It was only a few months ago, on March 15, 2013, that Ferenc Szaniszló, a so-called journalist who has a show twice a week on Echo TV, received the Táncsics Prize, the highest award that can be given to a Hungarian journalist. You may recall that the minister of human resources, Zoltán Balog, first claimed that he was not familiar with the work of Szaniszló and that eventually, when the whole Hungarian media was up in arms, he practically begged Szaniszló to return the award. He did, but as often happens with members of the Orbán government, Balog didn’t tell the truth. It wasn’t an oversight that Szaniszló, who is an anti-Semitic extremist, was chosen. On the same national holiday the lead guitarist of a far-right rock group called Kárpátia and the composer of the Hungarian Guard’s anthem, also received a state decoration.
So, let’s first say a few words about Echo TV. Wikipedia describes it as “a conservative Hungarian television channel” (although Wikipedia’s entry does go on to say that the channel “is a favorite among neofascists in Hungary”). “Conservative” is not an adjective I would use in connection with Echo TV. The channel was established in 2005 by Gábor Széles, one of the richest men in Hungary. Széles also purchased the financially ailing liberal Magyar Hírlap and transformed it into a far-right newspaper where one of the regular contributors is the anti-Semitic Zsolt Bayer. He is also one of the chief organizers of demonstrations called Peace Marches in support of the present Hungarian government.
Szaniszló’s half-hour program is called “Világ–Panoráma.” It airs twice a week, on Monday and Friday, in prime time between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m and can be seen by everyone who has a cable connection. Most people do.
What kind of information do devoted right-wingers receive about world affairs through Szaniszló’s interpretation of twentieth-century history and more recent events? We regularly complain about the general lack of knowledge of the vast majority of Hungarians and express our astonishment that they seem to believe all the propaganda they receive from their own government. If you listen just once to Ferenc Szaniszló, you will not be at all surprised.
Since non-Hungarian speakers don’t have the benefit of listening to this man in the original, I took copious notes on his ten-minute-long attack last Friday on the United States and on Jews, although he doesn’t refer to them explicitly. In the past Echo TV wasn’t that shy. I suspect the word came from above that the Orbán government is working very hard to convince the world that it is doing everything in its power to curtail anti-Semitic occurrences, so please refrain from being too obvious about the subject of international Jewry. As for attacks on the United States, Magyar Nemzet, Fidesz’s own favorite newspaper, has also been full of anti-American articles for some time. So, don’t think that only the far right specializes in U.S. bashing.
Szaniszló’s harangue begins with a rehash of the Kennedy assassination, a topic he talked about earlier. Here the story serves as an introduction to the main theme. Kennedy was assassinated by “financial powers that conquered the United States.” According to Szaniszló, Kennedy was not the first victim of this financial power group because “there were earlier presidents, vice presidents, and secretaries” who were killed by these people. I myself couldn’t come up with any president whose assassination was in any way connected to the financial world. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by a Southerner; James Garfield’s assassin was mentally unbalanced; and William McKinley was killed by an anarchist. As for vice presidents, no vice president of the United States has ever been assassinated. And as for secretaries, there was an assassination attempt on the life of William H. Seward, Lincoln’s secretary of state, at the same time as the president’s assassination, but he survived.
Soon enough Szaniszló moves to more dangerous grounds. With a quick turn we are at 9/11, which is according to him “the biggest lie of world history” because it was a “willful self-provocation, one of many.” In plain English, the United States government itself attacked the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. And there were many similar faked attacks. The same thing happened with the Lusitania, the British ocean liner, which according to Szaniszló was not torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat but by the United States to have an excuse to enter World War I. Just as the United States bombed and destroyed practically the whole U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor to justify entering World War II.
