Poor Janez Janša, he just can’t seem to catch a break. No sooner did Slovenian PM see off a somewhat flaccid, though not unnerving no-confidence challenge by Karl Erjavec (more on the aftermath in the coming days), he already started another dumpster fire, this time following a not-so-flattering article by Politico Europe’s Lili Bayer on his love-hate relationship with the media. As in, how he loves to hate them.
For all his professed pro-EU stance, the Glorious Leader seems to be remarkably inept at handling himself on the European stage. Which is, well, not ideal for a guy whose crowning achievement (as per his Twitter bio) was leading the EU Council for six months in 2008. And yet, just as he fucked up royally when he went to bat for his capo Viktor Orban over the rule of law last November, so did he land in a pile of flaming dog shit this week as he and his minions went after the Politico journalist.
You see, all Janša had to do in the wake of the article was to keep the fuck quiet. Sure, the piece would have made a couple of rounds at home and abroad, but come Friday, it would already have been relegated to the long-tail of internet traffic. Not in the least because Politico Europe churns out content so fast most of their articles have a half-life of hydrogen-7.
Interestingly enough, only weeks ago Janša and his ilk had a field day with Politico having to make a much-publicised retraction of a claim (at least much-publicised in Slovenia) that Janša’s government could have gotten a shitload more of Covid-19 vaccines early on but was too stingy to buy in.
It fact, it is entirely possible that having once managed to make the outlet to walk back a story, the Glorious Leader and his minions thought this is the norm now in dealing with the Politico Europe. Imagine their shock and horror when they found out the outlet (for all its faults and occasional shooting from the hip) actually values journalism above kowtowing to third-rate politicians.
Just another Twitter Meltdown
This, of course, is not Marshal Tweeto’s first international meltdown on Twitter. He is still, and will forever remain, the laughing-stock of international diplomacy for his Tweetpocalypse after Donald Trump got his ass handed to him in 2020 US presidential election.
Incidentally, after all was said and done Janša claimed to have congratulated Joe Biden upon his inauguration “in the same manner he congratulated George W. Bush in 2005”. Pengovsky assumes this was done by encrypted fax message via carrier pigeons to the US Embassy in Ljubljana, given that at the time Marshal Tweeto was still six years from opening his Twitter account.
At any rate, just as his doubling down on MAGA idiotism back in November was a breakout moment for his trademark political arson, so is the dust-up with Politico Europe a breakout moment for his method of bullying the media.
But while Muddy Hollows has by now come to expect the worst whenever things don’t really go according to Janša’s plan (and on Monday, despite having survived the no-confidence vote, things definitely didn’t go according to plan), the EU bubble is much more aghast and is letting it be known. This seems to have taken the PM very much by surprise.
Namely, when an outlet in Muddy Hollows runs an item that is not oozing with appreciation of the Glorious Leader, or an item that is detrimental to the Party or the aforementioned Bringer of Truth, or any combination of the above, one of three things happen (listed in ascending order of magnitude):
a) complete ignorance,
b) occasional skirmishes with trolls and mid-level Party believers,
c) carpet-bombing on social media and otherwise, usually instigated by Marshal Twito himself and then picked up by
Völkischer Beobachter Demokracija magazine (the semi-official Party propaganda rag), Orban-owned Nova24TV (think Fox News with North-Korean dedication to the Leader), Party troll-farm (known colloquially as The Cellar) and various non-descript websites that give the fake-news kids in Macedonia a run for their money.
To be frank, the article Lili Bayer ran in Politico Europe would – if published in Muddy Hollows – merit the response under b). Maybe.
I mean, most of what is in the article is garden variety Janša. The dude is up to so much nefarious shit lately, that just bullying journalists seems like a slow news day.
Upending the rule of law. Trying to shut down various NGOs. Defunding public media. Abusing the epidemic for an executive power grab. Going after the judiciary. Condoning excessive use of force against protesters. Peddling the worst conspiracy theories out there. Ignoring the basic tenets of democratic republic. You name it, he’s fucking done it.
He sees the media either as patriotically serving his political needs and personality cult, or as an enemy. Dissent (in media or otherwise) is only tolerated because he does not yet have the tools to stifle it.
So, an article in Politico (even though it is a well researched and sourced article) really shouldn’t be something for him to worry about.
Enter the scorpio
But just as most bullies, Janša is incredibly thin-skinned. So like the scorpio in the fable (the very one he is so often likened to), he couldn’t help himself, and stung. But when he tried to clap-back Bayer with his Trumpesque put-down (see above) usually reserved for female reporters, only to make a spelling mistake and/or demonstrate his limited command of English, all hell broke loose.
