With Hungary’s domestic food inflation rate more than double the EU average, public opinion in the country is increasingly blaming the EU’s sanctions policy instead of the economic policies of the government, according to a new Publicus Institute poll commissioned by Népszava.
The poll’s results demonstrate the power of government propaganda to shape the narrative on this issue, alleges the Hungarian daily. Last December, 47% of Hungarians believed that Brussels was responsible for the rise in prices in Hungary, but this number had grown to 63% in February.
Poll respondents were divided into three categories: pro-government, opposition, and undecided. The proportion of those who blame Brussels increased in all three groups, but most significantly among the undecided, where it jumped from 38% to 57%.
Other results from the poll showed changes in public opinion regarding inflation on food products:
- Last year, 86% of Hungarians considered the country’s weak currency responsible for price increases, but now only 75% believe this is a factor
- Also last year, 74% of the population thought that government’s economic policy had contributed to the rise in prices, while today this ratio is only 65%.
- The proportion of those who blame retail stores for higher food prices increased, from 63% last year to 77% now, but even this may be attributed to propaganda from the government. As HVG notes, the Economic Competition Office recently made an intense effort to investigate the reason for high prices in Hungary’s retail outlets. [HVG]
All of the brief articles are of importance and suggest the success of the current regime. Not unlike the “hard” or even “soft” communist rule, this regime has successfully brain washed many Hungarians. How is this possible? Part of the regime success is in their capture of the print press and television/radio (where most Hungarians receive their “news”). For example, months of regime propaganda directed against retail stores has been successful in persuading many Hungarians that the retail stores are responsible for the very high inflation. Of course, the actual reasons for inflation are far more complicated and, in part, the highest inflation in Europe is due to regime economic policies. As George Orwell predicted, those who controls the media can manufacture “truth” and “facts”. Again, this result is not much different in terms of outcomes when one remembers similar “achievements” under communism.
Fair comparison, Misi, thanks for the comment!
I forgot to highlight the quote of the day at very end of of the newsletter. That “Freudian slip” by regime figure only underscores the importance of regime control of the media.
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