This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of January, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of broadcasting: 5 January 2020
Media outlet: HírTV
Author: Zsolt Bayer, founding member of Fidesz and TV host
Description of the racist and anti-Muslim content: On HírTV, Zsolt Bayer played a video that he describes as showing “a white Swedish boy” being robbed and humiliated by “two migrants”. The video shown by Bayer was originally published by the Swedish anti-migrant news outlet Samhällsnytt, which took it from the internet to publish as a news story. Bayer calls the harassers “black animals” and questions whether they belong in the country: “they are animals. How did they get here and how long can they stay?”. He wonders why “the society would not demand the immediate cleansing of these black animals, in the strictest sense of the word”. He continues by stating that “they would most likely be excused, as we have already seen”. To reinforce this claim, he mentions that a few years ago a Swedish woman activist “who rescued and nursed migrants” was, according to Bayer, raped and murdered by migrants. Bayer’s dismay increases when he adds that the woman's father “used the funeral to take the side of the migrants and explain that no one should be angry.” To avoid accusations of racism, Bayer says that he is not attacking people on the basis of their skin colour, and that in the past he denounced the abuses of US soldiers who took photos of themselves urinating on the corpses of members of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bayer also underlines many times that the video was filmed in Sweden: “This is Sweden, ladies and gentlemen”. He claims that this video is proof that “Swedish society has been made so stupid as to not care about it [what happens in this video, and the migration that is causing it]”, and compares this state of a “silenced” and “dumbed down” society, where anything can be done to them without any consequences, to Nazi and Communist regimes.
Myth Debunked: According to psychology scholar Nick Haslam, calling people “animals” means ascribing depravity, disagreeableness and stupidity to them, in contrast to humans, who are moral, civil and intelligent. Historically labels of animalisation have been directed towards black people as an instrument of inferiorisation. When the word animal is used to refer to a person of colour, as well as a migrant, it constitutes a racist dehumanisation. Zsolt Bayer’s words “black animals” are unequivocally racist, and his comments referring to cleansing reproduce the discourse of far-right authoritarian regimes, including Nazi Germany. The use of a video from Sweden is significant. In the Hungarian propaganda media, Sweden (as well as Germany and France) has become the poster child of the dangers of migration. Scaremongering stories from these countries are used daily to show why migration should be heavily restricted. Indirectly, they are supporting Viktor Orbán's government agenda, based on a long-standing hostility toward refugees and migrants. Zsolt Bayer is a founding member of Hungary's ruling Fidesz party. Far-right media in the US and Europe, as well as RT, obsessively show crimes committed by migrants. Picked up from liberal media, the individual stories are generally true, but they are used to support broader harmful narratives that grossly misrepresent the character of Muslim and migrant communities.
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