On 5 September 2017 Hungarian pro-Fidesz blog 888.hu published an article entitled “The List: Introducing Soros’ foreign propagandists.”
The article garnered both domestic and international media attention for attempting to name-and-shame journalists it alleges are in the employ of American billionaire philanthropist George Soros, including Budapest Beacon contributor Lili Bayer.
888.hu is published by Modern Média Group Zrt., a company owned by Árpád Habony, an informal advisor to the prime minister and business partner of the late Arthur J. Finkelstein. In 2015, Habony set about creating a pro-Fidesz media empire to fill the void left by former Fidesz oligarch Lajos Simicska following the infamous “G-Day”.
The site’s editor in chief is Gábor G. Fodor, deputy chairman of Századvég Foundation’s board of trustees. Századvég is a think-tank and consultancy that has been embroiled in numerous scandals involving large government orders since 2010.
The article is indicative of the extent to which the pro-government press seems willing to carry out the political orders of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, even to the point of attacking journalists personally.
Speaking at the annual Fidesz Tusványos jamboree in Romania in July, the prime minister made it clear that Fidesz will be training its crosshairs on independent media and reporters.
“We must stand our ground against the Soros mafia network and bureaucrats in Brussels, and will have to go to battle against the media they operate in the coming months,” Orbán said.
Since the 2014 national election, Fidesz has used its massive media empire to run tabloid-like character assassination pieces on opposition politicians, members of civil society, independent media organizations and anyone critical of the ruling party.
Naturally, 888.hu‘s article was picked up by Origo, a once highly-regarded news website that has since been acquired by a company owned by the son of National Bank of Hungary governor György Matolcsy.
On Monday, 888.hu published another article attacking a journalist — this time Gergely Brückner of index.hu. Brückner is among Hungary’s leading business/economics journalists. Before joining index.hu earlier this year, Brückner worked for Figyelő, a business/economics/politics weekly popular among Hungary’s business community. The struggling weekly was purchased at the end of 2016 by Terror House executive director and pro-Fidesz historian Mária Schmidt.
Brückner was one of several journalists who left Figyelő shortly thereafter. When Schmidt took over, she installed Tamás Lánczi of Századvég as its editor in chief. Since then, the publication has become a pillar of Fidesz propaganda and its readership has also declined.
Behold the Fidesz propaganda machine in action:
The List: Introducing Soros’ foreign propagandists
Journalists reporting on Hungary in the international media represent the interests of Soros and certain other principals under the veil of [media] professionalism. The self-proclaimed independent, objective, measured, and moderate international media is biased, stigmatizing, prejudicial, and propagandistic.
International oligarch George Soros not only finances the domestic liberal intellectuals, which include likes of Átlátszó, Kettős Mérce, Együtt, and Péter Krekó. The international media’s accredited reporters in Budapest also see Mr. Georgie as their sugar daddy.
The international media, with a few exceptions, generally write bad things of the government because a small minority with great media influence does everything to tarnish the reputation of Hungary in front of the world — prestige that has been built over hundreds of years by patriots.
According to those familiar with the situation of the international press, foreign journalists work with zeal when a right-wing nationalist government is in power in Hungary. These same journalists turn a blind eye to outright theft when left-liberal governments are in power. We can modestly say that the reporting on Hungary changes in line with changes in government.
Let’s see who those journalists are whose smart aleck opinions – masked as facts – do everything to label the Hungarian people and Hungary in front of the international media.
Let’s see Soros’ mouthpieces!
Lili Bayer – journalist
A journalist with Hungarian roots who is an employee of the American-owned, Brussels-published daily. She has a penchant for abusing the Hungarian government and Viktor Orbán. She was among the first Hungarian-rooted journalists who accused Viktor Orbán of anti-Semitism when the prime minister raised his voice against George Soros’ subversive activities. Aside from this, she has also contributed to Forward, the American Jewry’s leading newspaper, in which she published a profile interview with Gábor Vona.
Stefán Bős – journalist
Surely, not many people remember the journalist named Stefan J. Bos who reported from Hungary (for German and Dutch public media, Deutsche Welle, CBS, and BBC Russia), painting a rather one-sided picture of our homeland. It was under the Gyurcsány government that Bős alerted the world of the dangers of impending Nazism, turning a blind to police terror, the unfettered looting of Socialists, and unprecedented state corruption. Naturally, in 2010, Bős started to care about the rule of law, democracy and press freedom. As the star guest contributor for Népszava and the late Népszabadság (1956 – 2016), Bős decided in 2011 that the Hungarian media laws are not applicable to him and refused to abide by them.
László Balogh – Photographer
Having worked previously at Népszava and Népszabadság, Balogh currently works with Reuters. His work was crowned in 2016 with a Pulitzer award he received for the photographs he captured depicting our homeland and our police officers in a false and unfavorable manner. Balogh can be thanked for the intentionally misinterpreted photograph which it appeared to show Hungarian police are abusing a migrant woman and her child on the train tracks. It was revealed later that the police were trying to save the woman’s life.
Márton Dunai – journalist
Referring to himself as Marton Dunai, he was employee of the George Soros-financed Magyar Narancs. Currently, he is with the independent-objective Reuters news agency. He has a penchant for writing – in referring to Viktor Orbán – that anyone who is critical of George Soros is an anti-Semite. Naturally, he forgot to mention Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in this story. In one of Dunai’s pieces, he wrote that Viktor Orbán has essentially started to engage in far-right politicizing. Dunai backed up his assertion by citing the words of the left-liberal Political Capital analyst Péter Krekó.
Sándor Pető – journalist
Sandor Peto is also a Reuters employee. According to him, the Hungarian government got the idea for the law concerning transparency of foreign-funded civil organizations from Russia. He deliberately failed to mention that there are laws in Israel and the United States that mirror copies of this law.
Gergely Szakács – journalist
Szakács had worked at RTL Group earlier, and currently works with the Reuters news agency. He wrote disparagingly about the government’s activities which gave voting rights to Hungarians beyond the border. According to Szakács, this was nothing less than a political tactic.
Zoltán Simon – journalist
Zoltán Simon is the Budapest correspondent for the American business newspaper Bloomberg. Earlier, he was with the AFP. He often writes about what he perceives to be a corrupt government, and he has a penchant for citing Western organizations, such as the OSCE, when he is trying to discredit the government. He has also been avid writer of the lies that about Soros billboards being anti-Semitic.
István Sinkovicz – producer
He is the producer with the German ZDF public media television station. Most recently, he complained to Népszava about the migrant crisis, and said that the Hungarian state does not guarantee [journalists] the opportunity to report unhindered about “the refugees”. In that ZDF report, the “refugees” speak of inhumane conditions on the Hungarian border and the channel even questions the government’s credibility and preparedness in dealing with this situation.