Andy Vajna’s TV station: the government’s attack dog

This afternoon Viktor Orbán was in the uncomfortable position of having to answer questions from members of the opposition parties on the floor of the parliament. The first question, “Let’s show the cards! What is the source of the enrichment of the prime minister’s entourage?” was posed by Gábor Vona, chairman of Jobbik. He complained that he twice suggested setting up a parliamentary committee to investigate the enrichment of certain Fidesz politicians, including the prime minister. He claimed that Fidesz is “full of criminals.” First and foremost, Hungarians must find out who Lőrinc Mészáros really is. Another Jobbik MP, Előd Novák, complained about the enrichment of Andrew G. Vajna, the former Hollywood producer who has built a media empire on public money.

Viktor Orbán’s answer is always the same when he has to field such questions: members of the opposition parties have no right to accuse him of anything. Instead of this kind of provocation they should give an account of their own party’s finances. In the case of Jobbik, Vona should explain, for instance, who “the mysterious man” is who has contributed 520 million forints to Jobbik. As far as his own affairs are concerned, his “life is an open book.” At that point I almost choked on my morning coffee.

Ever since Viktor Orbán foolishly paraded Nárcisz the kuvasz on his Facebook page, interest in Viktor Orbán’s financial affairs has intensified. Particular attention was paid to the Habsburg estate in Alcsút where apparently Viktor Orbán actually lives, especially after it became known that both Lőrinc Mészáros and István Tiborcz, Orbán’s son-in-law, purchased large tracts of land in the vicinity of the Habsburg estate. The extent of the holdings of the Orbán-Tiborcz-Mészáros-Flier families is enormous, as the red area on the map inset below shows. The map was originally published in Népszabadság. This vast piece of real estate will most likely be worth a great deal more when the so-called Talentis program becomes a reality. This particular part of the country is designated to become Hungary’s Silicon Valley.

There are many people, not just members of the media, who are trying to uncover the secrets of Viktor Orbán. Ákos Hadházy of LMP has been diligently working on corruption cases that can be connected to European Union subsidies and the disappearance of billions originally intended for the betterment of the downtrodden Roma population. But Nárcisz the kuvasz aroused his interest in the most likely “fictitious contract” between Lőrinc Mészáros and the real estate company owned by Győző Orbán, father of the prime minister. Aerial photos show no sign of the agricultural equipment Mészáros allegedly stores at the estate for 15.5 million forints a month.

Meszaros foldjei

The other person with an insatiable appetite to learn the truth about corruption cases–in this case in District V, especially during Antal Rogán’s tenure as mayor–is Péter Juhász, co-chair of the opposition party Együtt. Within a few years about 800 valuable pieces of property were sold to loyal Fidesz supporters for a fraction of their real worth. Juhász has been working on this case for years without getting anywhere. The latest is that the CD that allegedly contained the financial information pertaining to these sales “got damaged” in the hands of the police and is now unreadable.

Juhász also became curious about the real owner of the former Habsburg estate in Alcsút and vowed to take steps toward an official investigation of Viktor Orbán’s finances. But he didn’t get very far with his project before he himself became the subject of a concerted attack, led by members of the news department of TV2, the commercial television channel recently acquired by Andy Vajna. Everybody knew that with the new ownership TV2 news would become a pro-government mouthpiece, but what followed shocked responsible members of the media.

Vivien Szalai, the former editor-in-chief of Story magazine and author of such masterpieces as “False pleasures: Confessions of a luxury prostitute” and “The most famous Hungarian madam: A real story” became news director at TV2. She gained notoriety as a result of a book she wrote about János Zuschlag, a young MSZP politician who embezzled about 40 million forints and who consequently received a stiff jail term. The book was full of wild accusations about his former colleagues in the party.

Kunfalvi

Nóra Kunfalvi

Several members of the team resigned right after Szalai’s appointment and others were immediately hired to replace them, including Nóra Kunfalvi (pictured here). Kunfalvi began her career at HírTV’s “Célpont” (Target), where reporters acted more like KGB interrogators than investigative journalists. After the Orbán-Simicska falling out, she left HírTV with all the Orbán loyalists and moved on to 888.hu, part of the so-called Habony media empire created after the government lost the support of Simicska-financed media outlets. You may recall that the editor-in-chief of 888.hu, Gábor G. Fodor, approved the publication of a highly controversial article about the wife and daughter of the socialist party chairman, József Tóbiás. It was from this rag that Kunfalvi moved over to TV2. By now she is called the “Petra László” of the Hungarian media. Petra László was the Hungarian camera woman who was photographed tripping a Syrian refugee.

