Right-wing US media applaud Hungarian Orban as role model
Viktor Orbán has been re-elected Hungarian Prime Minister, a victory for the far-right global movement. Now the oldest leader in the European Union, he has been prime minister since 2010.
Orbán’s rule in Hungary, a member of both the EU and NATO, has drawn international contempt for his hostility towards the LGBT community (Reuters, 12/13/21), dismantling of the freedom of the press (Policy, 07/05/21) and the criminalization of citizens helping immigrants (BBC, 12/21/21). the Jewish Telegraph Agency (04/04/22) noted that in addition to urging the “international left”, Orbán, upon his re-election, turned his anger on “George Soros, the Hungarian-born American liberal billionaire and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky” – pointing Jewish enemies in a way that has heightened concerns that his regime is anti-Semitic (Policy, 05/13/19; Deutsche Welle, 12/17/20).
In fact, the desperation of Hungarian Jews was felt in the election, as the main opposition coalition to Orbán included an even more right-wing party than Orbán’s Fidesz, Jobbik, considered by many to be neo-Nazi. (Jewish Telegraph Agency, 04/01/22). Hungarian journalists believe that an emboldened Orbán will mean that press freedom in the country is set to receive further blows in the near future (Committee to Protect Journalists, 04/05/22).
In the right-wing American press, however, Orbán’s re-election is presented as a victory against secularism and enlightenment.
“An example for the Western world”
the the wall street journal (04/04/22) gave cautious support for Orbán’s victory, boasting that “his conservative views on sexual ethics are perhaps closer to the European mainstream than his critics elsewhere in the European Union would like to admit”. . While admitting that Hungary’s proximity to Russia was “cringe-worthy”, the Log said that “the EU and NATO will have to compromise with Mr. Orbán’s government, however unpleasant that may be”.
Tucker Carlson of FoxNewswho was a notorious promoter of Orbán and his far-right politics (FAIR.org03/08/21), “highlighted the similarities between the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the Sunday re-election of President Orbán in Hungary”, Foxthe website of (04/05/22) reported. Carlson interviewed Dutch right-wing commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek, who said: “Orbán won, but [the left will] just step up the hate campaign, because they are terrified that this is setting an example for the rest of the western world. The left, she said, fears a path where “we can reject globalism and a country can embrace national values.”
newsmax (04/04/22) downplayed warm relations between Budapest and Moscow, portraying Orbán as neutral during the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Hungary “welcomed refugees, but did not offer to help Ukraine’s military resistance “. The far-right outlet cited an “economic growth rate at 7.1% in 2021 and unemployment at around 3%” and a “pro-family policy” as explanations for Orbán’s success. (The United States recorded 5.7% growth in 2021 and unemployment is now 3.6%, but it is unlikely that newsmax would encourage readers to draw conclusions about Joe Biden’s political fortunes.)
“Restoring Christian Cultures”
The right-wing press in the United States has been encouraging Orbán for some time. the New York Post (02/10/19) mocked criticism of Hungary’s restrictions on press freedom and academic freedom, saying that Hungary’s leaders “are committed to promoting the economic well-being of their people, reversing demographic decline and to restore Christian cultures badly damaged by a century of war and totalitarianism”. Orban, the To post (01/03/22) noted, had the enthusiastic support of former President Donald Trump. As war ravaged Ukraine, To post (03/13/22) saw Hungary as the true victim of the hour, noting that “the EU is trying to force Hungary to overturn laws passed by its parliament that prohibit the indoctrination of children in the intricacies of gender fluidity.”
the National exam (04/05/22), perhaps the most established publication on the American right, justified Orbán’s victory in part because the opposition was worse, but it did not name Jobbik, the neo-Nazi party, as the problem. . Rather, the problem was that the opposition was “linked to Ferenc Gyurcsány, a former Communist Party apparatchik who turned into Hungary’s socialist prime minister from 2004 to 2009”.
In defending Orbán, the Federalist (08/09/21) said he “isn’t even right-wing in American parlance” because he’s more of a “statist Christian nationalist who uses state power to impose (or roll back, depending on the side of the spectrum where you are) a certain set of values.” (The Federalist it is to imagine a world in which the American right does not seek to impose its values through the power of the state.)
“Desire and inspiration”
The UK Conservative website A herd (04/04/22) portrayed Hungary as something of a Shangri-La for Western conservatives, an illiberal regime when it comes to gay and immigrant rights that doesn’t have to deal with the nuisances of opposition media and political groups. reflection. The right in the United States and Britain, he reported, sees today’s Hungary as “both an object of envy and inspiration”. It is therefore not surprising that the annual conference of conservative political action takes place this year in Budapest (Reuters, 04/05/22).
New Yorker commentator Masha Gessen (03/02/21) has been one of the most prominent observers warning that Orbán is seen as a role model by the Trumpist right. The outpouring of celebrations from the American right-wing press over Orbán’s victory is indicative of the importance of his disruption of the European political order as a model for a cultural counter-revolution in the United States.