Hypocrisy may be the only consistent guiding principle of US foreign policy. Here's a prime example of the "do as we say, not as we do" that is the core of how Washington does business overseas: In the same week that the the US Justice Department demanded that the Russian-backed RT America network register as a foreign propaganda entity or face arrest, the US State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DNL) has announced that it is launching a program to massively interfere in NATO-partner Hungary's internal media.
So the US Justice Department is cracking down on RT America for what it says is manipulation of US domestic affairs while the US State Department announces a new program to manipulate Hungary's domestic affairs.
The State Department's new program would send three-quarters of a million dollars to Washington-selected Hungarian media outlets to "increase citizens' access to objective information about domestic and global issues in Hungary." On what authority does the United States pick winners and losers in Hungary's diverse media environment? Since when does one government have the right to determine what news is "objective" in another country? Hungary is not a country to be "regime-changed" — it is a full democracy where the will of the people is regularly expressed at the ballot box and where the media competes freely in the marketplace of ideas.
Washington's Hungarian media project is clearly meant to interfere in that country's domestic political environment. Here are the stated objectives of the US government's Hungary program:
The program should improve the quality of local traditional and online media and increase the public's access to reliable and unbiased information.
Projects should aim to have impact that leads to democratic reforms, and should have the potential for sustainability beyond DRL resources. (emphasis added)
The State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor identifies its mission in this call for grantees as "promoting democracy and protecting human rights globally." So what is it doing in Hungary? Hungary has had nearly three decades of democracy since 1989 and hardly needs the United States to tell it what kind of media is allowed (subsidized) and which kind should be suppressed.
In reality this is a US government program to ensure that the Hungarian media follows Washington's policy line. Hungarians are all too familiar with this kind of toxic interference from an outside superpower: it was called the Soviet Union. Does Washington really seek to take on that role?