The December 14th issue of Lokál, the free Budapest tabloid of Orbán’s media empire had reached a new low. 15 of its 16 pages were covered in ads, and a single page was dedicated to photos illustrating the article “Opposition vandalism set fire to Budapest”
Only two pages had private ads on them (Tesco bought the front page), the rest were state-sponsored:
(The so-called “national consultations” are multi-million euro, taxpayer funded questionnaires sent to every household to spread Orbán’s favored talking points of the day. They are accompanied by billboard and ad campaigns, online and off, providing Orbán with plenty of opportunity to furnish his favored media outlets with fat state sponsorship. The state often pays multiple times the list price. This new campaign is trying to strike a conciliatory tone after the brutal election campaign and the 3-year migrant scaremongering (sans actual migrants). This one appears to be asking about people’s opinion on how women should be made to birth more. Isn’t it sweet?)
Apart from the birthing push…
- 4.5 pages are dedicated the state-run electricity monopoly, MVM
- 2.5 pages to the national public utilities,
- 1 page for the student loan company,
- 0.5 page for the national lottery, the national railways and the state-run public transport company of Budapest (all monopolies).
The only “article” in the thing is a 500-character tweet titled “Opposition vandalism set fire to Budapest” calling protesters an aggressive mob, and accusing them with using tear gas against the police. Apart from that the quick piece uses synonyms of ‘mob’ approximately eight times, and repeats the centrally written and centrally distributed Party line about how the opposition is lying about the new labor code (commonly knows as the “slave law” that triggered these protests).
Lokál is printed in 150 000 copies and freely distributed on Budapest public transport. It was one of the 476 media titles that offered themselves as a gift to Orbán’s media holding company on the same day in November. Seriously.
It begs the question, what is the point of printing those 16×150000 pages anymore? It doesn’t even carry enough propaganda to warrant publication – the same piece of “news”, word for word, is published, printed and read on each in every Orbán media outlet. Couldn’t they just pocket the money and leave the trees alone?
And the thing is not free, by any measure. It was paid for by the taxpayers.
You can see the whole edition in a photo gallery here.