Election 2022 / The Poor Mental State of Fidesz Media

Did Fidesz create its own Anonymous?

Taking over most of the media was apparently not enough. They need an authentic voice.

The most exciting event preceding Fidesz’ 2019 municipal election defeat was the appearance of an anonymous whistleblower called The Devil’s Advocate.

Its blog leaked a video of Fidesz mayor Borkai, doing pros on a yacht in Croatia. The video was just the spoonful of sugar that made the real news go down: a years-old corruption case involving the aforementioned mayor that had been well-documented in the media at the time. All it needed was some sex, apparently, to capture the attention of the nation. Some credit Fidesz’ election defeat to the anonymous leaks – although that is almost definitely an overstatement. Then The Devil’s Advocate disappeared – but its lessons were not lost on Fidesz.

By 2020 Fidesz has taken over most of the Hungarian media through cronies. Orbán also controls the public broadcaster and his men started new channels of countless, centrally financed influencers to retake the public narrative and appeal to so-called youth.

And yet, they lack the means of making a gossip take root outside of the confines of their own media. They needed a way to force independent media to report about their smear campaigns. So Fidesz’ Anonymous was born. Of course there is no proof that Anonymous was done by Fidesz, he just happens to do what Orbán needs done.

Its first “leak” was an outrage campaign against an opposition politician and her wedding. It was lame and failed to show any genuinely outrageous things, but if you say anything in conspiratorial tone, it will sound like a conspiracy.

The second was a (belated) smear against the opposition mayor of Budapest, accusing him of trying to sell the city hall to make up for the shortfall of government subsidies that stopped coming the day Budapest went to the opposition. Belated because the Budapest mayor didn’t become the leader of the united opposition and the leak was prepared and timed to hit him right after his candidacy was announced. Now it just looks sad and pointless – the real mark is still walking without any accusations lobbed at him.

Pro-government media workers are no doubt hard at work, trying to find dirt on him or create some if they can’t find any. And Fidesz’ Anonymous will no doubt remain active in the last couple of months until the elections.

As of the city hall rumors, we now know that businessmen are interested in buying the property. It is not a great surprise, new developments in the same street were just sold at record prices and the location couldn’t be more central in case someone wanted a luxury hotel. As of the transparency of tenders and deals – that is something Fidesz can not claim the moral high ground about. If anything, it was interesting to see how businessmen of all political affiliations were involved in the backroom deals – according to the leaks.

But the recordings that were leaked are more interesting because of how they were made. According to one of the businessmen they must have been made by secret service tools, and they were heavily edited out of context.

Anyway, the Anonymous smear will work because even the independent media is now forced to deal with them. To quote a classic…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.