The Obama administration is facing criticism and ridicule after a bizarre outburst by the John Kerry-led State Department urging Hungarian authorities to prop up a defunct Communist Party propaganda organ. In an official statement, the Obama administration, which recently attacked media diversity in the United States, echoed discredited conspiracy theories pushed by communists and called on anti-communist Hungarian officials to prop up the bankrupt newspaper — supposedly to preserve “media pluralism.” But the ownership of the far-left paper, known as Nepszabadsag, wants to shut it down, citing growing financial losses and plunging circulation figures.
It was not immediately clear why the Obama administration had an interest in saving a radical left-wing propaganda organ reviled by many Hungarians who suffered under communism. The State Department bureaucrat, though, speaking for the administration, claimed it was about ensuring that Hungarians are exposed to a “diversity” of “viewpoints.” Hungarians, of course, were exposed to the savage communist “viewpoint” for decades, having suffered tremendously under a ruthless, murderous Soviet puppet regime that sought to quash all dissent using intimidation, torture, and murder as tools.
The Obama administration also called on Hungarian authorities to “work closely” on “Freedom of the Media” with a bureaucrat from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a controversial United Nations partner organization founded and still partly controlled by brutal communist dictatorships that Obama invited to "monitor" U.S. elections. When and why using public money to prop up communist propaganda organs or even non-totalitarian media outlets became associated with “freedom of the media” was not immediately clear either.
But Obama's officials, standing with Hungary's re-branded Communist Party (now dubbed “Socialist”), were clear in expressing their displeasure with the bankruptcy and subsequent shuttering of the old communist mouthpiece in Hungary. “The United States shares the concerns of global press freedom advocates, international organizations, and Hungarian citizens, over the steady decline of media freedom in Hungary,” claimed Obama's Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner, echoing debunked conspiracy theories instead of offering specifics on which organizations or how media freedom in Hungary was declining.
“We are following closely the ... sudden closure of Hungary’s largest independent newspaper, Nepszabadsag, on October 8,” Toner continued, without explaining that its owner shut it down because it was losing money, or that it was an organ for totalitarian propaganda associated with the ruthless communist regime that enslaved Hungary. “The loss of this paper — regardless of the reason — is a blow to media pluralism in Hungary.”
Despite the communist-pushed conspiracy theories, the “reason” for closing the paper was that the ownership wanted to shut it down because, like establishment propaganda organs across the West, it was hemorrhaging money. Hungarian authorities properly pointed out that it would be “an infringement of the freedom of the press, if we were to have a say in the decisions of a media owner,” which it said had made a “rational economic decision” to shutter the money-losing newspaper.
The Obama State Department, though, called on Hungary's pro-Western, liberty-oriented government to work with globalist institutions to satisfy its extremist demands. “As a friend and ally, we encourage the Hungarian government to ensure an open media environment that exposes citizens to a diversity of viewpoints and opinions, a key component of our shared democratic values,” Toner concluded. “We urge Hungary to work closely with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and other experts towards this end.”
The most insightful analysis of the Obama administration's bizarre intervention in the case came from Daniel McAdams, executive director of the liberty-minded Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. In a column published online, McAdams noted that the paper, ironically named “People's Liberty,” was founded by the savage Hungarian Communist Party in 1956. That is the year when Hungarians, prodded by the U.S. government and assured of assistance, rose up against their barbarian rulers, only to be betrayed by Washington, D.C. and then slaughtered by the Kremlin's savage enforcers.
Ironically, the strange comments from the Obama administration came just a few days before the 60th anniversary of that uprising on October 2, 1956. On that date, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban rejected what he called the “Sovietization” of Europe led by the unelected European Union super-state. “People who love their freedom must save Brussels from Sovietization, from people who want to tell us who we should live within our countries,” Orban said as thousands cheered at the commemoration of the 1956 uprising against communist tyranny. “We want to be a European nation not a nationality within Europe.”
McAdams noted that for 30 years after that uprising, the newspaper Obama wants propped up served as the official mouthpiece of the mass-murdering puppet rulers of Hungary. Then, when the Berlin Wall came down, it was purchased by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG. “But while there was a system-change in Communist Party monopoly rule in Hungary, there was never a system-change in Hungary's former Communist Party mouthpiece,” McAdams explained.
In the years since, Hungarians have become increasingly anti-communist, with some 70 percent of voters supporting nationalist, anti-globalist, anti-communist parties. The “Socialist Party” successor of the communists, meanwhile, is imploding, with just 10 percent public support. “As might be expected when a political party implodes, readership and revenue of its mouthpiece also declines,” McAdams observed. “That is why Nepszabadsag racked up more than five billion forints ($17.6 plus million) in losses recently and its current owner, Mediaworks Hungary Zrt., decided to close the loss-leading publication.”
The whole situation would seem to be simple enough — the market rejected leftist propaganda, and so the paper should shut down. But it is not so simple, because the U.S. government, which has been propping up the re-branded communists to oppose Orban and his party, is not happy with the developments. “Yes, the Hungarian government according to Washington has an obligation to make sure private enterprises that happen to oppose it are flush with money and remain in operation,” McAdams said.
In a thought experiment, the liberty-minded analyst at the Ron Paul Institute wondered whether U.S. critics of U.S. government interventionism would be justified in demanding millions of tax dollars to keep their media operations afloat. “Or does American exceptionalism mean do as we say not as we do?” McAdams wondered rhetorically.
Indeed, it is even worse than that. While the Obama State Department worked to ensure that Hungarians still had access to communist propaganda that they did not want, there was no intervention from Washington on behalf on media outlets banned by the UN from its “global warming” conference. Canadian outlet The Rebel was refused credentials for the upcoming UN COP22 “climate” summit in Morocco. When confronted, the UN bureaucrat in charge, Nick Nuttall, argued that the Canadian news organization had views that were not “particularly helpful.” Even radical warmists in government and media were shocked by the UN's appalling attack on press freedom.
It gets even worse. Despite calls for government-enforced media “diversity” in Hungary by propping up communist propaganda organs, Obama is not as fond of media diversity in America. Indeed, closer to home, Obama recently lashed out at what he derided as the “wild, wild West” media landscape in America, outraged that “conspiracy theorists” and skeptics of the man-made global-warming theory had a platform to express themselves. He called for some sort of “curating function” to help define reality for Americans, expressing nostalgia for the days when just three establishment propaganda organs dominated the “news” and were “generally” trusted by Americans.
McAdams noted that Hungarians were then about to celebrate the 60th anniversary of their heroic uprising against bloody Soviet enslavement. “Perhaps having escaped diktat by Moscow only to fall prey to diktat from Washington and Brussels, Budapest should revisit that 1956 spirit and at least exit the anachronistic NATO alliance,” he added. “Maybe then Huexit?” While Orban has thus far defended EU membership, he has also denounced the “treasonous conspiracy” of “fanatical internationalists” out of Brussels to destroy nation-states, Christianity, and Western civilization.
Obama's intervention to save a communist propaganda organ is perhaps less shocking when one considers his own radical background. For instance, Obama launched his political career at the home of communist terrorist Bill Ayers, who was backed by Soviet puppet Fidel Castro while his terror group murdered police officers, bombed the Capitol and the State Department, and, according to the FBI operative who infiltrated the group, plotted to exterminate millions of anti-communist Americans in concentration camps.
It is time for Congress to rein in the increasingly lawless and radical bureaucracies and bureaucrats across the executive branch. The Obama administration has no business or authority to infringe on press freedom in the United States, Hungary, or anywhere else.