Home > Uncategorized > The right-wing media on the student movement

The right-wing media on the student movement

December 21, 2012

Today you are being showered with information but all of it is important. Who can forget about the plight of Klubrádió, which is the only opposition FM radio in Budapest and a couple of other cities? The hatred of Viktor Orbán toward the spirit of this free station knows no bounds. Will he have the guts to silence it and with this move arouse mass protests all over the world? A sane person wouldn’t do that.

Because, let’s face it, the world is watching. It’s enough to read the statement of Senator Benjamin Cardin on the senate floor yesterday afternoon. Washington is watching and listening and I’m certain that the 3.5 billion Hungarian forints spent on propaganda by the Orbán government will do no good. This government’s reputation cannot be restored.

And finally, there is the case of Péter Dániel. One could argue over whether his reactions to certain government measures were appropriate, but depriving him of his livelihood is far too severe a punishment. After all, he was fined for damages caused and he is ready to go to jail. And indeed, that László Grespik is one of the luminaries of the Budapest Bar Association who will pass judgment on Dániel is hard to swallow.

Here I would like to write a few words about the pro-government media’s reaction to the student protest. Viktor Orbán is perhaps the most inventive. This morning he claimed that an absolutely perfect system had been worked out by the government but the students prematurely broke off the negotiations. If they had just stayed they would have heard that the money they were supposed to borrow would in almost all cases have been forgiven. If the graduate was employed by the public sector, the state would have paid off his loan and if he were to enter the private sector his employer would have taken over his financial burden. The employer could have deducted the amount paid from the company’s taxes. Oh, yes! Of course!

Students entering law school will have to pay tuition fees. The caption reads: "For fewer rights, fewer lawyers"

Students entering law school will have to pay full tuition fees. The caption reads: “For fewer rights one needs fewer lawyers.”

It seems though that other members of the government were unaware of this scheme because until this morning no one had come up with the explanation that it is actually the students’ fault that they ended up in this sorry state. Earlier what one could hear from government officials was that either the students simply didn’t understand the details of the law or that the opposition was taking advantage of the students’ dissatisfaction.

I would like to summarize a few fairly typical right-wing opinions. Let’s start with Szabolcs Szerető of Magyar Nemzet in an opinion piece entitled “We are bored, we can go home.” He predicted yesterday that the movement will die soon. After all, the whole concept of the university reform changed and therefore there is no need for any more demonstrations and protests. “The death of a revolutionary movement can be caused by its suppression but also when the cause for it disappears.” It is a great more exciting “to protest, to be impertinent with the authorities than to sit down at the negotiating table to work out the details, to attend lectures, or to prepare for exams.” But what is going on today has nothing to do with tuition fees or the number of students eligible to enter university. “These students are only puppets manipulated by others.”

András Stumpf today came out with his own opinion. I should mention that Stumpf is considered to be one of the more liberal members of Heti Válasz’s staff. The title itself is greatly objectionable. In Hungarian: “Tüntizni jó!” The verb “tüntetni” means “to demonstrate,” but by using a playful version of the word he makes the whole movement no more than a gathering of students who get together because these demonstrations are so much fun. If someone alone screams at the top of his lungs people might think him mad. “But if someone does the same thing within a crowd he is a proud citizen who exercises his democratic rights.” Should I quote more?

And finally, an article that appeared in “Polgár Portál, a magyar civil együttműködés lapja.” It seems to me that this organization is closely allied to CÖF, the group that organized the peace marches and that has undertaken the smear campaign against Gordon Bajnai. The author of the article is Gergely Huth, second in charge at Magyar Hírlap. The title is telling: “Erkölcsi hullák hergelik a diákokat” (Morally bankrupt people incite the students). In no time we learn that these morally bankrupt people are Gordon Bajnai and the leaders of the Milla group. Huth warns the students that they are being duped. Huth believes that the opposition forces are actually financing the demonstrations and shows the picture of a sign that according to him cannot be produced on monthly allowances. Of course, we know that HÖOK does have a fairly large budget, and Huth should know that better than you or I.

He attacks HÖOK, especially Dávid Nagy who, according to Huth, is a closet communist who in some mysterious way is connected to Ferenc Gyurcsány. How? Simple! His HÖOK career began in Győr at about the same time Ferenc Gyurcsány became the county chairman of MSZP. Obvious, isn’t it? Apparently Nagy systematically got rid of those members of HÖOK whom he suspected of being Jobbik supporters. A real sin!