Nóra Kunfalvi’s interview with Péter Juhász was an incredible example of unethical journalism. Kunfalvi’s task was to prove somehow that Péter Juhász lives beyond his means, that the rent on his apartment is more than half his income. She wanted to know where the rest of his money is coming from. The questions were posed in such a way that they already contained the accusations: she wondered whether his extra money derived from profits made from selling marijuana. A few years back Juhász was one of the people who argued for the legalization of marijuana, but as far we know he was never involved in selling the stuff.

The larger part of the interview, lasting about 14 minutes, was about the corruption of Fidesz politicians, but what eventually appeared on TV was about 20 seconds of the interview flanked by accusatory commentaries. The whole thing was a disgrace. The uncut interview and TV2’s coverage can be seen here. TV2 naturally sees nothing wrong with Kunfalvi’s line of questioning. According to the station, “the reporter only did her job when asking questions of a public figure.” Péter Juhász is not impressed and is suing Kunfalvi.

Meanwhile one reporter after another is leaving TV2’s news team and moving on to less risky and exposed programs. Several of them told Népszabadság that they don’t want to become Nóra Kunfalvis. Apparently since the arrival of “the blonde cyclone,” as the staff calls Vivien Szalai, about a third of the 30-member team has left TV2.

To keep pressure on the Fidesz critic, Vivien Szalai assigned another reporter the task of further discrediting Juhász, but it seems that he was not game. This morning he also resigned.

Naturally, the government parties also joined the fray. First, KDNP activists showed up at Juhász’s apartment building, holding up signs that read: “From what?” István Hollik, a KDNP member of parliament, held a press conference about Juhász’s “shady financial affairs.” Fidesz was not far behind. Fidesz’s official site demands to know how Juhász can afford a “luxury apartment” in an expensive district of Buda.

Finally, it turns out that Nóra Kunfalvi teaches an “investigative journalism” course at Corvinus. For years the course had been taught by the well-respected veteran journalist István Wisinger, recipient of all the highest prizes a journalist can get in Hungary. About a year ago he was told that unfortunately there is no money to continue the course. It turned out that Wisinger was lied to. He was sacked in order to make room for Nóra Kunfalvi, who even took over Wisinger’s description of the course and his syllabus, including his compulsory and suggested readings.

March 21, 2016
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Member

Peter Juhasz, whom I greatly admire, did a good job in the content of his replies. He was right to be outraged by the “when did you stop beating your wife?” questions with their false insinuations. Of course it would have been better if he had not been agitated (though his outrage was perfectly justified and understandable) because TV2 will obviously be doing a lot of creative cutting and splicing in the interview to make his agitation look suspicious. I think he should also have been more subtle in his responses because it can all easily be portrayed and perceived as the bullying of a soft-spoken female reporter (especially when the selected bits are cut-and-pasted skillfully). In a written transcript, shown in full, there would be no problem, but in a country where altogether too many men are bullies, Peter should be more careful not to appear that way, no matter how outrageous the questions and insinuations. (I know: easier said than done…). Glad he got the whole uncut version taped.

Ilonka
Guest

I believe that is part of their tactic- hire young women to make the party look less misogynist and out of touch. Honestly seems to be the sole reason to them to have women working with them.

webber
Guest

According to one report, Kunfalvi didn’t even bother to change the contact information on the syllabus she “borrowed” from Wisinger. So any student who consulted the syllabus for information about how to contact Kunfalvi would get Wisinger’s phone number and email address.

Ilonka
Guest

Do you have a link to the report?

webber
Guest

Fidesz has taken over Corvinus. The quality of education there is disintegrating. Orban’s daughter, teaching without a PhD. Kunfalvi, the stalinist-fideszist hack teaching “journalism” (to get an A on any text, the answer might be: do what the Party tells you to do). Those are just two of a full brigade of Fideszniks hired by the university. Doubtless the Rector, the deans, and many department chairs are Fideszniks. Corvinus should fall a lot in Hungarian rankings within a relatively short time.

