The only threat to Hungarian democracy is Joe Biden
When Tucker Carlson embarked on a week-long publicity tour of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary, Fox News personality Glenn Greenwald touted the move as the kind of fearless reporting we should all admire. “Is it now considered immoral or something for journalists to travel to other countries to report what they see and hear there?” ” he request. There is no doubt that Carlson’s trip to Budapest would allow him to exploit his sources, hold the powerful to account and uncover corruption.
Instead, to the surprise of no one except perhaps Greenwald, Carlson’s visit took on an altogether more comfortable cast. Off-camera, Carlson had a toast with Orbán’s pals and praised his diet:
On camera, he gave such a flattering interview that it could hardly have turned out any differently if Orbán had written the questions himself. Carlson asserted that Orbán state is more pro-dissenting than the United States. “The opposition figures are not worrying in Hungary,” he said. “In which country are you most likely to lose your job for criticizing ruling class orthodoxy?
Of course, Carlson himself has a job in the United States, criticizing what he describes as “ruling class orthodoxy.” The idea that a left-wing equivalent of Fox News could exist in Hungary is a sad joke after Orbán consolidated control of the media, ceding ownership of most of the biggest newspapers and TV stations to a board of administration composed of its allies.
“Let’s say you’ve lived in a big city in America and decided to publicly attack Joe Biden’s policies on immigration or COVID or transgender athletes,” Carlson said. “If you kept talking like that, you would probably be silenced by Biden’s allies in Silicon Valley.”
The main political content on Facebook comes from Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino, who spoke out loud and clear about Joe Biden’s immigration policy and everything.
Carlson rejected Freedom House’s conclusion that Orbán’s Hungary is no longer considered a democracy, on the grounds that the organization receives funding from the US government. If he wanted more evidence, he could listen to the European Parliament, which has declared the Orbán regime a “systemic threat to the rule of law”.
Of course, Carlson is probably also wary of this source. The European Parliament, like the United States, is tainted by its affiliation with democratic governments. If Carlson wishes to rely on the authority of the authoritarians themselves – without any association with democratic governments – he could listen to Orbán’s infamous statement that “the era of liberal democracy is over.” Unfortunately, he did not find a place to mention this comment.
Instead, he used his interview to go deeper into the defense of the Orbán regime than Orbán himself. Carlson has repeatedly accused the Biden administration of undermining the Hungarian elections. “Are you worried that there is international interference in your election? he asked at one point. “When the President of the United States describes you as a totalitarian thug, which is a very serious thing to say about anyone – I wouldn’t – it suggests that why Biden’s State Department wouldn’t be working it not to prevent you from being reelected? He said to another. At another point, he teased, “Man, the efforts to overthrow him are intense and stealthy.”
This closely follows Orbán’s theme that infamous international forces are conspiring against his government. This demand justified his campaign to take control of civil society, harass members of the opposition, shut down a university and drape the country with anti-Semitic posters depicting George Soros as the cosmopolitan puppeteer behind all dissent. (Orbán: “We are fighting an enemy who is different from us. Not open, but hidden; not simple, but cunning; not honest, but low; not national, but international; does not believe in work but speculates with money ; does not have his own homeland but feels he owns the whole world. ”)
Carlson is no jerk. He is not blind to Orbán’s repressive methods. He favors them. When he presents Orbán as a model for the future of the American right, he points to a future in which the Republican Party can carry out the subversion of democracy that Donald Trump has just attempted.