So, after the character assassinations of Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai comes Dávid Nagy. The same Dávid Nagy who everybody, including myself, suspected of being an instrument of Fidesz while it was in opposition and of the Orbán government in the last two and a half years. Sooner or later the black list is going to be very long.

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  1. December 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm | #1

    Reblogged this on .

  2. Some1
    December 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm | #2

    As it was the right propaganda jumped on the students and try to discredit their needs, by trying them to the opposition. It is the only way to Orban to save face. He keeps saying that it is not the students but the left… Actually what the right is doing right now is to put the students against the adults. I am glad that the students stay away from any parties, and keep their agenda separate, so Orban and his band cannot come out with a “I told you so”. They are independent, independently unhappy, and I hope they will carry on.

  3. Dénes
    December 22, 2012 at 5:44 am | #3

    It is rediculous to see OV’s “solidarity” with students. (I am very glad that you demostrate against my system?).
    OV’s main argument is that there are no mass demostrations agaist the measures of the government (He said that in an interview when visiting Slovenia)
    More rediculous is the writhing of the Ministry of Human Resources, the controversial range of numbers (students volume, tuition fee) varying day by day (Its not over yet). I think it is rather humiliating for Mr. Balog. BTW where is Mrs Hoffman?
    Even more rediculous was OV’s Friday interview in Kossuth Radio, saying that they had elaborated an excellent solution, the only problem was the communication, ie. students did not understand that their sudents loan is not to be payed back by themselves, rather by their future employers.
    I dont know: if as an employer I have to choose from two candidates for a job: equal competence, one with and the other without millions of depth. Who would be the winner?
    Putting together with Matolcsy’s conspiration theory regarding EU attacks against Hungary in Heti Válasz, one has to conclude that it was a big mistake to close Lipótmező. It can be heard more and more frankly and frequently from the opinion leaders representing opposition.

    As a conclusion, it is refreshing to see brave people demonstrating that they can not be deceived with silly communication manoeuvres any more.

  4. Dénes
    December 22, 2012 at 5:50 am | #4

    Sorry, of course not depth but debt!
    “I dont know: if as an employer I have to choose from two candidates for a job: equal competence, one with and the other without millions of debt”.

  5. tappanch
    December 22, 2012 at 6:34 am | #5
  6. Dénes
    December 22, 2012 at 8:50 am | #6

    Thanks for moderating out Sir Henderson’s stuff, as well as other misspellings, eg ridiculous, etc…

  7. Some1
    December 22, 2012 at 10:13 am | #7

    Dénes :
    Even more rediculous was OV’s Friday interview in Kossuth Radio, saying that they had elaborated an excellent solution, the only problem was the communication, ie. students did not understand that their sudents loan is not to be payed back by themselves, rather by their future employers.
    I dont know: if as an employer I have to choose from two candidates for a job: equal competence, one with and the other without millions of depth. Who would be the winner?

    Not even that, but how do you force an employer to pay back someone else’s loan? THis would simply push the wages down. Also, there would be no work available for new graduates. Of course when it comes to the government, Orban easily offers to repay the money, as the money was their originally. They put it in, they earn interest, and they take it out. There is no magic in that. What a nightmare.

  8. Dénes
    December 22, 2012 at 11:11 am | #8

    Some1 :

    Dénes :
    Even more rediculous was OV’s Friday interview in Kossuth Radio, saying that they had elaborated an excellent solution, the only problem was the communication, ie. students did not understand that their sudents loan is not to be payed back by themselves, rather by their future employers.
    I dont know: if as an employer I have to choose from two candidates for a job: equal competence, one with and the other without millions of depth. Who would be the winner?

    Not even that, but how do you force an employer to pay back someone else’s loan? THis would simply push the wages down. Also, there would be no work available for new graduates. Of course when it comes to the government, Orban easily offers to repay the money, as the money was their originally. They put it in, they earn interest, and they take it out. There is no magic in that. What a nightmare.

    Thank you, Some1!
    Nightmare must be a better experience than reality.
    The problem is: how to obtain more money from the only resource ie, EU cohesion funds, (It requires 3 minus deficit by all means, even paying the price of getting 4-5 million HU inhabitants poor) what can be forwarded to buddies by tenders almost exclusively won by them.
    If you consider tenders: money goes to buddies, exclusively. No other resource exist for growth (“negative growth”)

  9. Kirsten
    December 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm | #9

    some1, but the students’ agenda cannot be fulfiled by Viktor Orban in his Fidesztan. The protests are about tuition fees or the quality of education, but also more generally about Hungary being a free country or a “moderated” democracy, a “national paradise” or a country serving the needs of OV and his friends. I believe that it is impossible to speak only about education and not about the general direction of Fidesz’ policies. Education is paid from taxes, these taxes have to be collected (ie there should be some basis for tax collection) and these taxes have to be assigned to education (and not to the purchase of MOL shares, for instance). OV and his government decided about the expenditure priorities, and these are football stadiums, MOL shares, his personal security and so forth.

