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History As It Happens

Aug 12, 2021

Fox News' host Tucker Carlson's weeklong visit to Hungary to tout the rule of prime minister Viktor Orbán raised some pressing questions. What is it about this right-wing authoritarian that so enthralls some Americans on the right? Since returning to power in 2010, Orbán and his ruling Fidesz party have changed election laws to their own benefit, clamped down on press freedom, rejected Muslim immigrants, enraged the E.U., and -- arguably most unsettling of all -- invoked not the country’s escape from Communist authoritarianism in 1989 but its fascist past under Miklos Horthy, an antisemite and Christian nationalist who was directly complicit in Hungary's role in the Holocaust. In this episode, we examine how Orbán uses and misuses history to build a narrative about "true Hungarians." And we discuss where Hungary fits in what is perceived as a larger pattern of backsliding democracy in Central and Eastern Europe.