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“Propaganda” Or “Self-Defence”? – Hungarian Newspapers Divided Over Government’s “National Consultation On The Soros-Plan”

Tamás Székely 2017.10.10.

Hungarian pundits have express sharply contrasting views on the Orbán government’s latest ‘national consultation’ on immigration and the alleged plans of US financier George Soros. One side sees it as a propaganda project based on lies, while the other considers the campaign an expression of self-defence against pressure from global elites. Hungarian press review by

In left-wing Népszava, György Sebes thinks that there is no ‘Soros plan’. What exists, he writes, is an ‘Orbán plan’ to demonize imaginary enemies so that the Prime Minister can pose as a defender of the nation. The left-wing columnist writes that the Open Society Foundations (established by George Soros) as well as the European Commission have denied the existence of any ‘Soros plan’. Sebes believes that the national consultation is nothing other than bare-faced propaganda.

Writing in conservative Magyar Nemzet, Áron Kovács also accuses the government of propaganda and fear-mongering. The conservative commentator argues that the government took George Soros’ statements out of context and added outright falsifications in order to incite fear in Hungarian voters. Kovács concedes however, albeit with deep disappointment, that many Hungarian voters agree with the government. He believes ‘they buy government propaganda’ as ‘they have no access to independent reporting’.

In pro-government Magyar Idők, Tamás Fricz claims that what he calls rich global elites want to force their will on democratic nation states. The pro-government analyst claims that as global inequality grows, the ‘superclass’ of wealthy ‘dynasties’ are gaining increasing‘informal power’. Fricz sees George Soros as part of that global elite. He goes on to suggest that Mr Soros wants to use his power ‘to weaken nation states by swamping Europe with migrants’. Fricz recalls that George Soros has indeed criticized border fences, and could outline his ideas in the European Parliament – which, in Fricz’s opinion, makes it clear that there is indeed a Soros plan at work within the European Union.

Right-wing Magyar Hírlap’s Imre Boros describes George Soros as the sponsor of the ‘fifth column’ of a ‘secret global network’. The pro-government economist believes that by openly supporting NGOs, George Soros has revealed the existence of these secret international powers which have agents in all important international organizations, including the IMF, WHO, UN and EU as well as national governments. The main aim of the ‘secret fifth column’ is to weaken nation states, Boros concludes.

In a joint interview with conservative weekly Heti Válasz, Sámuel Ágoston Mráz and Gábor Török agree that the national consultation is part of the government’s mobilization strategy. Mráz, a leading pro-government analyst, points out that the campaign against the ‘Soros plan’ helps the government keep migration on the agenda and also keeps their voting base mobilized until the 2018 Parliamentary election. Gábor Török acknowledges that the national consultation is a successful campaign tool, but in a reference to the Őcsény incident, he fears that it may incite violent hatred. Török underscores that uncontrolled migration is a real issue and agrees that the government was right to erect a fence, but in his view, the anti-immigration rhetoric serves propaganda purposes only.