By: Jože Bišček
“After the change of power in Slovenia, there was quick change for the worse with the freedom of the media,” was the headline on the website of a commercial television. There were more than enough similar headlines that Wednesday, the day before Fool’s Day, in the left-wing media, which control more than 80 percent of the media landscape. According to their reporting, the State Department’s annual report on the situation of human rights in the world states is that Slovenia is becoming a danger to independent journalism, that media freedom is declining, and that the center-right government is to blame, especially Janez Janša with his writing on social media.
The reporting had no real basis, they created “difficult news” and cited as facts something that was verifiably wrong. In its report, the State Department mentions the opinions and reports of the International Press Institute (IPI), where last year and this year Slovenian left wing journalists, with the help of non-governmental organisations, informed on Slovenia. I emphasise “mention” because the only opinion of Americans is that the government of Janša respects media freedom and that there is no political pressure on the media.
There are enough such examples from the swamp of manipulation, falsifying facts and (literal) lies for a thick encyclopaedia. This is not a (functional) illiteracy of journalists not to understand something. This is not classic deception or cheering. This is not a typo, they are not inaccuracies and mistakes that often happen to the media due to time constraints. Even less are these awkwardly chosen words or bad summaries of something that is otherwise very clear. Let’s call it by the right name. These are deliberate lies and manipulations that have been put into their media and deliberately published by journalists and editors. And they do so despite contrary verifiable facts.
The facts are not on the side of the media mainstream
There must be something very smelly in the Slovenian media landscape to vehemently inform the audience and readers that the government has placed Slovenia alongside countries that have not ordered (enough) vaccines against covid-19, although it is easily proven that for two million Slovenian citizens as many as seven million doses of the vaccine had been ordered. It is corrupt to report (including to Brussels) that the ruling center-right coalition is restricting academic freedom, the appearances of government officials or access to information. None of this is true. It is an illusion that the media mainstream is always right, that it has a monopoly on the “philosophical” concept of judging the sunny and shady side of (current) power, even though the truth is a very practical challenge: it is based on verifiable facts. And at the moment the facts are indisputably on the side of this government.
Nevertheless, two matters are encouraging. The first is that the government does not want to be liked by the media mainstream and be in sackcloth and ashes when it is criticised or accused of something. Today, there are no gullible people sitting in the government palace, who would let the media lead them like controlled idiots. The long-standing illusion that the established (progressive) media have an influence on political decisions has faded away with the third government of Janša, which, I believe, is a big blow to the egos of the largest media, which imagined that no matter who is in power, they can run the country according to the method described at the beginning. Another thing that is encouraging is that people are also slowly realising that what they once considered to be “central”, “credible”, and “influential” media, they are no longer that.
The engine of the Slovene version of false cultural Marxism has always been oiled with hatred for Janez Janša. Hatred has also driven every revolution, and social engineering has slowly eaten away at people. The long process of ideological indoctrination has softened common sense logic in people’s heads and changed perceptions of reality. The public could no longer come to tangible and logical conclusions, in the end only the question of the sex of the Martians was interesting. Hopefully, this kind of media subversion is coming to an end, as today the web allows real-time fact-checking, which is the best way for truth to defeat lies.
Jože Biščak is the editor-in-chief of the weekly Demokracija, a long-term investigative journalist, and since 2020 also the president of the Slovenian Association of Patriotic Journalists and the author of three books.