A private company sacks someone.
But this is Hungary, therefore it must be Orbán’s fault.
Every time I open a newspaper, I come across seething contempt and hatred being directed at the Prime Minister of Hungary.
Now, I happened to stumble upon a story regarding Hungary. Obviously, I’m inured to reading what amounts to slander about every last one of us, but this article still managed to get under my skin. I’ll tell you why: because this was an article published in The Daily Telegraph, ostensibly a conservative newspaper.
Accustomed as we all are to reading lies about Hungary printed in the liberal-left section of the Western world, I thought it was going a bit far for The Telegraph to start following suit.
The article in The Telegraph was written by two people. Based on the names of these two, we can well assume that one is British, the other Hungarian. Fine, obviously a Hungarian is far better-equipped to understand the story as it is reported in Hungarian.
The article concerns the closing down of a private business. A decision was taken, by the management of the business concerned, that they could no longer work with one of the most senior employees. This employee, according to the company’s management had been undermining the management for some time now, and had been revealing their business secrets. The company also pointed out that had this happened in Germany, always presented as an example we should all aim to be, the man concerned would be looking at jail time.
OK, so…a private affair. A company chooses to fire an employee. Surely this isn’t the first time this has happened.
Ah, but the company in question was an “independent” media news site. And, of course, the adjective “independent” is, these days, the sole possession of the liberal left. In Hungary, if someone describes something as “independent”, we all know what they really mean.
So, the senior employee in question was the editor of the news site. He was sacked for the reasons that the company gave. But that doesn’t matter.
When he was sacked, most of the journalists who worked there resigned. At least temporarily.
So, private affair of a private company. A journalist loses his job. When was the last time that became an attempt to besmirch a government?
Well, that’s what it quickly turned into. Not as a natural progression, of course. That would be illogical. Rather this instance of someone being fired from their job was seized upon by the perennially immature Hungarian opposition, and blown up out of all proportion.
Fekete-Győr András, the leader of the liberal opposition party Momentum, a man who regularly exhorts Hungarians living beyond the borders to vote for Romanian local government candidates rather than for Hungarian ones. Nice one, András! Support your own, buy Hungarian, etc, etc.
Anyway, Fekete-Győr was among the demonstrators as they took to the streets of Budapest to claim, once again, that non-government journalism was being starved to death in Hungary.
It’s an old one, but apparently still good one. It must be – they trot this lie out all the time, and it’s apparently still not getting old. The West love to hear how the poor Hungarian media which is opposed to the “foul dictator” Orbán, has to fight the forces of darkness in order to get their stories out of the country. I think this is some sort of romanticised idea which developed out of the cold war and a surfeit of spy films.
Anyway, it’s not true. Have a quick look at this pie chart, and you’ll see, that even if stars of stage and screen regularly pop up to deliver weepy laments of the lack of opposition media in Hungary, it’s still not true. If anyone's lacking, it's not the left-liberal media, it's the conservative-national side. 46 to 23? That hardly fits the continual accusation of them being outnumbered, does it? And by the way, Index, the fallen media outlet for which they're all weeping? It's still operational.
But what does the truth matter, eh? A protest for media freedom sounds sexy, doesn’t it? Yes, and sex sells, we all know that. But, returning to the article, we see that there is reference to
The hollowing out of independent media inside Hungary…
Oh, for God’s sake, are you really trying to say what it looks like you’re trying to say? So, and correct me if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick, and all, but it seems as if you’re now stating that it doesn’t matter how many media platforms are ostensibly anti-government, because somehow, the government have managed to reduce the worth of the independent media by hollowing it out. Weird. So, what you’re suggesting is that all that remains is a shell of what once was a proud bastion of anti-Orbánism. A once proud bulwark crumbles. Oh dear, diddums.
Honestly, I’ve got half a mind to phone The Telegraph and ask if anyone read this piece of left-wing crap before it was published. It’s one thing to have to deal with the deluge of insane shite that is thrown at us every day by the liberal left journalists in the West, but to now have to put up with much of the same from those who actually profess to be in the same political camp as us, is surely too much to bear.
The piece goes on to reveal with language which again suggests a return to the cold war, that The Sunday Telegraph, which of course, used to be conservative, has “uncovered” that there is “…a push to spread Mr Orbán’s message abroad…”
And? And what? Is this really as nefarious and sinister as you’re making it out to be?
The article continues, stating that:
An investigation found a slew of English language websites promoting the message and illiberal philosophy of Mr Orbán, raising fears that Hungary is following in the “disinformation” footsteps of authoritarian governments.
Oh, for the love of God. An investigation which found a “slew” of English language websites promoting what the Hungarian government believes? Get off your high horse. What, everyone else is allowed to get their point across, but not us? Did you not notice that we are forever coming in for a kicking in the international media? Do you not think that the Hungarian government might feel entitled to try and set the record straight, to try and put their point across without having someone continually trying to slam the door in their faces? Why wouldn’t the Hungarians be allowed to do such a thing?
Oh, of course: because it “raises fears” about “disinformation” and following in the footsteps of “authoritarian governments.”
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
So, if we say nothing, then we can expect, as experience tells us, that we will be denounced in the press, at home and abroad. We will be castigated for doing the same things that everyone else is doing, but we shouldn’t allow that to make us upset. Is that the message that you’d like us to hear?
Or, if we do actually take to the airwaves and try to set the record straight, try to explain that you’ve got the wrong end of the stick, try to explain that we’re not murderous bastards intent on the destruction of the galaxy, then what can we expect?
Yes, that’s right, we can expect that all sides of the political spectrum will combine forces and beat us over the head with whatever is nearest to hand for daring to try and point out that there are a lot of people out there, eagerly listening to lies spread by Hungarians who want to see themselves in power.
Here, in a country where the majority of the media is resolutely anti-government and anti-Orbán, the article in The Telegraph has the audacity to report that, just due to the fact that Remix News now even exists:
Their presence has prompted allegations that Hungary is following in the footsteps of autocratic regimes such as Russia, Iran and China by using bogus news websites to disseminate pro-government stories.
Good God. It’s one thing that some deranged lunatic saw fit to allege such a thing, but it’s another thing entirely for The Telegraph to report it as though it’s worthy of consideration.
Think about that allegation. That accusation could be made regarding plenty of governments, couldn’t it? I mean, it’s not something that can be applied exclusively to Hungary, is it?
When he was Prime Minister, Gyurcsány Ferenc (he who organised and presided over the worst state-organised violence against the populace since the Soviets in 1956) once took out a full-page advert’ in The Times, I believe. In it, he stated a whole lot of nonsense about himself, highlighting that he and his wife weren’t accompanied by bodyguards when they went to the cinema and other such fairy tales. He also stated that when he went jogging, he went alone. Well, all I can say to that is that I can personally attest to the fact that he’s lying. He ran, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied, but always followed by two or three vehicles, full of…well, they weren’t boy scouts, that’s for sure.
Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that nobody threw up their arms and tore their hair out in despair when Gyurcsány got his party to cough up for his propaganda. Gyurcsány claimed that he was a socialist, that was his shield. A shield that guaranteed his protection by the media. He was one of them, he could do no wrong. Now, of course, we have long been told, repeatedly that Orbán is responsible for us missing the bus, stepping in puddles, and all manner of other atrocities. We don’t believe it, but that doesn’t seem to matter much.
However, once again what the journalists appear to be doing, is using a tool we’ve long come to recognise.
That tool, of course, is the elastic yardstick.
But, as I said, we recognise it for what it is, and we utterly reject it. We utterly reject double standards. We utterly reject any legitimacy that you try to attach to the elastic yardstick you so enthusiastically use against us.