The Hungarian leader, Viktor Orbán, has told a conference of US conservatives that the path to power required having their own media outlets, calling for shows like Tucker Carlson’s to be broadcast “24/7”.
Orbán, recently elected to a fourth term, laid out a 12-point blueprint to achieving and consolidating power to a special meeting of the US Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), under the slogan of “God, Homeland, Family”, held in Budapest.
The Hungarian prime minister said that with his fourth electoral victory on 3 April, Hungary had been “completely healed” of “progressive dominance”. He suggested it was time for the right to join forces.
“We have to take back the institutions in Washington and Brussels. We must find allies in one another and coordinate the movements of our troops,” Orbán said.
He told Republicans in the Balnaconference center on the banks of the Danube that media influence was one of the keys to success. In Hungary, the prime minister and his allies have effective control of most media outlets in Hungary, including state TV.
“Have your own media. It’s the only way to point out the insanity of the progressive left,” he said. “The problem is that the western media is adjusted to the leftist viewpoint. Those who taught reporters in universities already had progressive leftist principles.”
He portrayed the US media as being dominated by Democrats, who he claimed were being “served” by CNN, the New York Times and others.
“Of course, the GOP has its media allies but they can’t compete with the mainstream liberal media. My friend, Tucker Carlson is the only one who puts himself out there,” he said. “His show is the most popular. What does it mean? It means programs like his should be broadcast day and night. Or as you say 24/7.”
Carlson had been billed as a key speaker at the CPAC conference, but the Fox News talk show host sent only a 38-second video message, in which he extolled Hungary under the Orbán government as a model for the US.
“I can’t believe that you’re in Budapest and I am not,” he said. “What a wonderful country. And you know why you can tell it’s a wonderful country? Because the people who turned our country into a much less good place are hysterical when you point it out.
“The last thing they want is any kind of signpost to a better way, and Hungary certainly provides that,” Carlson added. “A free and decent and beautiful country that cares about its people, their families and the physical landscape.”
Journalists from international media outlets, including the New Yorker, Vox Media, Vice News, Rolling Stone, and the Associated Press, were denied access to the event despite months of requests. The organizers either ignored their requests for accreditation or told them to “watch the event online”.
Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union that runs CPAC, said the central European country was the right place to start a conversation about Europe.
Orbán’s 12-point action plan also included points on faith, “because the absence of faith is dangerous” and the importance in countering “LGBT propaganda” which was “still new in our country but we have already destroyed it”.
The second day of the CPAC conference on Friday is billed to start with a “surprise video message” that some speculate will be from Donald Trump, who was also invited to the event. The schedule also features Candace Owens, described as “Trump’s favorite influencer”, video messages from Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Santiago Abascal, president of Spain’s Vox party, and Zsolt Bayer, a pro-Orbán pundit who formerly called Roma people “animals”, referred to Jewish people as “stinking excrement” and used racist slurs for Black people during the BLM protests.
Marine Le Pen, the presidential candidate from the French far-right National Rally, was announced as a speaker on Monday, but the post disappeared from the organizers’ Facebook after a couple of hours, and her name was deleted from CPAC Hungary’s website.