Capturing the Media: Similarities Between Viktor Orbán’s and Donald Trump’s Media Aspirations

Adam Klein


This work explores the parallels forming between today’s Hungarian and American right by investigating the media bases of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and former President Donald Trump. The study begins with a political economy analysis of Hungary’s Central European Press and Media Foundation (KESMA) and the more loosely formed media of the Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement. Through a process examined here, known as media capture, these media markets have been steadily transformed by loyalists of Orbán and Trump and have become saturated in the narratives of their “illiberal state” and “America First” movements. The study then cross-analyzes 1,360 headlines emanating from eight representative KESMA and MAGA outlets. The findings reveal the Orbán and Trump media to be producing parallel narratives, linking antiliberal, antimulticultural, and antiglobalist themes. In this converging brand of far-right-illiberal populism, liberals are presented, not as ideological foes, but as universal enemies of the state.


media capture, far-right populism, illiberalism, Orbánism, Trumpism

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