheers.

buddy
Guest

It’s easy to get that impression because the interviewer is Zsolt Bayer, Orbán’s most servile media lackey.

Orbán wouldn’t dare ever be interviewed by anyone who would challenge him and ask him real, serious questions about his leadership, precisely because he would not come off as the “brilliant communicator” you make him out to be.

This “interview” is nothing more than another carefully-managed stageshow to deceive the masses.

gdfxx
Guest

After watching this, Orban reminds me of Ceausescu, again. At one point he describes his own role as the person who should tell everyone else what to do and how to do it.

sunyilo12
Member

gdfxx
I would go even farther: Hungarians are also like Rumanians inasmuch the transition from blind following to outright lynching of their leaders could be quite sudden. Orban be better aware of this piece of recent history…

buddy
Guest

Szijjártó has declared the “Eastern Opening” to be officially over. Not surprising – Hungary’s exports eastward actually decreased by 3% over the previous four years. Of course, the government considers this a “success.”

http://444.hu/2015/05/01/szijjarto-a-keleti-nyitas-befejezettnek-nyilvanithato/

spectator
Guest

A frigin’ shame he’s ran out of cardinal points!
Just imagine, what a great success he could have achieved, if there is more chance for more “Openings”!
But no!
Must be those zionist-liberal-bolsheviks who made up only four of those general directions, and no more..!

Webber
Guest

North by Northwest?

spectator
Guest

Fairly accurate 🙂

halmus
Guest

Latefor is similar to the millions of citizens in the WWII axis countries.

They were willingly fooled by the nazi PR.

Many of them remained believers after the nazi defeat.

They continued to feed their children and grandchildren with strong anti-communism.

Latefor must check his family history with a magnifying glass.

Kingfisher
Guest

To add …
Zsolt Bayer is always the guy at the front, leading the ‘Bekemenet’ Peace Marches. When Austrian MEP, Ulrike Lunacek pointed out that there were anti-semitic slogans at one of these marches (which there were), Bayer responded “Then comes a half-witted impetiginous lying idiot, Ulrike Lunacek, and I expressed myself delicately … The whole rotten filthy lie from the mouth of a rotten filth bag.”
http://hungarianspectrum.org/2013/03/07/ulrike-lunacek-european-pm-sues-zsolt-bayer/

Bayer seems to be a close friend of Orban Viktor. They go back a long way. Google them, and you can see lots of images of them laughing together.

I know someone who got in a car once with Bayer (after a wedding) and, because of an anti-semitic rant, she asked for him to stop the car so she could get out. She noticed that Bayer carried a baseball bat with him in the back seat.

exTor
Guest

It is telling that in Hungary the leader of the country has no problem being interviewed by a shitbag racist like Zsolt Bayer. Here in Hungary I have been using the term ‘szarzacskó’ to refer to members of Jobbik. It is a term equally applicable to the likes of Bayer. And to the wrongs of Bayer.

This kind of interview could never happen anywhere west of Hungary. Never mind a prime minister or a president, no middling politico would ever consider doing the same. This reflects how badly skewed Hungarian culture is. This also shows that, recent setbacks notwithstanding, Fidesz is still very formidable. It has been the predominant party of the past quarter century in Hungary. It could well dominate after 2018.

Okay, so Orbán and Bayer are buds. We know Bayer, but that may not make Orbán himself a racist. Is there anything, any racist comment, that Orbán may have made in the past 25 years? Everybody goofs/gaffes sometime.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Member

Yes, there is a racist, more exactly antisemitic comment OV made in connection with the monument on Szabadsag ter. He said: “It is not they (the jews) who tell us how to commemorate and interpret our history”. He didn’t used a single antisemitic word, but the message was clear to all.

An
Guest

@exTor: Why does it matter if Orban himself is racist or not if he is using racism to his political gain? Actually, in some way, if he is not a racist, it makes it even worse.

Also, he himself not making any racist comments does not say anything about his personal beliefs. He is just playing it smart. The same way when he stayed away from the Parliament when some of the key legislation restricting democracy was passed. He was busy, somewhere else, so did not vote on many of the contradictory measures… I think he is playing smart that he cannot be blamed for what actually transpires. Typical behavior of manipulators.

exTor
Guest

Correctimundo An, ultimately it makes no difference whether Orbán is a racist, which he likely is, given the nuanced comments (as Éva said) he has made. I just wanted a little more so that I could measure him a little better.

In a way, the difference between the two makes Bayer more ‘upstanding, if that term can be used here, because Bayer is a ‘principled’ racist, whereas Orbán is the opposite. He hides his racism.

