Fox News host Tucker Carlson spent last week broadcasting his nightly show from the nation of Hungary, where he interviewed and lavishly complimented Hungarian strongman/prime minister Viktor Orbán, whom many consider to be a brutal dictator with fascist tendencies.
Publicizing a man like Orbán in a positive light and trying to make him a hero in the United States, Hannah Gais of the Southern Poverty Law Center noted in an op-ed she wrote for MSNBC, is incredibly dangerous:
“Night after night, he’s promoted rhetoric that was once on the fringes, or at least should be on the fringes, to millions of viewers. Tucker has already carried water for Orbán’s anti-immigration policies and his attacks on philanthropist George Soros — now he’s further whitewashing this authoritarian government for an American audience.”
Carlson, of course, says Orbán isn’t as bad as some want to make him out to be. He even told his viewers that the Hungarian government isn’t nearly as repressive and dangerous as American media is making them out to be:
“Opposition figures here don’t worry they’ll be hurt for their opinions. Neither, by the way, does the prime minister. Orban regularly drives by himself with no security. So who’s freer? In what country are you more likely to lose your job for disagreeing with ruling class orthodoxy? The answer’s pretty obvious, though if you’re an American, it’s painful to admit it, as we’ve discovered.”
But, irony of ironies, when Carlson asked Orbán about Hungary and its ties to China, the Hungarian PM managed to evade the question. And when it was later broadcast in Hungary, Hungarian censors cut the mention of China completely.
That’s pretty darn repressive, isn’t it? And it didn’t take long before Carlson was deluged with reminders on social media that Hungary and Orbán aren’t exactly fans of the First Amendment:
Hungarian govt sent out a transcript to reporters of @TuckerCarlson’s interview with PM Orban. The transcript with “anti-communist” Orban does not include any mention of China or Xi Jinping. 🤷♂️ https://t.co/2XjkE8pGxy
— Benjamin Novak (@b_novak) August 6, 2021
So Tucker got censored by Orban for criticizing China? Trouble in illiberal autocratic paradise? https://t.co/3VZ8VeB9hy
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) August 9, 2021
I’m sorry but this is the best thing out of Tucker’s fun with fascism tour pic.twitter.com/0quBXlsVuL
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) August 9, 2021
The gun laws and the fact that Hungary censored Tucker on China should be shouted from the rooftops. Those are the two things most likely to get run-o’-the-mill MAGAs to turn on Tucker’s embrace of Orban.
— Two Seasons Partial Landscaping (@2tireddidntread) August 9, 2021
Chinese communism is what Orban aspires to, in fact, not American democracy, which he openly scorns. Seems Tucker misunderstood a few things while he was in Budapest. What a surprise.
— Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) August 7, 2021
— Dave Keating (@DaveKeating) August 7, 2021
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Tuck got played by Orbán. Right-wingers always get played by authoritarians. If you doubt that, consider the case of Donald Trump and the GOP.
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