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More on Tucker Carlson’s interview with PM Orbán

August 11th, 2021

Analysing the interview the Prime Minister gave US Fox News host Tucker Carlson in Budapest last week, opposition-leaning authors discover divergences between the positions of the two men –despite their shared opinions on major themes in the ongoing culture war.

In Népszava, Gábor Horváth describes Tucker Carson as a ‘desperate’ rich man who fights progressive ideas out of fear for his own privileges. Mr Orbán, on the other hand, he continues, ‘implores’ the United States in the interview not to support the Hungarian opposition ahead of next year’s elections. The rage of both men, he concludes, is fuelled by fear.

On Azonnali, Csaba Tibor Tóth sees several issues on which Mr Carlson’s views sharply differ from those of PM Orbán, despite their shared stance on others, including irregular migration, gender issues and wokeness. The interview would have been a lot livelier, he suggests, had they discussed China’s role in the world, which is a great concern for Carlson, as well as how strong the powers of central government should be, or the use of face masks during the pandemic, which is strongly opposed by Carlson.

On the Magyar Hang website, Szabolcs Szerető points out the two men’s diverging interpretations of illiberalism. Tucker Carlson accuses the American left of being illiberal by trying to restrict free speech on controversial issues. By contrast, Mr Orbán describes his own political stance as illiberal because he rejects the views of today’s western liberals on issues like migration and gender. The Hungarian Prime Minister, however, simply uses such issues, Szerető alleges, as a cover for his real intention of eliminating checks on his power as national leader.

On the ATV website, Ildikó Csuhaj quotes unnamed sources close to the governing party, who told her Mr Orbán wanted to make clear in the interview that he doesn’t see any hope of a favourable change in the Biden administration’s unfriendly attitude toward his government. He framed the disagreements between the two sides in a typically American context, with himself seeing the world as characterised by Samuel Huntington as ‘a Clash of Civilizations’, rather than as seen by Francis Fukuyama in ‘The End of History’, as the ultimate triumph of liberal democracy.

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