Those who committed atrocities in New York disappeared because “they became extinct in the fire of 9/11,” but “the Arab passport remained among the ruins of the Twin Towers where even steel beams became dust. And naturally they kill Osama bin Laden, but quickly they throw his body into the bottom of the ocean. They destroy his house. These financial conspirators consider people idiots and indeed they are right because they are duped by those who possess all the power, all the money, the media, the film industry, the propaganda, and the brain washing machinery.” Yet, this is all so clear. “The plane that few into the Pentagon simply disappears, Building # 7 collapses on its own without any attack, and the helicopter that was used in the Osama raid is destroyed by a nonexistent Taliban anti-aircraft defense force.” That is not all. After the Boston marathon attack two American agents fall out of an airplane because they know the truth about Chechnya. Two other agents are killed for the same reason. In brief, the politicians who run the United States are murderous criminals.
Szaniszló goes so far as to say that all the terrorist attacks were fakes. Every time there was an attack an official anti-terrorist exercise took place. For example, on September 11, 2001 planes of the American Air Force were not flying between New York and Washington because of exercises. The Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut was staged by the American anti-terrorist group. “They sacrificed their own children and their teachers.” During the Boston marathon the same thing happened. The U.S. Air Force was doing routine exercises “in order to hide the truth which was a murderous attack organized from above.” All that to incite anti-Muslim feelings in the United States. “These were attacks against their own people disguised as anti-terrorist exercises. Their goal is to acquire more oil and gas fields and gold mines.
“What kind of morality is this? And the West builds its fortune on that? On this filth, on this garbage? Is this supposed to be the liberal democracy? This morass?” Thanks to Edward Snowden we now know that “they don’t even trust their closest friends, they spy on their own henchmen, and they even record when Angela Merkel does her number one and number two in the Reichstag or what Queen Elizabeth wears under her train.”
Once Szaniszló finished with the United States he moved on to Ukraine, a country that doesn’t want to supply slaves to the European Union. It would rather turn to Russia, which at the moment is trying to undo its own Trianon.
This is what Hungarian television viewers learn about the world. Hatred against the United States, the European Union, the West in general. And then we are surprised at the general ignorance and hatred of foreigners? We shouldn’t be.
Who cares? Is this interesting? Is this analysis?
Watch FOX News or infinite number of similar channels in the USA, if you want something similar. Of course, an American right wing channel will support all USA wars. But this is not a USA right wing channel, but a right wing channel of another country.
In any case, this program is not a propaganda for carpet bombing third-world countries, making wars with tens of thousands of collateral damage, looking for Al-Qaeda and the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, making propaganda for the Arabic spring in Syria. This time, fighting together with Al-Qaeda, etc., etc. When talking about conspiracy theories, I think, the best ones are the official opinions about the above mentioned topics.
This program is also not making propaganda to spy over the entire population of a 300 million country and on tens of millions of foreigners. Or not making propaganda to keep foreign citizens in prison without a court decision.
In summary, maybe bad, but still better than Obama or Bush. Think on this …
Mr. Szaniszlo’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org should you want to send him something nasty. Don’t be shy.
I hope people are reading this from the State Department. This guy should be on the terrorist watch list.
A funny bit from an earlier Szaniszlo interview:
“Looking at the history of our country, we always joined the wrong side. I’m afraid this isn’t going to be different today either. The Hungarian nation has this special attribute. No matter what empire took a hold on it, Hungary destroyed them sooner or later. Maybe this is our destiny, because of the great sense of morality of the Hungarians. I don’t only mean the destruction of the Warsaw Pact, but in retrospect this is what happened to the Ottoman and the Habsburg empires, the Third Reich and the Soviet empire.”
Plain sell out?
Are Iranian agents influencing the media in Hungary.
Is Orban losing his iron grip?
Is Finkelstein sleeping in these days?
Szaniszló went to IMO/MGIMO in Moscow and also in the eighties and he was the Moscow-based correspondent of Magyar Hirlap, then the daily of the “Hungarian Council of Ministers”.
Gábor Széles set up his private company in the early eighties to supply Hungary with computers. He established subsidiaries in Switzerland, Hong-Kong before the fall of communism.
Even with a minimal familiarity with the eighties’ socialism in Hungary, it is pretty easy to figure out the background of these guys.