    So I am wondering what the students’ protests can achieve if they are not relating them to a broader agenda. I read this summary of Eva of the interpretation of the right-wing media, but if this propaganda is believed more (or making more impression on the average Hungarian) than the students who are currently protesting in so many cities, then they cannot achieve much because the broad public has already decided where they stand (in doubt not against OV). If this propaganda is not believed, not much can be lost by choosing a broader agenda and cooperating e.g. with Milla, Szolidaritas etc.

  10. December 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm | #10

    I agree that the protest cannot be limited to one grievance. It is already beyond this stage. When one sees slogans like “By-bye Viktor” then that means that these people are sending Viktor packing together with his regime. Another slogan was a wordplay on “Le is út, fel is út” meaning get lost. The wordplay involved Felcsút and Alcsút.

  11. Gretchen
    December 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm | #11

    OT: I have just heard that yesterday, December 21st, the funds for the Independent Artists Association (TASZ) that had been taken away, will now be paid. No word as to when. Such mind games in an election year.

  12. Dénes
    December 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm | #12

    :)

    Hopefully, it is a question of reaction kinetics in chemistry! More and more activists, the higher probability of reaction will take place., suddenly! (See iron heated with sulphur – nicest reaction I have ever seen) :)

  13. spectator
    December 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm | #13

    Meanwhile in Orbanistan:

    http://index.hu/belfold/2012/12/21/a_diakokbol_hianyzik_a_bekemenet_meltosaga/

    Students lacks of dignity, as opposed to the Peace-march, said Zoltan Balog, Minister of Human Resources when in the ceremony “Civic Hungary” Award at Hotel Gellért.

    Mind you, the awarded this year were – guess who: the “Peace-march” or in effect the prominent’s of the Peace-march, like Bayer & Co, the very same organization which admittedly is behind that shameful discrediting campaign against Bajnai and Gyurcsány.

    Nice gesture, isn’t it?
    A polite man supposed to say at least ‘thank you, madam’ – after a blowjob, but prizing with an award..?

    New, lovely and ‘very civic’ times they’re living in, no doubts.

  14. Dénes
    December 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm | #14

    Spectator.

    I op’ that this blog is not for blowjob industry, (my latest received offer was similar, for a double job in NYC). It is much more worse in Portugal, were powerty makes prices. I have not accepted any, of course
    Too bad, stop it!
    This is not about sexual concerns- Moderator,please stop it!!!

    Eva, thank you for clevering up this blog!

  15. spectator
    December 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm | #15

    Dénes :
    Spectator.
    I op’ that this blog is not for blowjob industry, (my latest received offer was similar, for a double job in NYC). It is much more worse in Portugal, were powerty makes prices. I have not accepted any, of course
    Too bad, stop it!
    This is not about sexual concerns- Moderator,please stop it!!!
    Eva, thank you for clevering up this blog!

    You may try to reread again, this time from the beginning, please!

    The kind of political whoring what I named above causes much more, even moral damage, than the one you referring to. You may even notice, that my comment isn’t about personal experiences, because that definitely something what has no place here – you right in this respect.

  16. LwiiH
    December 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm | #16

    Some1 :

    Dénes :
    Even more rediculous was OV’s Friday interview in Kossuth Radio, saying that they had elaborated an excellent solution, the only problem was the communication, ie. students did not understand that their sudents loan is not to be payed back by themselves, rather by their future employers.
    I dont know: if as an employer I have to choose from two candidates for a job: equal competence, one with and the other without millions of depth. Who would be the winner?

    What a nightmare.

    I heard an economist give a brilliant explanation as to why governments seem to always mis-judge tax revenues. “It’s like having 2 boxers in a ring and one throws a punch not expecting his opponent to duck”. It’s like saying a tax won’t be passed along to the consumer and other such nonsense which leaves me shaking my head asking the question, where did they get their degrees in economics, from a bubble gum machine??? but then why bother going to a gum machine when you can just plagiarize yourself a doctorate.

