Humor and satire, of course, do have a place in politics, but there are limits. One such red line, for example, should be the spreading of false, unfair and imbalanced information – not to mention maliciousness – about the democratically elected leaders of other EU Member States.
Following their memorable comparison of Prime Minister Orbán to the fictional, cannibal, serial killer Hannibal Lecter in May, however, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that German public broadcaster ZDF has managed, little more than six months later, to cross the line of decency again.
On last Friday’s episode of Heute Show, funnyman Oliver Welke and his team went out of their way to denigrate Hungary and PM Orbán, along with Poland and Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki, particularly by calling the Hungarian prime minister an “idiot,” proposing to set up an EU “without the stupid Hungarians and Poles,” and blaming Hungary and Poland for vetoing the EU’s budgetary legislation. Yes, all of this on German state television.
They’ve become completely indoctrinated, arrogantly and malevolently disseminating a condescending caricature of the Hungarian prime minister.
Here’s something about that veto you won’t learn from Oliver Welke:
According to a compromise reached at a European Council summit in July, EU heads of state and government agreed to avoid any reference to tying EU monies to rule of law conditions in the legislation related to the upcoming 2021-2027 budgetary cycle. Over the last few weeks, however, EU leaders have ignored the deal and proposed to effectively tie funding from the common pool to an ambiguous set of “rule of law” criteria.
Therefore, last Monday, the permanent representatives of Hungary and Poland to the EU announced that, in the interest of their countries, they will exercise a political veto over the provisions in the EU’s upcoming 2021-2027 budget and the Next Generation coronavirus emergency fund.
You won’t find these details in ZDF’s coverage of Hungary because it does not support the story they are so invested in telling: A story of Hungary and Poland as parasites to the countries of the rich, liberal and pro-migration West, and the central European leaders as the “monsters” threatening the future of Europe.
I recall another time when Germans considered themselves superior and looked down on the rest of us. That didn’t work out so well.