Jobbik in Mainstream Media

Jobbik appears to have first entered mainstream Hungarian news in May 2005, when Heti Világgazdaság, the third most widely read newspaper in the country, profiled the new “resistance movement” that intended to run in the upcoming 2006 parliamentary election.Szabolcs Dudás, “A Jobbik ellenállási mozgalma,” Heti Világgazdaság (Budapest), November 9, 2005, http://hvg.hu/velemeny/20051109mohai2. Prior to 2004, however, the only English-language coverage of Jobbik occurred in academic journals focused on “euro-skepticism” and anti-Semitism in Europe.Euroscepticism in Hungary, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, April 12, 2003, https://www.policysolutions.hu/userfiles/elemzes/178/euroscepticism_in_hungary_summary.pdf; Journal for the Study of Antisemitism 3, no. 2 (2012): 361-584, http://web.ceu.hu/jewishstudies/jsa.pdf. In a 2004 review of Hungary’s political system, Freedom House briefly mentioned Jobbik as a new “controversial” right-wing movement.“Nations in Transit – Hungary,” Freedom House, 2004, https://freedomhouse.org/report/nations-transit/2004/hungary.

Following the 2006 elections, in which Jobbik received 2.4 percent of the vote, more mainstream English-language news sites began writing about the far-right party. A September 2006 English article by the German website Spiegel Online International discussed the “right-extremist” Jobbik party supporters who participated in anti-government protests that month.László Perczel, “Hungary Prepares for Renewed Unrest,” Spiegel Online International, September 19, 2006, http://www.spiegel.de/international/riots-in-hungary-hungary-prepares-for-renewed-unrest-a-437991.html. Following Jobbik’s creation of the paramilitary “Hungarian Guard” in August 2007, Reuters, Spiegel Online International, and the New York Times all ran articles describing the party as either “fascist,” “extremist,” or “far-right” while comparing the organization’s dress and conduct to Nazis and Hungarian fascists during World War II.“Neo-Fascist Magyar Garda Is 'Hungary's Shame',” Spiegel Online International, August 27, 2007, http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/the-world-from-berlin-neo-fascist-magyar-garda-is-hungary-s-shame-a-502184.html; David Chance, “Hundreds join Hungary far-right ‘guard’,” Reuters, October 21, 2007, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hungary-farright/hundreds-join-hungary-far-right-guard-idUSL2141447820071021; David Chance and Krisztine Than, “Hungary far right forms ‘guard’ amid Jewish protest,” Reuters, August 25, 2007, https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-hungary-farright/hungary-far-right-forms-guard-amid-jewish-protest-idUKL2550064920070825; Nicholas Kulish, “Hungarian Extremists Reflect Discontent, and Add to It,” New York Times, October 24, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/24/world/europe/24hungary.html. Gabor Vona’s 2014 announcement that Jobbik would begin “moderating” was also widely covered in English media, albeit with heavy skepticism. The German Deutsche Welle ran an April 2015 report on Jobbik’s electoral success, citing analysts’ claims that the party’s “moderating” image helped it secure parliamentary seats. Still, Deutsche Welle referred to Jobbik as “far-right” and “extremists.”Csaba Tibor Toth, “Hungarian far right pushes moderate image - and wins,” Deutsche Welle, April 13, 2015, http://www.dw.com/en/hungarian-far-right-pushes-moderate-image-and-wins/a-18378981. Reuters ran a similar article in the same month, both discussing Jobbik’s claimed moderation while describing the party as “condemned throughout Europe as anti-Semitic and racist.”Marton Dunai, “Hungary's Jobbik drops some hardline policies in push for power,” Reuters, April 14, 2015, https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-hungary-farright/hungarys-jobbik-drops-some-hardline-policies-in-push-for-power-idUKKBN0N520V20150414. An August 2015 op-ed in the Washington Post took a much harder line against Jobbik. European political expert Cas Muddle claimed “although Jobbik is campaigning with a more moderate image than Fidesz, there is no doubt that Jobbik would implement some fundamentally different policies in key areas,” including leaving the European Union and undermining the rights of Hungarian minorities. Cas Muddle, “Is Hungary run by the radical right?,” Washington Post, August 10, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2015/08/10/is-hungary-run-by-the-radical-right/?utm_term=.23f6eb93c53e. In January 2017, Israel’s Haaretz published an article on Jobbik’s attempts to reconcile with Hungary’s Jewish population, referring to the party as “anti-Semitic” and “ultra-nationalist.”“Anti-Semitic Hungarian Party Embraces Israel and Jews,” Haaretz (Tel Aviv), January 12, 2017, https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/anti-semitic-hungarian-party-embraces-israel-and-jews-1.5485311. An April 2018 article in Foreign Policy, on the other hand, acknowledged that Jobbik’s rebranding resulted in changes in the party’s rhetoric and policy. Critics, however, remained skeptical of whether the changes were sincere or just a political calculation to avoid obscurity after Fidesz had co-opted many of Jobbik’s major policies and messages.Emily Schultheis, “How Hungary’s Far-Right Extremists Became Warm and Fuzzy,” Foreign Policy, April 6, 2018, https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/04/06/how-hungarys-far-right-extremists-became-warm-and-fuzzy/.

Aside from appearing on Jobbik’s official YouTube channel, “jobbikmedia,” Vona’s speeches also appeared on YouTube under the channel “ultramedia48” until 2014 when the channel “nemzeti1tv” began hosting the videos.“nemzeti1tv,” YouTube page, accessed January 24, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/user/nemzeti1tv/videos; “ultramedia48,” YouTube page, accessed January 24, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/user/ultramedia48/videos. Both “ultramedia48” and “nemzeti1tv” share right-wing political videos, with “nemzeti1tv” serving as the official YouTube channel for the right-wing Hungarian news channel Nemzeti 1.“Video,” Jobbik, accessed February 28, 2018, https://www.jobbik.com/video.