Two daring Hungarians, Lab Rat 1 and Lab Rat 2 embarked upon the crazy quest to compare the parallel universes Hungarian media consumers live in. One of them read the government media – so you don’t have to. The other read the remaining few outlets of the non-Fidesz media.
This is a very dangerous human experiment, children – DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!
The experiment asked the question “Does the Orbán media alter reality?”
For one week Lab Rat 1 decided to follow the online media controlled by Fidesz, in order to find out what kind of reality they offer.
Lab Rat 1 followed the media diet of a Hungarian man aged 30-45, who is not a political junkie, but still follows current affairs. He doesn’t really speak foreign languages, and he is thus not interested in reading foreign news outlets. He is a Fidesz voter, who doesn’t trust the liberal or left wing media (or what he perceives as such), and therefore follows mostly Origo, Magyar Nemzet, Pesti Srácok, Magyar Hírlap and 888.hu. He also sometimes checks the news site of the state broadcaster. He doesn’t watch news on television, but he when he does, it’s either the Hírtv / Echo TV Tények or the public TV. Our imaginary person doesn’t use social media very much – but if he did, he would get news shared by his fellow right wing friends or the right wing groups he would be member of in Facebook. He checks the news on his phone during his daily commute or during lunch hours on his computer. Sometimes he only has time to read the headlines – just like many people who share articles on Facebook without actually reading them.
Lab Rat 2, in the meantime, stayed safely out of harm’s way reading exclusively independent media outlets.
Lab Rat 2 follows the same media consuming behavior, but from the sources that are not (yet) bought by Fidesz’ media conglomerate (which turned into one, giant company exactly this week). Given the imbalance in the number of titles on the two sides, Lab Rat 2 had an easier job. There were only index.hu, 444.hu, 24.hu and hvg.hu to follow – the latter three being extremely underfinanced and thus rarely update. Lab Rat 2 imitates the media consumption habit of the same demographic – but reads sources that are not yet Orbán’s. He reads international news, but the experiment will only compare Hungarian titles.
Lab Rat 2 will then look at the Fidesz media headlines of the day submitted by Lab Rat 1 and see if the independent media has written anything about the same topics. Then he will add what the independent media was talking about instead.
This is not a scientific experiment, but we tried to make it as realistic as possible.
Day 1 – 28 February
|A new video shows that Jobbik’s Márton Gyöngyösi wanted to declare war on Israel (Origo)|
|EPP: Three more parties initiated to expel Fidesz from EPP (Index.hu)|
|The opposition wants to establish an alternative parliament (Magyar Nemzet)|
|Opposition took over Szombathely city council (Index.hu) Fidesz councilors lock themselves in and block the door with a plotted plant (444.hu)
The opposition became majority and voted to remove head of local TV – Fidesz calls it pro-migration coalition (Index.hu)
|41 people have used bycicle adventure park built in 2015 by Magyar Aszfalt, a crony contractor (24.hu, Index.hu)|
|Public procurement advisors outraged as the state enters the market (Index.hu)|
|Fear of Kashmir (Magyar Nemzet)||Indian prime minister calls people to battle (Index.hu)|
|The NER’s favourite marketing companies contract with ELTE (Index.hu)|
|“Two people operated on in the same theatre” Hospital anecdote series starts on 444.hu|
|Minister Kásler admitted 24000 people have died last year because of the long hospital waiting lists (444.hu)|
|Benedek Jávor comfirms that the European Commission does supply migration cards, but for refugees, not migrants (Magyar Nemzet)|
|Downtown council properties can now be sold under value to anyone, not just legal tenants – Fidesz found a way to speed up the selling of local municipality properties under market value (444.hu)|
|Trump may lose trade war against China (portfolio.hu)|
|We can lose weight without starvation and inflicting pain on ourselves (Origo)||What can you do against constant carb-craving (Velvet)|
|Bongo the Monkey scams families with children for thousands – what does Bongo know about you? (Ripost)|
|Matolcsy-plan: 330 point economic plan by central bank president unveiled. Analysis on its target to push foreign investors out of the government bond market and get Hungarians put their savings into govt bonds (portfolio.hu)|
|Gyurcsány’s journalist calls Hungarians a fiction and compares Orbán to Hitler (888.hu)|
|16 border guards arrested for corruption (Index.hu)|
|Jihadists who have returned to Sweden has started to recruit new Islamic fighters (888.hu)|
|Firing an employee for her political opinion was illegal – court ruling (Index.hu)|
|Nanushka is helped by world famous model (Lokál)|
|Spar workers’ union threatens walkout (Index.hu)|
|Jobbik’s Márton Gyöngyösi wanted to declare war on Israel (Lokál)|
|Physics: EMC-effect has experimental theory (Index.hu)|
|The Soroses spend billions on immigration (Lokál)|
|8 tons of gold stolen from Venezuelan central bank (Index.hu)|
|No agreement between Trump and Kim – the summit has ended (Lokál)||For Trump and Kim reality strikes back (Index.hu)|
|Sziijártó : Europe will become strong when it will a Europe of families ( Hírtv)|
|Lőrinc Mészáros used same private plane as Orbán on vacation (Index.hu)|
|Constitutional Court: Stop Soros is not unconstitutional – rejects complaint by Amnesty International (Hírtv)||Hungary’s Stop Soros Act given green light by Constitutional Court
Constitutional court finds last year’s Stop Soros Act does not violate Hungary’s Base Law.
|18 corrupt highway-police arrested in Győr (index.hu)|
|Long reads on:
– a town in the Monarchy (index.hu),
– doctors’ use of placebo (index.hu),
– Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (index.hu),
– CO2 turned into coal in Australia (index.hu),
– doctor blows the whistle on the inadequacy of hospital waiting lists to measure the state of healthcare (444)
Conclusion of the day:
- Fidesz media didn’t even mention Fidesz’ adventures in the EPP. It dominated the independent media last week. This was only the beginning – see when Fidesz media finally reacts and how.
- Independent media has a lot more international news – and not just scaremongering about Muslims wrecking the West.
- Fidesz media doesn’t seem to care about domestic crime stories – despite relying heavily on tabloid content to draw in readers.
- Fidesz media doesn’t mention corruption. Not just Orbán’s but any kind. Last week there were stories about police, border guards and fake tax men arrested in an anti-corruption sweep – not a word on Fidesz media, not even bragging.
- Independent media has long reads on science and whistleblower reports
- Independent media has generally broader coverage – in outlets that can afford more journalists. HVG.hu rarely updates (which is shocking considering its role as the leading economic weekly – a bit like The Economist – in Hungary) while 444.hu is just a well-staffed blog with good journalists but maybe a dozen or two articles a day.
- Fidesz media doesn’t even deny Orbán’s private jet and private yacht reports. Not sure their readers have even heard that the Prime Minister proudly admitted to always having been travelling like that and always will be…
- 444.hu issued a call for sad-funny hospital stories today. The state of the healthcare system has been a huge issue for a long time. People especially like to compare it with the insane spending on sport (football, in particular, and dozens of megalomaniac stadiums in Hungary and abroad).
March 1 next…