Member

Just in: the government is ending Klik for good.
http://index.hu/belfold/2016/03/22/retvari_megszunik_a_klik/

Can’t wait to hear what the “Orbán always wins” crowd has to say about this!

Beáta
Guest

Klik will stay, only a name will change. The structure will remain. That’s a pretty good compromise, isn’t it? Ok, may there will be three new Kliks instead of one. But that’s all. There is no giving in to the toads.

Member

Proof? The Index contradicts what you’re saying.

webber
Guest

Either they are backing down, in which case they “lost” and are “losers” (their terms) – meaning Hungarian society is a winner – or they are not backing down, meaning Hungarian society is a loser.
Beata and other trolls’ clichéd responses makes it clear that Fidesz sees Hungarian society as the enemy.

kővári
Guest

shoopy: Nothing will change in substance. It was a media gimmick, but in reality Orban is not backing down. He long ago made up his mind and that’s that.

http://kettosmerce.tumblr.com/post/141502054932/itt-a-dokumentum-arr%C3%B3l-mi-v%C3%A1ltozik-a-klik-ben

Beáta
Guest

Who cares?

As Orban suspected (see Gabor Török’s interview in Magyar Nemzet) the immigration issue will be much more important.

See Brussels today.

Merkel will not win, it is always the Russians and Orban who have the last lough. Always, not the wussy Western Europeans.

And who is tough on terrorism and Muslims?

You are right. The answer is certainly not the lefties.

Sorry guys, Orban will smooth sail into reelection, big time.

Orban isn’t worried at all. He loves what he is seeing. Sure he is rich, but people are OK with that. A tough ruler is always rich and these days a tough ruler is what is needed not the migrant hugging liberals. Orban won already. He saw the future and he was right, again.

Observer
Guest

@ Beata & other trolls

Please guys, change the track or shuffle it a bit. It’s getting tedious this mantra to the félművelt felcsúti fél..y.

I wonder are the parrot/troll commando twits paid at all, or they only toil for a pat on the head.

webber
Guest

These trolls must be getting pay with instructions.
That’s another thing that will have to be investigated after Orban falls. How much money was spent on this sort of thing? And what was the source of the money? Def. illegal.

webber
Guest

Just a guess – Fidesz has party headquarters in towns all over the country. They also have a rather nice building for their youth wing, Fidelitas.
Beáta, are you sitting in a back room of one of those in Nyíregyháza? In Debrecen? Or in Újpest?

Bowen
Guest

Slightly off topic, but I’ve recently been plagued by constant ‘sponsored’ or ‘promoted’ posts on my Facebook and Twitter feeds for yet another news outlet called About Hungary. It appears on my social media accounts pretty much daily. Needless to say, it’s paid for by the Hungarian government, and is nothing but ‘news’ about the good work of Prime Minister Orban.

I only mention this, because it must cost a lot to run a campaign like this. Not to mention the other English-language sites like Hungary Today, Friends of Hungary, etc. etc. which exist only to remorselessly promote Fidesz.

Guest

Re: ‘the ‘news’ about the good work of Prime Minister Orban’

Another ‘sorry’ thing about fate of media in Magyarorszag today. The ‘news’ arguably exists in simply doing the bidding of the state rather than dynamically asking the tough questions of those who have the responsibilities of running a nation. This is a grievous situation towards getting accountability of the powerful. It would appear muck-racking setups and ratings are the ideal with the Magyar media moguls.

Hopefully this situation won’t get so bad that anybody in disagreement with government policies won’t have to be relegated to handing out leaflets on the metro and villamos to get their point across. If concentration of media continues the ‘opposition’ may have to look at leaflets as a new ad medium. It just may be the only ‘channel’ for them.

petofi
Guest

It’s to laugh: trolls like Beata will be left holding the bag when the big boys will have flown the coop.
The trolls haven’t got enough to set up in Provence…

wiktorr
Guest

Well, there may be a Russian connection after all. The Russians claim that they warned the Belgians (I guess so that they can have an alibi). The perpetrators may have been Belorussians. No wander that Orban was calm and satisfied, Putin told him to just wait as things were under control.

http://hvg.hu/vilag/20160322_Brusszeli_terror_Moszkvaban_muszlimma_lett_feheroroszokat_gyanusitanak

Member

OT? I found that an interesting writing from an unusual source: http://www.europeanpublicaffairs.eu/europes-troublemakers-similar-style-different-motives/

Guest

Not too much OT for those who can read German:

A very good report in the German SPIEGEL on the situation of doctors and nurses (and hospitals …) in Hungary and Eastern Europe generally:
http://www.spiegel.de/gesundheit/diagnose/mediziner-in-osteuropa-die-revolte-der-weisskittel-a-1076297.html
The writer Keno Verseck (sounds Hungarian to me …) often has brilliant articles on Hungary and its government in the Spiegel.

