Minister Overseeing the Office of the Prime Minister János Lázár (pictured left) and government spokesman Zoltán Kovács (right) held another weekly marathon press conference Thursday afternoon. The 2-hour and 40-minute event had a whole lot to do with investor and philanthropist George Soros.
Simultaneously, across town, US State Department undersecretary Sarah Sewall made an appearance at the Hungarian Journalists Association. Following Sewall’s speech, the Beacon asked the undersecretary whether it’s true what Orbán and Lázár have been saying about President Obama and Soros being in cahoots to import millions of Muslims into Europe.
Sewall’s response was pretty clear.
“As a representative of the government, I’m inclined to not honor such an inference. I think it’s a totally inappropriate inference,” she said.
But Fidesz can’t seem to get enough of George Soros
It is very clear, based on the Fidesz propaganda machine’s output as of late, that propagating the Obama-Soros conspiracy is something Hungary’s ruling party really needs right now.
The weekly Thursday marathon press conference is perfect for this. For hours every week, Lázár and Kovács bark the most absurd statements at their hostages, the press, in the hope that at least one of these ridiculous statements is covered by some of the outlets present in the audience.
In some cases, the government’s Soros-ization of the media landscape takes on a whole new meaning with the help of media-owning Fidesznik oligarchs, such as government film commissioner Andy Vajna. His TV2 television channel has a show called Tények (“Facts” in English), which recently ran a four-minute hit-piece on Soros accusing the billionaire of being a serial wife-beater.
Soros this, Soros that. Here a Soros, there a Soros. Everywhere a Soros, Soros
Lázár dropped another bombshell during Thursday’s marathon session. According to him, there are state security reports about Soros’ activities. And Lázár has them! Of course, he can’t share details about these reports because they’re secret. But they do exist and, according to Lázár, someone in Hungary’s state security apparatus is keeping an eye on Soros’ activities.
András Dezső, a journalist with Index.hu, asked Lázár whether there is any (secret) information showing that Soros (or any Hungarian organization tied to him) is engaged in any activity that is undermining national security.
Lázár danced around the subject but then said that the state’s security services are not conducting surveillance on Soros.
But then what kind of secret reports was he talking about?
Dezső was getting at something with that question. On what grounds could Hungary’s state security agencies be investigating Soros, a private citizen?
If the government really does believe that Soros and NGOs funded by his Open Society Foundations are undermining Hungary’s sovereignty, then using state security to surveil him and the NGOs for reasons of “national security” does not seem all that far-fetched.
As was so clearly demonstrated during the Norway Civil Fund fiasco of 2014, the Orbán government is more than adept when it comes to shamelessly employing every tool at the state’s disposal for purely political purposes.