Ignorance of (ir)responsible editors

Matevž Tomšič (Photo: Demokracija archive)

Ever since the inauguration of the third Janša government, we have witnessed how the new government attacks and subjugates the “independent” media – and in addition to them, everything else that is “independent” in this country, i.e. the judiciary, public agencies, culture, civil society and so on. Finally, twenty-two editors-in-chief of the Slovenian electronic and print media shared their outrage over the government’s “pressures” with the Slovenian public. The government and the prime minister himself, is even accused of (co)-responsibility for the rapid growth of infections in the second wave of the new coronavirus epidemic.

Well, a careful reader of the list of signatories quickly realised that as many as half of them come from a single media house – you guessed it, from the national radio and television (the one that is the biggest victim of “attacks on the media”). In this way, it is possible to inflate numbers and thus give the impression of crowds, isn’t it? Of course, there has been “internationalization” of the problem – informing the international public about the alleged injustices that befall the responsible members of our fourth branch of government. This happens every time a Slovenian leftist feels that one of the hairs on his head was touched, and of course he accuses Janša of a “bloody regime”.

If anything is characteristic of the formo mentis of the Slovenian dominant media, it is the almost complete absence of self-reflection. The Slovenian media often accuse ruling politicians of not being able to withstand criticism. However, they themselves are even less able to do so. Thus, the media coverage of the epidemic, which modern generations have not yet experienced and which poses the greatest challenge to Slovenia since the time of independence, is almost flawless. Unfortunately, the truth is quite different. As much attention as the various deniers of the dangers posed by the new coronavirus and those who consciously oppose protective measures, receive in the Slovenian media, is practically impossible to find in the developed world. Let’s just remember how the national television promoted rapper Zlatan Čordić and his mockery of wearing protective masks.

The dominant media, which actually act as a kind of cartel, welcomed the current government with hatred and criticism. Along with the incompetent and disorganized parliamentary left, they are, in fact, the ones acting as the central opposition force. As such, they are constantly playing an active role in the collapse of the government. In doing so, they support those who attack virtually any government measure aimed at preventing the spread of infections. In this way, they bear a large part of the responsibility for the fact that a certain part of the population is ignoring these measures, which has led to an increase in the number of sick, hospitalized and dead.

These media also bear much of the blame for the conceptually distorted public discourse. A typical example is the so-called constitutional arc coalition launched as the alternative to the existing government. It is a typical neo-Bolshevik novelty, where the content hidden behind the words is the opposite of what their meaning is supposed to be. This coalition, which presents itself as the defender of constitutional principles, consists of those who systematically ignore the decisions of the Constitutional Court. This coalition, which is supposed to advocate for a democratic revival, is made up of those who celebrate the communist regime and who worship communist criminals. This coalition, which promises Slovenes a development breakthrough, consists of those who defend socialist recipes from the “dump of history”.

Lastly, these media, as a “savior” in the role of a kind of a formateur, offer us an opportunist (who in his political pursuit went from Janša to Levica) without a bit of legitimacy and without leadership skills, who, above all, miscalculated heavily on a loan in Swiss francs. And such a man is supposed to lead the dilettantes from the previous ruling set and save the country at the height of the epidemic? Those who promote this simply cannot be labelled otherwise than as pests.

Matevž Tomšič is a doctor of sociological sciences, political analyst and lecturer at the Faculty of Applied Social Studies in Nova Gorica.