Why is Tucker Carlson in Hungary? Fox News host to broadcast from Budapest for a week
Fox News host Tucker Carlson will be broadcasting from Hungary during the first week of August. The controversial anchor is in Budapest, where he's got quite a schedule. For one, he met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Carlson is also scheduled to speak at a far-right rally backed by Orban. When he's not busy hobnobbing with extremists, he might just be talking about vaccines on 'Fox Nation'.
Perhaps one of the most controversial Fox News hosts, Carlson has been in the news a lot lately. In early June, we reported he was attempting a sit-down with Russian President Vladamir Putin. Reportedly, those efforts led the NSA to spy on him, a claim the agency denied. Carlson has also been raising significant questions about the Covid-19 vaccine, leading many to wonder if he has been vaxxed.
According to TIME, Carlson is America's most powerful conservative. He's been embraced by all sorts of conspiracy theorists, for raising questions about everything from the vaccine to the January 6 insurrection. So far though, Carlson has stopped short of embracing far-right views, but that is no longer the case. Carlson is in Hungary for a purpose. By most accounts, Orban is a dictator. VOA called Hungary "the first dictatorship in the EU", and EuroNews the nation a "semi-dictatorship". So why is Carlson even there?
Carlson's ties with Prime Minister Viktor Orban
We first got a glimpse of Carlson with Orban thanks to the Prime Minister's Facebook page. On August 1, Orban posted a photo with Carlson. Hours later, Carlson tweeted, "We’re in Budapest all this week for Tucker Carlson Tonight and a documentary for Tucker Carlson Originals. Don’t miss our first show here starting tonight at 8pm ET on #FoxNews." Along with that tweet, was another photo with Orban.
We’re in Budapest all this week for Tucker Carlson Tonight and a documentary for Tucker Carlson Originals. Don’t miss our first show here starting tonight at 8pm ET on #FoxNews pic.twitter.com/avZLoc0fD0— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) August 2, 2021
Carlson's ties with Orban go back much further than August 1 though. An Open Secrets investigation revealed Hungary paid a DC lobbying firm $265,000 in 2019, in part to arrange an interview on Carlson’s Fox News show. It's unclear if the money ever reached Carlson, but since 2019, the Fox News host has lauded him several times on his show. For example, in July 2019, Carlson praised Orban's anti-immigration policies in the face of declining birth rates. "Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, has a different idea. Instead of abandoning Hungary’s young people to the hard-edge libertarianism of Soros and the Clinton Foundation, Orban has decided to affirmatively help Hungarian families grow," he said. In February 2019, Hungary's foreign minister Peter Szijjarto appeared on Carlson's show.
Given that news, it should come as little surprise that Carlson will also make a stop at the MCC Feszt, a far-right rally supported by Orban. The New York Times described the MCC as a "government-funded plan to train a conservative future elite." On August 7, Carlson will give a speech titled 'The World According to Tucker Carlson' at the rally. It's unclear what Carlson's documentary is about, but if Orban met Carlson, he is likely to have a role in it.
Carlson isn't the first American conservative to be linked to the MCC. Back in December 2020, the group hosted an online conference where Dennis Prager made an appearance. Also at the conference were Harlan Hill, and Fox News host David Webb. In fact, Prager is also scheduled to speak at the MCC Feszt in Budapest. The news comes at a troubling time for Hungary, where Orban has been cracking down on press freedom and human rights using the pretext of Covid-19 misinformation. According to Reporters sans frontières, Hungary is currently ranked #92 in the world press freedom index.