Tucker Carlson had nothing good to say about President Joe Biden and nothing bad to say about Hungary’s autocratic leader, Viktor Orbán, during Carlson’s softball interview.
Joy Reid had a terrific summary last night of the kind of autocracy Carlson would love to import:
REID: [Orbán’s] rap sheet reads like a wish list for aspiring dictators. He's compromised the independence of the judiciary by creating his own court system. He's cracked down on the media, taking control of 90% of Hungary's news outlets so that they only put on his right-wing propaganda. And he's accused of spying on independent journalists who might report negatively about his government. He's tightened his grip over Hungary's electoral system, effectively rigging the game in his favor. He's pushed a school curriculum that puts a warped form of patriotism over critical thinking. In fact, the Hungarian state controls most of the academic content in that country. And no surprise, that curriculum is now whitewashing unflattering episodes from their history. And when it comes to immigration, Orbán is pushing a particularly insidious brand of ethno-nationalism. In blocking asylum seekers, he describes Middle Eastern refugees as, quote, Muslim invaders. And he's embraced the far-right concept of replacement theory, pushing ethnic purity over diversity.
And as Orbán said in 2018, "We do not want our own color, traditions, and national culture to be mixed with those of others." Oh, did I mention that he intends to stay in power until at least 2030? Under Victor Orbán, Hungary isn't just backsliding toward authoritarianism rule, it's already there.
Carlson has been loving on Hungary all week. From Media Matters:
Carlson, who previously touted Orbán’s leadership, said on Monday, “If you care about western civilization and democracy and families and the ferocious assault on all three of those things by leaders of our global institutions, you should know what is happening here, right now.” On Wednesday, he called Hungary a “powerful” example and defended it from “lies” that its government is authoritarian.
Last night, Carlson spent nearly 19 minutes interviewing Orbán painting Hungary as just the kind of country the U.S. should be . Some excerpts:
Carlson distorted Orbán’s tenure as a beacon of American values that has been unfairly tarnished by liberals
CARLSON: What does Viktor Orbán believe? Just a few years ago, his views would have seemed moderate and conventional. He thinks families are more important than banks. He believes countries need borders.
For saying these things out loud, Orbán has been vilified. Left-wing NGOs have denounced him as a fascist, a destroyer of democracy.
Carlson claims he’s just asking questions about Hungary
CARLSON: We've watched all of this from the United States and we've wondered if what we've heard could be true. So, this week, we came to Hungary to see for ourselves. We sat down with Orbán for a couple of long conversations including one this morning.
But Carlson’s ‘questions’ are all about painting the U.S. as dangerously unappreciative of Hungary
CARLSON: Even if you understand that the American news media lie, it is always bewildering to see the extent of their dishonesty. Nothing prepares you for it.
We've read many times how repressive Hungary is. Freedom House, an NGO in Washington that's funded almost exclusively by the U.S. government describes Hungary as much less free than South Africa with fewer civil liberties. That's not just wrong, it's insane. In fact, if you live in the United States, it is bitter to see the contrast between say Budapest and New York City.
Let's say you lived in a big American city and you decided to loudly and publicly attack Joe Biden's policies. His policies on immigration, or COVID, or transgender athletes. If you kept talking like that, you would likely be silenced by Joe Biden's allies in Silicon Valley. If you kept it up, you might very well have to hire armed bodyguards. That's common in the U.S., ask around.
But it is unknown in Hungary. Opposition figures here don't worry that they will be hurt for their opinions, neither by the way does the Prime Minister. Orbán regularly drives himself with no security. So who is freer? In what country are you more likely to lose your job for disagreeing with the ruling class's orthodoxy? The answer is pretty obvious, though. If you're an American, it is painful to admit it as we have discovered.
Carlson outsources the ‘answers’ about Hungary to Orbán
CARLSON: So 30 years later, Joe Biden, while running for president last year, on ABC News described you, suggested that you were -- and I'm quoting -- "a totalitarian thug.”
[After playing clip]
CARLSON: Is that bewildering for you to see the change and how do you respond to that characterization?
CARLSON: But it's a little strange, I don't think Joe Biden has ever referred to Xi Jinping, for example, who has murdered many of his political opponents famously, as a "totalitarian thug." Why would he single you -- and not just you by the way -- the Polish government as well?
Carlson disses the U.S. to Orbán
CARLSON: It is interesting, as an American, to see this. So, the American media, the Biden administration's State Department is opposed to you because they say that you're a totalitarian thug. Your opponents are a coalition of former communists and anti-Semites.
Is it strange to see the American left rooting for a coalition that includes anti-Semites?
CARLSON: I've noticed in the last few nights in Budapest, I've run into a number of Americans who have come here because they want to be around people who agree with them, who agree with you. Do you see Budapest as a kind of capital of this kind of thinking?
CARLSON: When the President of the United States describes you as a totalitarian thug, it's a very serious thing to say about somebody, I would note. I mean, that suggests that, you know, why wouldn't the Biden State Department work to prevent you from being re-elected?
Carlson fear mongered the U.S. will collapse if we don’t become more like Hungary
CARLSON: No wonder they didn't want to hear what [Orbán] says. You don't have to watch your country collapse. You don't have to have leaders who hate the population or divide their own people against each other, who make the country worse, who open the borders, who increase crime, who encourage people to live on the sidewalk, and do drugs.
If there's any lesson of talking to Viktor Orbán, maybe it's that.
In case anything Carlson said is too subtle for you, FoxNews.com titled the interview, “Hungarian prime minister hits back at Biden calling him a 'thug.'”
You can watch the Murdoch-bankrolled sales job for autocracy and assault on democracy below, from the August 5, 2021 Tucker Carlson Tonight. Underneath is a tad of what Carlson told Hungarians.
But I think Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch are doing it for profit.
Not sure which is worse.