The Familiar Bad News from Hungary

On Monday, I wrote: "One of my continuing concerns about the political situation we face in the United States is that it's part of a larger erosion of democracy worldwide — a global trend from which it will be difficult to extricate ourselves, if it's even possible at all. There are anti-democratic forces subverting democracy everywhere around the planet, and I'm not sure even the bluest of blue waves can effectively contend with that."

Further on that subject, Pamela Druckerman at the New York Times: The News Is Bad in Hungary.
When I visited Hungary recently, I knew I was entering a waning democracy that's become increasingly authoritarian. I knew that Prime Minister Viktor Orban won a third term in April by convincing voters that a phantasmic combination of Muslim migrants, the Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, and European Union bureaucrats was coming to get them.

But I only understood how Mr. Orban pulled this off when I spoke to Hungarian journalists. They explained that Mr. Orban first criticized the press for being biased against him. Then he and his allies took over most of it, and switched to running stories that promote Mr. Orban's populist agenda and his party, Fidesz.

This happened fast. The investigative website Atlatszo estimates that more than 500 Hungarian media titles are now controlled by Mr. Orban and his friends; in 2015, only 23 of them were.

...Some now reportedly take their talking points directly from the government. Recent headlines at Origo — once a respected online news site — were a numbing assortment of articles about migrants wreaking havoc on various European cities and conspiracies about Mr. Soros.

...There's still independent news online, but most Hungarians don't see it. And when one of these websites exposes corruption, Orban-friendly publications align to attack it.

"This is what the government would like to teach society — that there are no reliable sources at all among those who criticize the government," explained Attila Batorfy, who tracks the Hungarian media for Atlatszo.
There is much more at the link.

We must understand that we are up against forces that are undermining democracy around the entire globe, using the same strategies — and, in some cases, even the same boogeymen.

This isn't going to get "fixed" by the midterms, or by even the most spectacular outcome of Bob Mueller's investigation. We need to vote; we need to demand accountability; and we need to be prepared to keep fighting for the long haul.

[H/T to Aphra_Behn.]

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