  17. Some1
    December 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm | #17

    Eva S. Balogh :
    I agree that the protest cannot be limited to one grievance. It is already beyond this stage. When one sees slogans like “By-bye Viktor” then that means that these people are sending Viktor packing together with his regime. Another slogan was a wordplay on “Le is út, fel is út” meaning get lost. The wordplay involved Felcsút and Alcsút.

    Yes Eva, but I think it is way more effective to have various groups went their frustrations with Fidesz that cannot be tied to another political group. This way those who are current Fidesz supporters can identify with a group (or groups. Even on this board we have contributors who would not vote for anything that is attached to MSZP. So, lets identify the various problems by various non-political groups, let them protest, and then the various parties can come up wit their own platforms to tackle one or all of the problems. You cannot expect students to sign up with one party now. I think this method would help to crystallize the various issues, instead of having one, long laundry list for a common group.
    Also this way no protest against Orban can be accused that it is fuelled by liberals, or communists, etc.

  18. An
    December 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm | #18

    @Some1: “Also this way no protest against Orban can be accused that it is fuelled by liberals, or communists, etc.”

    Obviously, they can be accused of that, regardless whether these protests are in fact fueled by “liberals” and “communists” … just read the right wing media.

    Also, I don’t think anybody here is suggesting that the students should sign up behind one party or sign up to support MszP… but some kind of cooperation of all opposition groups and civil protest movements would be desirable.

  19. Some1
    December 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm | #19

    An :
    @Some1: “Also this way no protest against Orban can be accused that it is fuelled by liberals, or communists, etc.”
    Obviously, they can be accused of that, regardless whether these protests are in fact fueled by “liberals” and “communists” … just read the right wing media.

    Let me rephrase “rightly accused”. THey accusing them now, but it is not true. Nobody fuelled them, nobody told them to go out and protest. The only thing that everyone is telling them to do (from left, right and in-between) is to cooperate with politicians. I am happy that they don’t. I think the time will come when they should and probably will, but it is no time yet. I thin they are smarter then most of us, and they see how others will try to piggyback.
    Give them time!

  20. An
    December 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm | #20

    Some1: My point is that no matter what they do, even if they send all politicians away, they’d be accused of cooperating with them. This is how the Fidesz black-propaganda machine works and Fidesz is pretty efficient at it. Students would like to stay clean of politics, but if you are demonstrating, you are in politics….it is impossible to stay clean.

    Also, I suspect that this “staying clean” at all costs and not wanting parties to “pidgyback” their movement is also the result of the above mentioned black propaganda. For what is wrong with cooperating with opposition groups? Nothing. In fact, it is a must, because as others also pointed out, the root of the problem is the undemocratic nature of the Orban regime… it is beyond the issue of standing up for particular (student) interests. Students need to recognize this at some point.

    I’m not even sure that this is not the right time… in fact, I think it is already late: student protests are losing stream, as the government is trying to appease them with partial concessions.

  21. Kirsten
    December 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm | #21

    Eva S. Balogh :
    I agree that the protest cannot be limited to one grievance.

    I doubt that Viktor Orban can come up with a solution to these protests that fits into his new regime that he has built during the past years, and that at the same time complies with expectations of modern, open-minded and quality education at a reasonable fee and without adhesion contracts.
    For me the possible routes from here very much depend on how the “adult” population will react to it. (The students certainly are not expected to occupy then the most decisive positions in the government and state.) The broad public can remain “neutral”, disinterested or even will believe the propaganda of the right-wing media. The students then may either retreat and prepare to study in large numbers abroad or radicalise, with uncertain reactions of the government and the broad public. Or the students will get broad support from the general public – but for this to become relevant politically, some people and movements have to become “acceptable” as politicians with political programmes for exactly those people who support the students. My worry is that this acceptance of “politicians” will be lacking, making “political” solutions to the current crisis impossible and opening space for either chaos or violence. That is a very drastic scenario, and I have so far not expected violence from both sides, but to avoid it when things could escalate, requires more support for “political” approaches and procedures.

  22. Kirsten
    December 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm | #22

    Eva, my comment was not meant as a criticism of your sentence, but on the contrary why it is necessary not to shy away from a broader perspective.

  23. Kirsten
    December 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm | #23

    But what I wanted to ask: the news about “fewer rights” that need fewer lawyers is not really official material from M1? Too weird, if it were.

  24. December 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm | #24

    Kirsten :

    But what I wanted to ask: the news about “fewer rights” that need fewer lawyers is not really official material from M1? Too weird, if it were.

    Of course not. It is a spoof.

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