Many blacks in the States used to say they preferred living in the South because the whites there were at least openly hostile to them. In the North the whites hid their racism behind gentility and other manner of softness.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Webber
Guest

Clearly Orbán sees nothing wrong with appearing beside racists, or with gracing their studios with his presence, and thereby legitimating them and their discourse among his followers.
Orbán doesn’t even care, apparently, that his actions hurt the targets of racism and anti-semitism.
On racism in the South as opposed to the North – I don’t think you’re right about Black people’s feeling, but that doesn’t matter.
The comedian Dave Chapelle was hilarious on racism in the South and North – just try not to smile if you watch this:

exTor
Guest

Thanx for that, Webber. Great piece. Love Dave Chappelle. Hadn’t seen that one. The best comics are all black, edgy. How’s that for racism? Chris Rock. Eddie Murphy. Sorry, Louis CK cant touch them. Too whitebread !!!

MAGYARKOZÓ

spectator
Guest

Oh, he is, rest assured.

Only he sophisticated enough to be aware of the consequences as a PM. It isn’t that hard, by the way.
So, he will never make outright rasist remarks – as Eva pointed it out above – but he willingly put out all the markers to all of the “blunt instruments” to perform the hit with his informal approval.
Otherwise it couldn’t happen with all the power in his disposal, could it?

Hypocrisy at its best.

Member

Yes, there is a racist, more exactly antisemitic comment OV made in connection with the monument on Szabadsag ter. He said: “It is not they (the jews) who tell us how to commemorate and interpret our history”. He didn’t used a single antisemitic word, but the message was clear to all.

István
Guest

Orban’s discussion of Fidesz hegemony in relation to the media is antiquated, according to the data I have seen what is called Internet penetration has now expanded to about 72% of the population of Hungary (http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats9.htm#eu ) Even in China the CCP’s control over content has broken down to a big degree through the use of proxy servers.

The world is moving too fast, there are too many options to try to maintain effective mind control over the population. Part of my extended family in Hungary watches Netflix using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN and they are not software engineers. We even share playlists on Spotify regularly.

PM Orban does not really understand how dynamic modern capitalism is, it overwhelms all barriers. It doesn’t necessarily make people more liberal or conservative, but it does cross almost all established barriers. Eva as I recall has mentioned in an interview for the Beacon she has video discussions with her family in Hungary as do many of us living in the USA. PM Orban is wasting money on this project, because with time the existing media structures will become less and less important.

tappanch
Guest
exTor
Guest

Funny. I think that many can see more than a little relevance in some of the characterizations. Clichés are just overused truths. I’m still hoping to run into Cicciolina someday.

Should I feel offended that Csepel has been ignored?

MAGYARKOZÓ

Steven the map guy
Guest

Csepel: “Jimmy 4ever”

tappanch
Guest

The Hungarian Parliament is marked as “Holocaust Denial”

Realitycheck
Guest

That’s Szabadság tér. Parliament is “Crooks”.

Guest

I would label the parliament “Disney Castle”. Solely for architectural reasons.

Steven the map guy
Guest

Yes, “Holocaust denial” refers to the monument at Szabadság tér, and “Crooks” refers to the Parliament.

Guest

The Budapest map is not as “bad” as many/most of the US cities’ maps – really funny and telling!
From Chicago to Nashville, Manhattan to Key West and all the big cities in Texas – amazing ideas …
Thanks a lot, tappanch!
You made my day!

Steven the map guy
Guest

I made it, so I’m glad you liked it! Thanks for posting it here tappanch!

Guest

Thank you, Steven!
I reactivated my tumblr account right now just for those maps … 😀

Guest
Re: “This kind of interview could never happen anywhere west of Hungary. Never mind a prime minister or a president, no middling politico would ever consider doing the same. This reflects how badly skewed Hungarian culture is.” I have to say I am stunned. I must be a Rip Van Winkle with Magyarorszag. I had the idea that perhaps Hungary could move on from the previous decades and start afresh . But boom it’s too early and the ‘powermen’ are certainly ‘not ready for primetime’ in Europe. All it’s been I think is disaster after disaster in these pages. How can a country be going in a particular direction a direction that just cannot have any ‘up-side’ at all? I’ve heard alot of talk but arguably it hasn’t been substantive to solving the great problems of Magyarorszag. Really I think the moral heart of the country has been cut out terribly. It’s been battered. That’s it for me, the moral aspect today in the country. They need to go to confession and check out their ‘sins’. and do some deep deep inventory and check the rotting floorboards internally. This is a house with no seemingly hard foundations. But of course… Read more »
guszti1959
Guest

Orban and Jobbik, I am suspecting it that they are tuned and trained by the Russian/Iranian/Finkelstein type handlers.

Is it a frontal attack on the real Hungary? Just to breach the EU and the NATO?

wpDiscuz