PS:
I wonder how people will react to the terrorist attacks in Brussels …

Bowen
Guest

Reaction? Very likely the same as Trump (“I would close up our borders … We are lax and we are foolish”) and UKIP (“This horrific act of terrorism shows that Schengen free movement and lax border controls are a threat to our security”), ignoring the probability that the Brussels terrorists were not migrants, let alone refugees.

Istvan
Guest
Well if Trump does become President Hungary faces problems as does the EU and NATO. Retired Lt General Joseph K. Kellogg Jr. was announced at at a Trump interview with the Washington Post yesterday as one of his strategic advisors for foreign policy. At the same time Mr Trump stated on CNN “there has to be at least a change in philosophy and there also has to be a change in the cut up, the money, the spread” of NATO’s budget. He added that he didn’t want the U.S. to “decrease its role, but certainly decrease it’s spending” in NATO. Gen. Kellogg and my own service in the US Army were parallel in time and in theater in many cases, he was a very bright officer who did much to bring the US Army into the computer age. He served 32 years whereas I served 21. The implications for Hungary of this declaration by Trump for its military budget are significant should there be a Trump Presidency, a real possibility in a one on one race with Clinton ( Clinton is only favored by about 9.8% which is not much ). Probably somewhere around a quadrupling of expenditures for Hungary,… Read more »
Guest

Re: NATO and the threats to Europe

If anything the latest jihadist attack arguably should bring keen analyses on the overall defense of Europe. Does it reside technically in NATO type defense or perhaps in much more beefed up local security in countries? Discussion has focused on the fact that Belgium apparently cannot cope with security threats. They apparently are undermanned. Perhaps we are seeing the results.

In any case no matter how hard Putin says he’s a terrorist fighter there’s nothing more lovelier to him than seeing Europe struggling to balance the deep concerns of conventional attack to terrorist ones. He is happy to see Europe get a full plate of all that. Keeps them hard at work and busy. And of course his ‘friend’ in Magyarorszag also might go with that. Each time people get blown up by terrorists it’s an argument to keep the pitchforks out and people’s attention on threatening ‘haboru’ and invasion from the borders.

Istvan
Guest

I agree, just watching the news from Hungary over the last few hours makes it clear that Fidesz and Orban benefit from the attacks in Brussels. I just saw film footage of TEK in combat gear with face masking in the Ferenciek tere.

To be honest I have no problem with any government taking preventative actions today, but going with what is called in military and police circles the “hard look” of combat uniforms and full automatic weapons at the ready just infuses more anxiety in civilians. If the TEK was going into a nest of terrorists and taking them out the hard look is of course needed, but walking about Ferenciek tere not really.

spectator
Guest

Anybody has some idea that what the armoured vehicles doing around the airport in Budapest?

What good would it do, if someone just blowing themselves up, and all the unlucky others right inside of the terminal?

Except, of course keeping the flying splinters away from the crew.
But seriously, anyone in the know?

Tyrker
Guest

That name does not sound Hungarian at all. Verseck was born in East Germany:
https://www.perlentaucher.de/autor/keno-verseck.html

Zsolti
Guest

Orban is happy, the operation worked. The court system is now under firmly Fidesz control.

Marton Gulyas, activist (former member of Krétakör) was convicted of “garázdaság” ffor sticking (gluing) bills on the walls of the Election Committee.

339. § (1) Aki olyan kihívóan közösségellenes, erőszakos magatartást tanúsít, amely alkalmas arra, hogy másokban megbotránkozást vagy riadalmat keltsen, ha súlyosabb bűncselekmény nem valósul meg, vétség miatt két évig terjedő szabadságvesztéssel büntetendő.

“Any person who displays a provokingly anti-social, violent conduct, which is capable of causing indignation or panic, unless such action qualifies as a more serious crime under the Criminal Code, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to two years of imprisonment.”