Although this is not really on topic, it is related in a way. I can’t believe I read this on the HVG website:
Another 4 years of far right and Fidesz? There will be a Hungarian exodus to other European countries.
@Steven. Does anyone take Fox News seriously? It’s not even a well oiled propaganda machine. It has become something that other shows use as a source of material for their punch lines e.g. The Daily Show on Comedy Central.
Well, what do you think? Why is the Soc-Lib, a very efficient stealing and bribing machine now so inefficient that Bajnai cannot tell a normal sentence, and their largest achievement is that they made an Orban statue, afterwards they cut its head.
Because if they cannot overtake the government from the left, they try that from the right. They push Jobbik to overtake FIDESZ and at least cause some serious trouble if they cannot make a government alone. This is happening. Schiffer from LMP already said it at the last election that the campaign of SZDSZ was a campaign for Jobbik. Now, this is happening even more.
Of course, you do not have to think. It is painful.
Watch _any_ American TV channel and you will find even better stories. Like the Nobel prize of Obama, running a large scale spy program, an illegal prison with foreigners in it, making war in Syria fighting together with muslim extremist, etc.etc.
You get it? This is not news. You put very mild phenomena in front of the Americans as terrible, just that they do not notice that in their country all these are much worse.
“This is what Hungarian television viewers learn about the world. Hatred against the United States, the European Union, the West in general. And then we are surprised at the general ignorance and hatred of foreigners? We shouldn’t be.”
The thing is, Echo TV has very, very few viewers. The mouth-breathers who watch it already have a poison attitude toward the US, the EU, the West in general, and foreigners. Szeles is simply playing to the crowd and reinforcing pre-existing prejudices. I have yet to meet a Hungarian who has had his opinion transformed by Szaniszlo or any of the other jokers on Echo.
Now that the public schools are nationalized, the administration orders school libraries to discontinue the subscription of magazines of not the government’s liking.
Students must be kept in darkness.
@Steven: You seem like a perfect fit for Fox News. If all else fails there is always Echo TV.
Hi Eva, do you have an email I could contact you on about a series of newspaper articles I am planning from Hungary in a couple of weeks? I would like to follow this and the exodus story, and wonder if there is a town, village etc where a large number of people have left, that I could use as my lead angle. My email is seanwilliams85 AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk, and my work website is http://www.seanwilliamswords.com – anyone else please feel free to message me any leads or stories I may be able to cover.
EchoTV has few viewers, but there is youtube. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=szaniszl%C3%B3+ferenc&search_sort=video_view_count
EchoTV is using western sources for these stories. Oliver Stone of the docudrama JFK was on `Katie` doubting the Warren Report, disproving the three shots fired by Oswald. In a play I saw an exuberant FDR is phoning the Canadian Prime Minister: MacKenzie, we are in, the Japs are going to attack Pearl Harbour. Just the other day someone on Canadian TV argued that the twin towers could not collapse the way they did just from the impact of those two planes. These beliefs are widely held.
Fidesz plans to slice Budapest into several pieces to prevent the election of an opposition candidate to the powerful post of Mayor of Budapest in the Fall of 2014.
Tappanch: it is all legal, I don’t see what the problem is. Fidesz will never concede an inch, they are smart lawyers who can solve these problems in two minutes, tops.
The ironic thing is that the Budapest mayor has no real power. The municipality, especially after the new Basic Law, has no relevance, they both depend entirely on the generosity of the central government, aka Viktor Orban.
The only reason why a mayoral position could be relatively powerful is because the mayor could get into the media much more easily than any opposition politician could. As we know the opposition has no media of its own, and needless to say it still does not have any plans to own one in the future, so they are in a difficult position, exposure-wise.
But that will never happen. Fidesz owns the media with a sophisticated iron-grip and it owns the election system. I guess Hungarians will have to wait until evolution will work its way through the Hungarian left. Or as Max Planck said it: science advances one funeral at a time. Maybe Hungarian politics too.
