George Clooney's statement sent to Hungary's leftist Telex.hu news site has exposed the actor's lack of information and knowledge.
Speaking about hatred in a recent interview with GQ magazine, Hollywood actor George Clooney mentioned Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro.
Some media outlets in Hungary have suggested that Clooney came to criticise Viktor Orban because he maintains a friendly relationship with the family of US stock market speculator George Soros.
Migration, the connection to Soros
In a statement published by a leftist media outlet called Telex, the actor did not deny that he is acquainted with the Soros family, providing a few subtle details regarding the nature of their relationship.
"I met George Soros once at a UN meeting with the President of the United States on the subject of the refugee crisis. I met his son Alex once at an event in Davos," the statement says. "That is the extent of my communication with George Soros," the statement reads.
However, Mr Clooney failed to disclose that the topic he discussed with the young heir to the throne of Soros's empire was migration.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) set up by the actor provides significant grants to migrants in Africa and the Middle East.
Even if Clooney is not officially in direct contact with George Soros's Open Society Foundations (OSF), there appear to be a number of "coincidental" overlaps.
CFJ's legal director is Anna Neistat, who has spent years working for organisations funded by Soros, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Institute.
The actor's wife, Amal Clooney published a report on Egypt's judiciary in 2014. The project was also supported by OSF's regional office for Arabic countries.
George Clooney's statement also reveals that he knows nothing about Hungary, and his knowledge of history appears to be rather incomplete. He wrote that paid his first visit to Hungary when it was still part of the Soviet Union, but Hungary was in fact never part of the Soviet Union.
Clooney's big lie about the media situation in Hungary
Clooney also claimed that "the Orban regime owns all the media" and "silences the free press".
Contrary to his claim, the fact is that there are more opposition media outlets in Hungary in 2020 than in 2010 when Orban's second government won the elections. A study published this September shows that around the same number of people get their information from conservative and leftist-liberal sources. Their rate in the conservative category is 84 per cent (or 6.8 million people), while it amounts to 83 per cent in the leftist-liberal category, which translates into 6.7 million people. The numbers also suggest that a significant portion of the people take an active interest in the news on both sides.
The number of leftist-liberal media sources has been growing steadily since 2010, rising from 33 to 48 by 2020, a 45 per cent increase.
444.hu, for example, was established in Hungary in 2013. It is often referred to as George Soros's blog, as Marie Nemcova, former programme director of the Open Society Foundations in Prague, sits on the board of directors of Magyar Jeti Zrt, 444's publisher. She now works as a chief operating officer at the Media Development and Investment Fund, also affiliated with Soros.
Azonnali.hu, atlatszo.hu, and Telex.hu – established by the outgoing employees of the largest leftist-liberal portal Index.hu – were also created between 2010 and 2020, that is, under the right-wing Fidesz government.
Telex's launch was supported by one of the largest Czech media companies, Economia, by two hundred thousand euros, a story V4NA has covered earlier.
Hungary's Telex news portal has announced on Facebook that it would soon receive a grant of 200,000 euros from the Czech Republic for its launch....
The table below shows how the situation of government-critical media has changed in Hungary between 2010 and 2020.
Media pluralism is also prevalent in Hungary's television sector. According to Nielsen's (commonly accepted) viewership data, in week 36, ten of the top 30 most watched programmes ran on TV2, which is said to have ties to the government, while 9 were broadcast by RTL Klub, a station critical of the government. The list also included several programmes of the leftist ATV channel. More recently, on week 47, the top 30 most-watched shows included broadcasts from both sides.
Perhaps even more important is the viewership of the news programmes of the two major commercial channels. Between 16 and 22 November this year, TV2's news programme reached 897,269 people, while the government-critical RTL Klub's evening news were watched by 883,816 viewers in the same range of measurement and conditions.
In addition, the media1.hu blog, which is also considered an portal siding with the opposition, reported this week that left-leaning media outlets including RTL Klub, Nepszava and ATV, had also significantly profited from ad campaigns sponsored by the government.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto also responded to George Clooney's statements.
"We like and appreciate George Clooney as an actor. He is among the very best in his profession, there is no question about that. However, it appears that Mr Clooney's historical and political knowledge is – how shall I put it – somewhat limited, and it is also apparent that he basically gets his information from the international mainstream media. There's obviously nothing wrong with that, what else could he do? All in all, we like him as an actor, but we have our own opinion about his political knowledge," the minister said.
Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga also penned a graceful reply to Clooney's remarks.
"Next time George Clooney visits us, I will be happy to invite him for a cup of real coffee and even inform him about the real situation of the Hungarian rule of law - if he is interested in the facts. I promise I will not criticise him publicly regarding the anomalies of the American film industry, as I have as much information about it as he does about the political situation in Central Europe. Reality. What else Mr. Clooney?" the minister wrote on her Facebook page.