Looking at the Saturday sports pages of the largest, best staffed publications in the world, one would not have guessed that the largest sporting event of the year, the 2023 Athletic World Championships (WAC) in Budapest have just started. In most newspapers, hours after the opening event on Heroes Square, not even a mention, not a single word.
One would think that Hungarians could finally sigh a sigh of relief when global mass media outlets were to decide to pause the incessant stream of negative articles about their country, and have a pause from the unending line of media attacks. It looks like their wishes were granted when on Saturday, August 19, there was a sudden, unusual lull. Were it not on the opening day of the World Athletic Championships, one could have interpreted it as a ray of hope, or a kind gesture a day before the Hungarian national holiday on August 20.
Photo: MTI/Derencsényi István
Looking at the front-pages of the largest, best known international newspapers one was somewhat expectant with pride that finally journalists and editors across the globe will get a chance to present Hungary in a positive light. All that effort and finances that Hungarians have invested in hosting the WAC must have surely been noticed and appreciated by someone. It seems not. Not a peep.
It was somewhat disappointing to see that newspaper front pages have ignored such a major sporting event despite their own countries’ athletes taking part, and would have prioritized it with a variety of sometimes mind-numbing celebrity, tabloid or summer curio stories. However, the fact that there was no mention of the start of the WAC even within their sports sections, one could only categorize this attitude as beyond sloppiness, and outright suspicious.
Sports front pages in the world media.
That fact that the British press, for instance, deems it more important to recycle months-old tabloid stories about an ultra-woke former footballer turned BBC presenter ad nauseam, will surprise few. But the fact that U.S., Dutch, Spanish, German, Austrian and other papers have decided not-to-find space for the start of the World Championship in their Sports section puts their sense of public duty into question.
Photo: MTI/Czeglédi Zsolt
Even Germany’s Der Spiegel, that sometimes seems to have a full department dedicated to all things Hungarian, have only mentioned the WAC within an article about two female athletes. The French papers seem to have been an exception from the rule, with small articles mentioning the World Championships down the Sports section but with an element of vested interest, as the WAC are a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics, which is in fact the focus of the articles in Le Monde and Le Figaro.
Photo: MTI/Czeglédi Zsolt
When Spain’s Alvaro Martín has won the very first gold medal of the championships and the Spanish press have finally woken up to the fact that their compatriots are racing for the country’s glory in a world championship, one of the El Mundo newspaper’s readers have summed up the lack of reporting as so:
“What can be expected from a public television that primarily follows the instructions of the Palace of Moncloa (official residence of the President). RTVE (Spanish public broadcaster) works according to the instructions of the political commissioner of the Government of Mr. Sánchez. The president has communicated that he will go to Tenerife to witness the fire that is devouring the island, surely there will be plenty of camera operators to take all the shots that improve and benefit the image of the satrap of the Moncloa”.
We have not been able to browse through all larger publications, but in the few dozen that we did, a clear pattern emerges: there is no editorial demand for positive news about Hungary. In fact, news that do not fit into the European and U.S. liberal media’s carefully constructed image about Hungary seem to be actively suppressed.
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Featured Image: MTI/Czeglédi Zsolt