UK media is reporting that US right-wing Fox TV host Tucker Carlson has spent the week hosting his show from Budapest, where he gave what was described as a “fawning interview” with Viktor Orbán, the increasingly authoritarian prime minister of Hungary. According to the Guardian report, in the interview, Carlson promoted Hungary under Orban as a model for the future of the US:
August 7, 2021 “In the last few nights in Budapest,” mused Tucker Carlson, US rightwing media star, “I’ve run into a number of Americans who have come here because they want to be around people who agree with them, who agree with you. Do you see Budapest as a kind of capital of this kind of thinking?”Sitting in a book-lined office, Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, agreed it was “one of the capitals” producing “very nice ideas”. He went on to praise Donald Trump as “a great friend of Hungary” and laud the former US president’s “America first” foreign policy. The “kind of thinking” that Carlson and Orbán were discussing in a fawning TV interview on Thursday was, in their words, about families, borders and the struggle of Christian democracy against leftist liberalism. But for critics of both men, it was nothing less than an authoritarian, ethno-nationalist blueprint for the United States itself. Carlson, the most watched host on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, spent all week hosting his show from Budapest and promoting Hungary as a model for America’s future. His target audience was the Trump base that turned a blind eye to his four-year war on institutions that culminated in a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol. Just as the US left has often pointed to Scandinavia as an example of social democracy delivering public benefits such as healthcare, it seems the far right now has its own lodestar in Europe – a democracy weakening incrementally but inexorably like a slow-boiling frog.“Tucker is using the massive platform that he has at his disposal, via Rupert Murdoch, to legitimise authoritarianism,” said Kurt Bardella, an adviser to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “It’s not speculation. The Republican party has made it very clear that their agenda is to institute an autocratic style of governance to the point where they are willing to throw out democracy when elections don’t go their way.”
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On Saturday, Carlson also spoke at the Hungarian at MCC Feszt, described by The Week as follows:
…a conference sponsored by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium, a think tank recently granted $1.7 billion (about 1 percent of Hungary’s GDP) by Prime Minister Viktor Orban in order to help foster the kind of nationalistic conservatism favored by his government. That includes kicking Central European University out of the country, banning the academic study of gender from colleges, allowing the ruling Fidesz Party to gobble up 90 percent of media in the country, and demonizing George Soros for cultural trends the prime minister’s supporters dislike.
The Hill report also noted that MCC Feszt was expected to include appearances by US right-wing figures such as Dennis Prager and Rod Dreher, a journalist said to be living in Hungary where has been ” blogging effusively for The American Conservative about the Orban government for months. ”
According to Open Secrets investigative researcher Anna Massoglia, Hungary paid a D. C. lobbying firm $265,000 in 2019, in part to arrange an interview on Carlson’s Fox News show.
For video of Carlson’s remarks at MCC Feszt, go here.