Let’s stop pretending that Tucker Carlson is “only” a conservative, fearmongering, dishonest, white supremacist. He hates the America of today and he’s happy to pal around with authoritarian strongman Viktor Orbán to try to sell anti-democratic views to the rest of us.
The Daily Beast explains the significance of Carlson’s visit to Hungary that will result in little more than an infomercial for Orbán's authoritarian regime, including an interview that is almost certain to be flattering and a (no doubt handsomely-paid) gig at a far-right conference backed by the dictator there:
Carlson has, in the past, lauded Orbán and held him up as a champion of Christianity and so-called “western civilization.” These praises have served as glimpses of where the increasingly anti-democratic Republican Party might be interested in going, pairing incredibly well with a constant and troubling flirtation with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, but this on-location broadcast will undoubtedly serve both to introduce Orbán’s authoritarian project in Hungary to conservative American viewers and, if possible, entice them with promises of the results should they continue to accept, support, and fight for efforts to erode democracy and pluralism within the United States.
When Carlson mentions western civilization and a supposed “attack” on its institutions, what he is referencing is an aggressive ethno-nationalism that has made Orbán and his Fidez Party the undisputed power in Hungary. Orbán’s message is depressingly familiar. In appealing to frustrated Hungarians, he paints a portrait of a country under attack. On the ground, this is encompassed by the threat of immigration, or the welcoming of outsiders that will inevitably dilute the culture of Hungary.
Orbán was willing to spend money to cozy up to Carlson:
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán's Facebook page shows he met @TuckerCarlson today in Budapest.— Anna Massoglia (@annalecta) August 2, 2021
Coordinating an interview on Carlson's Fox News show was a key part of Hungary's 2019 foreign influence ops when Orban's govt paid a DC lobbying & comms firm $265,000 https://t.co/pD7aS7zMxI pic.twitter.com/yMmmZnV1Db
But Carlson might have embraced Orbán on his own dime, given that this is exactly the kind of government Tuckums seems to long for. More from The Daily Beast:
The message of the right, transmitted through Fox News, Breitbart, and a constellation of right-wing channels, accounts, and influencers, tells virtually the same story as the horror that Orbán has used to legitimize his crimes. There is importance in western civilization, they maintain, that must be protected at any and all costs, particularly from evil, criminal traitors determined to undermine it. They are in league with foreigners and constantly manipulating people of color. Behind the scenes lies a shadowy threat pulling the strings. They control the media. They control culture. And liberal democracy, with its freedoms, its espoused equality, with its acceptance of diverse identities and ideas, brings with it the contagion of the very populations and creeds that will dilute the country and undoubtedly destroy it.
I’m sure it doesn’t hurt Carlson’s white supremacist sensibilities that Orbán used “anti-Semitic imagery to demonize George Soros, a native of the country, while also pressuring universities associated with him to close,” Talking Points Memo reports. Orbán has also gone out of his way to clamp down on LGBT rights during his tenure.
I’ve repeatedly said that Carlson is waging war on America. He deliberately endangers journalists, our country's top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, urges viewers to harass Americans trying to protect their health by wearing face masks, called on viewers to have parents of face-mask-wearing children arrested, he openly supports vigilanteism, insurrectionists, tries to frighten viewers out of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, despite getting vaccinated himself – and, of course, he promotes white supremacy.
And let’s not forget that this borderline treason is bankrolled by the Murdochs. Lachlan Murdoch even calls it “brave.”
We’re in Budapest all this week for Tucker Carlson Tonight and a documentary for Tucker Carlson Originals. Don’t miss our first show here starting tonight at 8pm ET on #FoxNews pic.twitter.com/avZLoc0fD0— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) August 2, 2021