- Tucker Carlson interviewed Hungary’s authoritarian leader, Viktor Orbán, last week.
- Hungary initially scrubbed negative references to Chinese leader Xi Jinping from the transcript.
- Orbán has friendly ties with Xi, and it’s become a liability ahead of Hungary’s 2022 elections.
As he was broadcasting from Hungary last week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson presented the Central European country as “freer” than the US and a model for the West.
It’s since come to light that a question Carlson asked during an interview with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán about Chinese leader Xi Jinping was scrapped from the official transcript Hungarian officials sent to reporters, which was first pointed out by Ben Novak of the New York Times. Orbán has a close relationship with Beijing, which has emerged as a thorny issue with the Hungarian leader facing elections in 2022, and has downplayed the Chinese government’s human rights abuses.
During the interview, Carlson described Xi as a leader who’s “murdered many of his political opponents.” Orbán avoided the issue and changed the subject.
After Novak highlighted the exclusion of any reference to China or its leader, Hungarian officials sent out second transcript that included the full interview, per Politico Playbook.
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
Orbán is an authoritarian leader openly admired by some prominent American conservatives, who view the Hungarian prime minister as a more successful and politically savvy version of former President Donald Trump.
The Hungarian leader has packed the nation’s courts with allies, gamed the electoral system to favor his political party, and shored up control of Hungary’s media ecosystem. Orbán pushes an ethnonationalist ideology – presenting himself as a defender of Christianity while promoting what he refers to as “illiberal democracy” in his nation of 9.6 million citizens.
Carlson portrayed Orbán as a pro-family leader who defends his borders, whitewashing the autocratic policies of the Hungarian leader’s government.