I read a lot of terrible journalism about Hungary. Sometimes it’s just bad reporting. Lazy journalists who couldn’t be bothered checking facts or consulting good sources. Other times, it’s an op-ed poorly disguised as a news story.
And then there’s the real trash. Some embittered hack spews pure vitriol, a text that is completely ignorant about Hungary and full of malice. And then the editors publish it.
The latest trash dump comes to us from MSNBC. In a short blog post entitled “CPAC Hungary is a brazen embrace of white nationalist authoritarianism,” blogger Ja’han Jones files one from the dumpster.
In eight short paragraphs, Jones calls Hungary and the Orbán Government “white nationalist,” “white supremacist,” “fascist-friendly” and “proto-fascist” not once, not twice, but a total of six times. He then claims that Hungary “bears only a slight resemblance to democracy,” and that our country is “one of the most repressive right-wing countries in the world.”
Clearly, this, uh, journalist has never set foot in Hungary and doesn’t know anything about his subject. But why should that stop him?
Firstly, “white nationalism” and “white supremacy,” thankfully, are not issues in Hungarian political discourse. Bringing these otherwise very dangerous, twisted ideologies into a conversation about Hungary makes a fool of the author.
Secondly, on Hungary’s “slight resemblance to democracy,” we consistently have higher voter turnout here than in many western democracies, have multiple parties seated in the National Assembly, and, unlike in some great democracies, Hungarian voters respect the outcome of our elections.
Really this rubbish isn’t worth the time, other than to call my readers’ attention to the fact that this kind of thing actually gets written. And it’s published by media organizations – in this case, MSNBC – that claim to be professional, respectable sources of news.
But forget election observers. I invite anyone, Mr. Jones included, to visit Hungary for themselves, learn a bit of our language, delve into our history, and speak to Hungarians not just in the capital but across the country. I guess what I’m trying to say is, before you jump to half-baked, recycled conclusions, why not try to better understand the target of your egregious insults.