How on earth could sticking bills on the wall be regarded as violent and anti-social and how could it cause indignation or panic??

This is a clear case of miscarriage of justice as the judge would be failed at a criminal law exam. However, it does conform to the political expectations.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20160322_Gulyas_bunos_az_NVIs_plakatragasztasban

spectator
Guest

“Any person who displays a provokingly anti-social, violent conduct, which is capable of causing indignation or panic, unless such action qualifies as a more serious crime under the Criminal Code, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to two years of imprisonment.”

Now read it again, and then watch the Orbán speech of the 15th of march.
Well, if you can stomach the man and his style. Otherwise you may just read it.

In my opinion if anybody ever fully qualified for conviction based on just that paragraph is Viktor Orbán.

Any objection?

Observer
Guest

The last standing structures of democracy are being destroyed and the “fascist light” regime turns more heavy (handed); more of the “light” terror and violence are being applied.

Hayy
Guest

Spot the shabby Eastern European intellectual (straight from central casting).

http://www.ned.org/fellowships/current-fellows/

Guest

OT to a point…

“There is at least one point in the history of any company when you have to change dramatically to rise to the next level of performance. Miss that moment—and you start to decline’. Andy Grove

Grove, who has just died, was of many Magyars who made their mark here with their great contributions in pushing on the limits of technology.

There is perhaps a takeaway if we change ‘company’ to ‘country’ in his remark. Time will tell if Magyarorszag’s reorientation politically in the past few years signifies a good future or a real bad decline. Something tells me the jury will be out for awhile on this.

Guest

This Gróf András was really an example of what people can achieve – having worked with computers since 1964 (as a student). I fondly remember those fantastic times. I wrote something about him on pol.hu:

All computer people have profited from the technology his company developed: Intelligent Electronics aka Intel
And of course he changed his name after fleeing to the USA: Andy Grove.
Grove will always be remembered, first for his saying “Only the paranoid survive” and then for his generosity (from wiki):
In 2006 he made a 26,000,000 USD donation to City College of New York, the largest donation ever made to that school. The “Grove School of Engineering” was created from the donation.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Grove

bimbi
Guest
Recent news from Hungary, including today’s blog, is deeply depressing, if one wishes to see any sign of a positive thread in “government” of this sad nation. We have the prime minister, lying in parliament about his financial position (carefully crafted and shared with relatives and cronies). Not so long ago, he was lying about the Quaestor fraud – “I ordered the government funds to be withdrawn”. “Oops, no I didn’t.” Orban, the new-emperor-to-be builds his country estate on the Habsberg ruins. Vajna – him of the casino machines not connected to NAV – gets industrial-scale tax avoidance laid on for him. The police are clearly complicit in destroying or just “denying” evidence in the Rogan rent-to-buy scheme. Rogan, he is the guy who authorizes and approves the citizenship-for-sale scheme with the offshore bank accounts and on and on and on… “Government” here has been reduced to a massive scheme to rip-off the Hungarian state, i.e., the remainder of the 9 ½ million Hungarian people who are not direct Fidesz lackeys or business partners. As we see from today’s blog, anyone who dares to ask questions, probe and investigate is ripped by unrelenting government-guided propaganda attacks. It looks as if… Read more »
Guest

“Government” here has been reduced to a massive scheme to rip-off the Hungarian state..”

Can anyone come up with a realistic estimate of how much totally the Orban regime has stolen from the state to date, how much per person living in Hungary and an extrapolation to the election day in 2018?

Tappanch?

Istvan
Guest

János Hajdú reassured the Hungarian people that the Terrorelhárítási Központ, TEK is prepared for any Islamic terrorist attack on Hungary on tonight’s M 1 newscast. I feel so much better for my extended family after watching that, well not really.

Guest

If you’re in the mood for some gallows humour, just look here:
http://kepeslajoska.tumblr.com/
You can feel the frustration of the young people having to live in Hungary …
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spectator
Guest

Just love it!
According to the posters it’s from yesterday TV2 news. Not only the extremely unprofessional report deserves attention, – if it wasn’t enough – but the clear sign of the TV2 schizophrenia too!
Namely, tme and again they managed to cut in the live broadcast of their greatest adversary, RTL Klub! With logo and all, while their sound went on. Hilariously petty provincial!

http://youtu.be/3jnEQVzx_rI

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