The problem is even if the viewership is low, the more sensationalist stories leak out into the general population. I find myself almost continously correcting people who repeat the horse manure produced by these fake news channels. At least FOX is entertaining.. want a good laugh, turn on FOX…. or Rush.. Rush always has something
stupidfunny to say.
“In brief, the politicians who run the United States are murderous criminals.”
This statement would barely raise eyebrows anywhere else in the world.
The anti-Semitic dog-whistling is particularly despicable, but the compounded layers of crimes, secrecy and lies pushed by the U.S. government and its propaganda apparatus give the conspiracy theorists on the Hungarian far right more than enough to work with.
Recently one of our commenters noted that Fidesz is taking its aggressive, take-no-prisoner approach straight from the US Republicans.
Well our friend Ferenc here is doing the same thing. He’s recycling what he has heard– first-hand or second-hand– from the nuttiest people on America’s right wing.
Shame on him for plagiarizing other people’s carefully concocted nonsense.
Ferenc, if you’re going to fling outrageous accusations around, please make sure that they are
a) the product of your own genius; and
Because otherwise you remind us of that certain uncle we all have back home in Ohio/Indiana/Illinois/Michigan, who drinks a few beers at family gatherings and then starts telling everyone that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim who infiltrated the CIA and is bent on sending conservative white Christians to remote concentration camps manned by the Black Panther Gestapo…
The Martians landed in New Jersey. This was also widely believed when a radio play simulated it many years ago.
Whistle-blower Horvath’s detailed answers to the accusations by the government agency, the Hungarian IRS:
Click to access 20131202horvath_andras_levele.pdf
“the government did not execute its legal obligation to protect the whistle-blower by permitting the unfounded and libelous denunciations against me by the very agency
I accused of corrupt activities.”
Of course, Horvath is a hero or ought to be considered as such. But not by Hungarians.
Since there are no rewards for virtue only for sticking like gum to the coat-tails of the criminals….the ordinary Hungarian will consider Horvath as having lost his mind; or, as being an agent of the American/Jewish/Eu axis. It’s the furthest thing from the average Hungarian mind to think that someone would act out of conscience and a sense of doing what’s Right.
Well, something for sure, Szaniszló hasn’t got his jacket straight enough… he’s in a desperate need of one such item, obviously.
I guess, the brain-trusts of Fidesz didn’t really calculated the effect of unleashing hatred and playing it. Presently I don’t see the means how anybody could control it anymore.
Having supporters as loonies like him marching in a first row, pretty much branding the whole Cirque de Peace March and the Fidesz, hereupon.
Just as well.
Oh, my. Poor Szaniszlo was duped by the west …
Szaniszlo’s views are just projections from his oligarch boss, Mr Szeles:
“I believe in God and UFO’s” – new deep interview with Mr Szeles
“We can count on long governing by Fidesz”
Highly recommend the comments too. The man is mad.
I guess this is a high time someone start a business in Hungary selling those straitjackets after all. Must be the deal of the century, even counting in only the most obvious candidates!
His English pronunciation is the best ! This Kennedy episode is fairly mild, but in other shows he sparkles with :
“vólsztrít” “vördlbenk” or “benkafinglénd” and many many others.
I suspect he doesn’t know any English. By the way, I understand he went to university in the Soviet Union.
In the Soviet Union ? Wow !
From studying dialectical materialism ( possibly at Lomonosov ) to right wing politics and conspiracy theories on TV is quite a career.
One has to admit, he is a colorful character.
@007: “From studying dialectical materialism ( possibly at Lomonosov ) to right wing politics and conspiracy theories on TV is quite a career.”
As for bashing the nasty capitalists and the US, it is really not that different. I think these people many times just use some of the old ideas they were brainwashed with when they were young, and give them a new shiny nationalist twist.
That is probably very true.
I watch him from time to time for the entertainment value.
His non tailored suit jackets provide the greatest bang for the buck. They are often the wrong size as well.
I do agree with An. Russia Today should offer him a show.
To swing from the extreme left to the extreme right is a common phenomenon – we have several cases of that in Germany too – and these loonies really have a lot in common.
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