Recently, Fox News host Tucker Carlson has opted to publicly sing the praises of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban — who is widely regarded to have significantly undercut the democratic process in Hungary during his time in power. During an interview with the host that aired in part on Carlson’s show this week, Orban declared that those seeking to mix “Muslim” and “Christian” communities were flatly in the wrong, saying in defense of his administration’s draconian anti-immigrant policies that Hungarian officials opted “not to take that risk.” Ret. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman publicly shamed Carlson this week for promoting Orban’s authoritarianism.
As Vindman pointedly put it:
‘[Tucker Carlson], what kind of self-loathing and hate for the United States must you have to tout fascism as superior to American democracy? There was a time when this would have been considered unpatriotic. This is America and we need to Make Right Matter!’
.@TuckerCarlson, what kind of self-loathing and hate for the United States must you have to tout fascism as superior to American democracy?
There was a time when this would have been considered unpatriotic. This is America and we need to Make Right Matter!
— Alexander S. Vindman (@AVindman) August 7, 2021
During an episode of his show this week, Carlson called Hungary a “small country with a lot of lessons for the rest of us.” In reality, The New York Times explained in 2018 how issues reigned in Hungary like laws that were put in place which “allowed Mr. Orban to appoint his own candidates to lead the country’s two main media regulators, while simultaneously giving those regulators more power to fine and punish independent news outlets.” Thus, those who may oppose the government, as should be considered a right within democratic society, have found expressing their views more difficult.
At public broadcasters in Hungary, around 1,000 employees were “pushed out” after Orban took power, the Times also explains, while serious, democracy-threatening issues go on from there. Orban has placed former politicians from his own party in charge at institutions like the State Audit Office, which supervises government expenses, and his political party changed the rules surrounding the placement of judges on the country’s Constitutional Court in order to deliver more power to Orban and his allies. Previously, judges on the court “had to be nominated by a committee staffed by representatives of all the parties in Parliament — ensuring that all judges were chosen by consensus,” the Times explains — but Orban’s party changed the procedure so that they could have complete control over who gets selected as a nominee.
Meanwhile, “Voting districts that had historically leaned to the left were reshaped to include around 5,000 more voters than districts that traditionally leaned right,” which “meant that leftist parties needed more votes to win a seat” than were required by Orban’s party, the Times adds. These changes were implemented by Orban’s political party members in Parliament. This framework — prioritizing the personal power of Viktor Orban over the democratic systems in Hungary — is what Carlson is so feverishly promoting to his viewers.