Ákos Gergely Balogh: Of mothers and daughters, and the villainy of anonymity

Earlier this week, the pro-Fidesz 888.hu news site stooped to a level perhaps never before seen in Hungarian politics (so we’re talking pretty low) and published a series of completely nude, pornographic images of the wife of József Tóbiás, the leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP). The photos date back to the nineties when Tímea Rába was a model and contestant in the Miss Hungary pageant. But the publication went even further: it referred to Tímea Rába, today a 46 year old mother of three, as a “masturbatory tool” and then published a photo of Ms. Rába and Mr. Tóbiás’s daughter, making references to the girl’s good looks in the same article. The 888.hu news site is edited by the worst-of-the-worst, when it comes to Fidesz, namely the frighteningly Machiavellian Gábor. G. Fodor.

The completely tasteless article sparked some reaction even on the right. Ákos Gergely Balogh, the editor-in-chief of the conservative Mandiner news site, wrote a strongly-worded editorial, which we’re translating for the readers of the Hungarian Free Press.


The leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party, József Tóbiás (middle) with his wife, Tímea Rába.

The leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party, József Tóbiás (middle) with his wife, Tímea Rába.

Here’s a rather particular article, which appeared on the 888.hu website.

“If we’re already talking about marriage, Tímea Rába, the wife of József Tóbiás, former beauty queen and masturbatory tool, delighted the stout socialists with these pictures”–writes the nameless author courageously. His bravery just makes the air vibrate around him with power.*

It is unbecoming to use this language when speaking about a mother of several children and of marriage in general. But to bring into all of this a 13 year old girl, the child’s beauty and her future, is quite simply contemptible.

“Most likely the only thing with which we will agree in terms of József Tóbiás is his daughter’s attractive looks, which–let’s admit–is unquestionable. And this is why we are worried. We can’t decide what would be worse: for Nina to follow in the political footsteps of her father, or take example from her mother’s pornographic past. We don’t wish either future for her.” These lines are then followed by a photo of father and daughter, followed by an internet poll on masturbation, focusing on her mother. Someone without a name and face is publishing photos and writing about three people, using their full names and faces.

And all of this is not followed by shame and regret on the part of the paper, but by a defence from the publication’s editor-in-chief, all under the banner of conservative journalism: “Everyone gets what he deserves. It values grandeur and looks down upon lowliness. And it calls a slut by its name.”

People often label us as conservative, or young conservative and they do so much more frequently than the number of times when we actually use this label for ourselves. For almost fifteen years, we prefer to call ourselves “civic underground,” if we absolutely must label ourselves. In general, I don’t like to engage in the endless “what is conservative?” terminological navel-gazing. But is far easier to provide a negative definition and example. What 888.hu did is almost certainly not conservative, nor does it qualify as journalism–not in its content or style and most certainly not in terms of its motives.

Ákos Gergely Balogh

(Translated by: Christopher Adam)


*888.hu once defined itself as “888.hu=Power,” and this is what Mr. Balogh refers to. The cult of power is very strong around people like Gábor G. Fodor.

**HFP decided not to provide any links to the article in question on the 888.hu website.

Ákos Gergely Balogh

Ákos Gergely Balogh


  1. It would be hard not to agree. As a matter of fact the actual piece in 888.hu was a lot worse than ÁBG’s reaction indicates. He could have been just that little bit more outraged if you ask me. The same goes for Fidesz MP and Deputy Faction Leader Gergely Gulyás who also “distanced himself” and “expressed his solidarity” with Mr. Tóbiás. In the meantime 888.hu remains generously funded by Fidesz from public money via advertising coming from state-owned businesses. Cutting those funds off never even entered the mind of Mr. Gulyás who is one of the up-and-coming young stars of Fidesz. One factual correction though: the photographs involved were not even remotely pornographic. They were simply nude pictures. It was the perverted mind of GFG and his cronies at 888.hu that turned them into “pornography”.

  2. Avatar Christopher Adam says:

    Excellent points, János! If Fidesz continues to fund publications like 888.hu and if they employ the services of G. Fodor Gábor, then the words of people like Gulyás Gergely amount to nothing more than window-dressing.

    • Avatar Charlie London says:

      Of course any combination of eights alludes to Adolph Hitler as in HH – Heil Hitler -(the eighth letter of the English alphabet) with the concomitant fascist connections. (However this will not resonate so well with Hungarians because ‘H’ is the twelfth letter – making it more obscure.)

      It has long been a not-so-discreet reference to hero Hitler by hard right fascist organisations, for example, Column 88.

      888.hu may claim innocence but behind the scenes they give the knowing smirk to each other.

      And that goes for Fidesz who support them – they know.

      They know.

      • Avatar Charlie London says:

        Someone is going to tell us that 888.hu was setup as an antidote for 444.hu – but the connection won’t have gone unnoticed.

        The BBC website mentions the code being devised by Austrians when Nazism was strictly banned and a means to allow the fascists to communicate.

        • Avatar Charlie London says:

          Another group calls themselves Combat 18

          First and eighth A.H.

          • Avatar Christopher Adam says:

            This all very interesting, Charlie. I initially also thought that 888.hu was a reference to the liberal 444.hu site. But in light of Gábor G. Fodor’s total lack of ethics, coupled with his experience in political communication and belief in expediency at any price, your explanation is plausible.

  3. I noticed that the discussion under the Omar Sayfo article was closed, but I wanted to respond to the fascist paper’s writer, because he wrote to me. I think maybe it is not totally off-topic to do it here, because this article is also about the right-wing, Nazi media in Hungary.

    Sayfo Omár!

    Your people, the collaborators, already control 90% of the Hungarian media. Why don’t you leave the 10% to the democrats??? Don’t give me lessons on this site, maybe just go back to the paper from hell where you get a nice pay each month from the crooks who are in power and who turned Hungary into a mafia state. Liberalism does not mean we have to tolerate extremist papers like the one you are with! The editor should also think about that, because readers will leave if fascists control this place too!!

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