Secretive Adam LeBor and unknown friend complain about unfair criticism

In an article in European voice an unnamed author writes about the criticism levelled against the Economist authors.

For a start, the two correspondents in Budapest for The Economist – part of the same group as European Voice – both speak Hungarian and have lived there for years.

One of these correspondents is the secretive Adam LeBor, who also goes by the A.L.B. moniker and somewhat confusingly, also uses bpwriter nickname to comment on his own articles. I wonder why can’t he write simply as Adam LeBor in the comment section at least? We also learn that he speaks Hungarian and that he has an unknown pal, known as the ‘other’ Budapest correspondent for the Economist, who is also a Hungarian speaker. However this mysterious other correspondent, or “ghost”, is yet to contribute a single article, it seems. Every single post about Hungary on the Eastern Approaches is written by A.L.B. that is, Adam LeBor. There is no sign of the existence of another correspondent. Interesting.

But more importantly if the Economist is so secretive about their authors, how can they expected to be given them credit for speaking Hungarian? Adam LeBor seems trustworthy enough so if he says he speaks Hungarian I’ll tend to believe him, but what about the other guy? Who is he anyway and why didn’t he write a single piece for Eastern Approaches, even though Hungary was featured heavily there in the last few months.

There are also a few other interesting pieces of information in the European Voice article:

Just because some of the Hungarian government’s critics are mendacious and self-interested (which they are) does not mean that all criticism is ipso facto mendacious and self-interested.

Seems true enough, but you could help us out here and name some names. “Some critics” who are self-interested, sounds like it could be a decent number. Help us out here, and give some pointers as to who they are.

Anyone looking at the comments on The Economist website that articles about Hungary attract will quickly get a flavour of the local reaction to outsiders’ attempts to cover the country’s political and economic troubles. “What is the purpose of this article?” asks one Hungarian suspiciously: it can be only part of a plot to deter investors and tourists, he reckons.

Interesting, though not convincing. First of all we deserve a link to this post, if only part of is directly quoted. The rest is just summarized by the author, so why not link it? Don’t make me wade through all the comments just to find this one.

Allegations of Zionism, fascism, and communist collaboration fly around freely. (For the record: The Economist is not run by Jews; nor are we the propaganda arm of the international bankers’ plot.)

“The Economist is not run by Jews”, well that’s not hard to imagine, since one of the most prominent Hungarian politicians of Jewish decent, was attacked by you guys in a borderline anti-semitic fashion calling him “Hungary’s terrorizer” on twitter or something like that. By the way if you hide the identity of your authors it hardly inspires massive confidence. You are then left with the content of your writings, which are indeed out of touch in a couple instances.

‘Totalitarian’, like ‘Stalinist’, is a word that should be used sparingly and accurately. These days it applies to North Korea, but almost nowhere else.

Such carelessly abusive criticism is easy for the Hungarian leadership to ignore, at a time when outsiders need to be getting their point across.

But first you will need to decide, what is your point, really and why is it so important to get it across? The writer of this piece is right in his last point however. While the criticism is polluted with absurdities, not only the Hungarian leadership that will ignore these points, the Hungarian people will ignore them as well. Attacks based on lies may even have the unintended consequence of strengthening the current Hungarian government.

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