Late to this long, in-depth tour de force by Elisabeth Zerofsky into why Tucker Carlson (and other US conservative radicals) favour Hungary's Viktor Orban in NYT Magazine. I do, however, think the piece is far too soft on both Carlson and his Magyar hero 1/
The piece does note that Carlson “evinced little familiarity with the internal affairs of Hungary” - which is true. But the thing is, he made no attempt to find out 2/
Although he certainly talked about seemingly random meetings with Orban sympathisers during his week-long stay in Orbanistan, he strangely failed to find any opponents, and this despite Budapest being the largest centre of anti-Orban, liberal-left supporters in the country 3/
Perhaps an even bigger betrayal of traditional centre-right democrats, Carlson totally ignored those conservatives who have seen through Orban's misuse of acceptable patriotism and deliberate exaggeration of national grievances to keep his supporters frothing with anger so.. 4/
..he can step by step trash democratic norms and enrich his small coterie of family and oligarchs. Such disaffected conservatives may be a small slice of Hungary's electorate, but they certainly exist and the Hungarian capital is also their centre of gravity 5/
In similar vein, the piece points to the contradiction of US conservative writer Rod Dreher and others claiming that in Hungary “there is true freedom; no online vigilante mob is waiting to deprive people of their livelihood for uttering a wrong word”, while noting.. 6/
“This freedom does not extend to the journalists who’ve had their phones surveilled by the Hungarian government or been taken in for questioning by the Hungarian police.” But this is just the ugliest tip of the Orban press-control iceberg in Hungary 7/
Non-Fidesz journalists are frequently ignored by the Govt and ministries, while their publishers find that not only do they never receive the generous state company advertising which litters their subservient competitors, but even independent, non-state players are afraid.. 8/
to place an ad for fear of losing a state subsidy or suffer a tax inspection 9/
The piece certainly points readers to a good number of ugly scabs on the body of Orban's illiberal-conservatism - all of which Carlson so willfully ignored - but there remain plenty more of such for anyone prepared to look

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More from @Mij_Europe

30 Oct
The spin and translation imposed on the French PM’s letter is misleading. The bulk of the letter - 98% to use a topical figure – is asking Brussels to ensure that the UK respects its post Brexit deal 1/
The last line of the first page says it “is essential to  demonstrate to European public opinion that respect for formal commitments is not negotiable and that  leaving the Union has more disadvantages than remaining within it.” The first part of this sentence has been cut from..
..the translation to make it sound harsher. Castex is not calling for Britain to be “damaged by Brexit”. He is saying that European public opinion must see that the UK is made to respect its legal promises and therefore understand that leaving the EU is more painful than positive
Read 4 tweets
26 Oct
The EU's rule of law crisis with Poland is now not so much an issue of East vs West, but West vs West—with Angela Merkel directly squaring off against her Northern European allies over how to resolve the stand-off—& a weak European Commission President caught in the middle 1/
In the run up to last week’s EUCO, it wasn't even clear whether the issue would feature on the leader’s agenda. @eucopresident proposed a 10-min slot to allow @MorawieckiM @vonderleyen & @MinPres to intervene - something I understand the Chancellery pushed hard to kill 2/
As it happens, Poland/RoL is so controversial every leader intervened. The Polish threat is essentially: ‘Give us money without conditions so we can peacefully build an autocracy within the EU or we will wreck your Union’. Morawiecki’s intervention at EP was particularly shocking
Read 25 tweets
22 Oct
Every day brings a new French opinion poll and the presidential election is still 6 months away. Today’s poll is more interesting than most – the second deep dive by @lemondefr, Ispos and Sciences Po into a big, permanent sample of over 16,000 people 1/…
On the surface, the results more or less match other recent polls, which are based on much smaller samples. Macron is at 24% in first round voting intentions, the xenophobic pundit Eric Zemmour is second on 16-16.5%, Marine Le Pen third on about 15% 2/
The Le Monde mega-poll – the first since April – also confirms that Xavier Bertrand, president of the northern French region, has the most nationwide support of the contenders in the closed primary of the centre-right party, Les Républicains, on 4 Dec 3/
Read 8 tweets
21 Oct
Has the @ZemmourEric bubble burst? Who knows - but it’s no longer floating upwards. A new poll this afternoon by OpinionWay for Les Echos puts the xenophobic pundit at 13% of voting intentions in 1st round of Fr pres elex in April. Other recent surveys have put him at 14-17% 1/
Poll below. Rumours earlier this week of an unpublished poll putting Zemmour at 21% have proved unfounded. After tripling his support in a month, Zemmour’s score has scarcely moved in the last fortnight. Has he reached his ceiling? Too early to be sure 2/…
The Opinionway poll puts @EmmanuelMacron at top of 1st round voting intentions on 25% - roughly his score in all recent polls. The traditional Far Right in shape of Le Pen comes second on 18%, followed by Zemmour and poss centre right standard bearer Xavier Bertrand on 12% 3/
Read 4 tweets
19 Oct
Today @EU_Commission formally begins its “reflection/review” of EU fiscal rules. This is a BIG deal. The outcome will basically determine whether EU faces a fiscal cliff in 2023 or not. Short thread on 5 (worrying?) trends to watch that'll decisively shape how debate plays out 1/
1/ Process: As always in EU, key to substance. Fiscal hawks @VDombrovskis & Northern European member states want @EU_Commission annual fiscal surveillance cycle (starting next Apr) & fiscal review to be decoupled. Put diff: to default to old rules while new ones are worked out 2/
.@PaoloGentiloni believes momentum behind reform will be stronger if Commission’s surveillance & reflection are linked. Makes sense: why would @EU_Commission go back to old rules if it was clear they were changing? Whoever wins this process point will be 1/2 way on substance 3/
Read 11 tweets
15 Oct
The @EU_Commission @MarosSefcovic package create a big headache for @BorisJohnson & @DavidGHFrost - because they go further than both were expecting

But senior sources say UKG is still not resolved on compromise or conflict - & see risks & opportunities in both 1/
Without such a significant offer, UK ministers believe Johnson would have triggered Article 16, probably by end-November, to suspend all or (more likely) part of protocol. But UKG now has no choice but to seriously engage in talks - not just go through the motions 2/
Johnson’s allies think movement on ECJ will be needed to tip balance in favour of peace vs war, but this is something EU will find VERY difficult to do. How can Bxl offer ECJ concessions on SM/goods to 3rd country while insisting on court's writ with member states (ie Poland)? 3/
Read 12 tweets

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