Far-right government consultant defends Tusnádfürdő speech on public TV

Hungary’s M1, the main public television channel, interviewed economist and Orbán government consultant Csaba Lentner, airing his views on why journalists in the West reacted so critically and fiercely to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s infamous ‘illiberal’ speech in Tusnádfürdő, Romania, last weekend. What the state broadcaster (which is hardly known for its fair and balanced reporting, even though they are creating programming on the dime of Hungarian taxpayers) neglected to mention, is that Mr. Lentner was a former Member of Parliament between 1998 and 2002, representing the far-right Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIÉP).

Public broadcaster M1 is known for its blatantly one-sided, pro-government reporting.

Public broadcaster M1 is known for its blatantly one-sided, pro-government reporting.

Mr. Lentner, along with pro-government pollster Ágoston Sámuel Mráz, expressed on M1’s evening news that western media outlets and journalists (including Newsweek, The Washington Post and the New York Times) were critical of Mr. Orbán’s speech because they were under the influence of the “financial interests”  that opposed the government’s pre-election reduction in utility bills, as well as Fidesz’s more recent special taxes on banks and on the country’s most popular independent television station, RTL Klub. “The New York Times article is an implicit attack,” asserted Mr. Lentner, who then went on to argue (rather bizarrely) that he thought it may even contravene international law that journalists from the United States were putting pressure on the European Union to finally take action against Hungary’s Orbán regime. It is worth noting that Mr. Lenter is now a department chair at Budapest’s Public Service University, which was established three years ago by the Orbán government.

Mr. Mráz, associated with polling firm Nézőpont–which is widely known for receiving significant government contracts each year– explained to the journalists of M1 that Mr. Orbán’s decision to impose punitive special taxes on banks and on the German-owned RTL Klub television station, as well as the government’s decision to force utility companies to lower their rates, hurt the interests of a “special interest group.”

The New York Times article in question has called upon the European Union, which is once again unable to act effectively and decisively, to invoke Article 7, which would temporarily deprive Hungary of its vote on the European Council and would freeze the 21 billion euros in cohesion funds currently earmarked for Hungary.

One Comment

  1. “………. western media outlets and journalists (including Newsweek, The Washington Post and the New York Times) were critical of Mr. Orbán’s speech because they were under the influence of the “financial interests”………….”
    .
    Now that was rich. Who is under the influence of financial interest????? Not Orban????

    Money talks. It’s been like that since Orban became a player as a young bulldog in the game. But whose money is that and who is trying to harvest?
    Sure there was and has always been a hidden fight for control that resulted in a kind of competition between Orban and his local money suppliers.

    The man, Orban, who otherwise deadly bored of being a PM and controlling Hungary instead of sitting in the velvet presidential chair of the EU did his best to repress and subordinate the financial and economic empire to his megalomaniac sick will. In his third term, he reorganized the ministries, haunted down his friends and threw as many of them as he could out of the airship, he’s got the TEK now with its clandestine special squad guarding his life and fortune he robbed the country for, but this third term clearly shows that the political empire has been subsidized.
    It is not only he has to finance his costly private army that has been keeping his residence and the whole Cinege street closed for almost one year but he must protect and secure his government from any kind of social influence from the civilian middle class while has to bow to the financial empire for good.

    What to do? Introducing fascism is a best thing to keep the citizens away from practicing their rights, and why on earth would anybody raise their voice against that, when a silent and obedient Hungary would be more beneficial even for the EU. Or they do? No problem. Then there he goes, creeping ahead slowly. A kind of brand new mutant fascism could be the most acceptable for everybody until it works but it might need some testing. Let’s start with an illiberal speech. Wait until the press, the opposition, and the people get bored of it, as it always happened, and then he will take the next step. Full blown dictatorship and fascism. He will get the money; the financial empire easily reshuffles the deck.

    In the meantime we can discuss Mr. Lentner’s and Ágoston Sámuel Mráz’s, and the whole Oban clan and oligarch’s financial interest.

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