Namely, Janša’s abomination of a tweet was obviously meant to suggest that Bayer is getting paid to spread lies. That’s par for the course as far as insults by Marshal Twito go. But his spelling error confusing “lying for living” with “laying for living” (not to mention he should really have written “lying for a living”) also reminded everyone that this is the fucktrumpet who once called two female reporters “cheap worn-out prostitutes” and got sued for it.
So yeah, not a great look.
Even worse, once it became obvious the Glorious Leader once again stepped into a pile of flaming dog shit of his own making, his minions cranked it up to eleven and really started laying into the outlet and their journalist.
At this point, nobody was worried anymore about the fact that the longer this continues, the better proven the premise of the article is. This was about protecting the cult of the Leader, while the tweets attacking Bayer and Politico, from the lowest of trolls to verified government accounts, were mostly meant for the audience of one.
Oh, and the fact their man had become the object of mockery and scorn seems to be lost on them. Humour – they ain’t got none.
Fun times ahead
So, how does this all play out? At some point, Janša will move on. After all, he does still have an epidemic to manage and a country to run, although he’s not really good at either of those things.
But he will expand his conspiratorial worldview to include Brussels as an agent of the Deep State (inasmuch he is not there already) and when he does take over the rotating EU presidency (assuming he’s not run out of office by then), we can all look forward to more outbursts like these, especially if things in Brussels go sideways for him.
And from the looks of it, things have started going sideways.
2 thoughts on “Laying For Living”
Reading this made me realize, among other things … it is nigh impossible you don’t get any verbal manure centrifuged in your direction 😉 in these perilous times. No?
I read an article today about John Elton having this friendly relationship with Rush Limbaugh and it made me realize how much Nazism / Despotism / Tyranny (you name it) is simply a business venture / model for many influential figures out there. It is important to know by heart all the claims to be spurted out whenever the clues appear and to invent a few to be copied by other Nazi business comrades.
But also: my life experience (yeah, anecdotal knowledge does not mean facts of life, I know) tells me we have way too many Cold War Casualties out there for the world to be able to function in a way that would at least resemble normalcy. I mean there is a whole generation of scarred and scared people hurling their scary shit at the world right now, because they sustained damage when growing up during the Cold War. And I am quite aware of my NOT being the person to say anything about other people or state of the world, because “I know nothing”, but this is what I get told by myself, when I listen *shrug*.
Anyway, take care and I hope you are all OK.
There’s this one peculiarity about Muddy Hollows you can find between the lines of the Politico article. We can be very sophisticated about our hypocrisy. The article left me with the same question I’ve been asking myself for a minute. Does our media truly wish to be free of the constrains put on their reporting by the pressures they’re facing, or would they be perfectly fine sticking to the well established unspoken rules, as long as no one would be bothering them?
I’m specifically talking about “the media” as opposed to journalists because I understand it as a systemic issue first and foremost. It’s an environment that makes it nearly impossible for a reporter to fully develop their skills.
These issues have never been more obvious as during the pandemic. The media’s reliance on “pre-approved” distinguished figures (most of them routinely speaking on topics well outside their expertise) who’s main purpose is furthering political agendas by elevating talking points to facts through their “authoritativity”, clearly proved to be convenient for both media outlets and the government.
It probably saves media houses a lot in resources, when they rely on the government and its unofficial surrogates to shape the narrative instead of doing their own research. The near impossibility of getting experts on record in any shape or form challenging their distinguished colleagues, doesn’t help either. Problem is this does mean a coherent fact based narrative that dismisses the official one ain’t ever gone happen. Needles to say we desperately needed that, when our government fucked the epidemic response all the way up and then some – but our media couldn’t be bothered. Government talking point are gonna be just fine.
You can tell exactly when they went full on spin mode as they realized shit was hitting the fan. It’s actually out there bury the lede style in a bunch of articles from back in October. The talking points they fabricated for the occasion and are still going strong : “the measures are not the problem, the problem is that irresponsible people aren’t adhering to the rules, the problem are the powerful social media influencers, the problem is the media questioning the epidemic control measures….”
The media ran wild with these between October and November. Op-Eds, interviews with “distinguished” people, think pieces…you name it. I mean even these allegedly anti-Janša outlets indulged like there was no tomorrow. All of this in a fact-free environment.
“Facts” came in late November. Turns out the problematic areas were workplaces, households and nursing homes. Now this didn’t align with the official narrative so alternative facts were produced “proving” workplaces aren’t a real concern. This would be fact checked nearly a month later by a non profit portal. The media at large ran with it as if it was completely legitimate.
I’m convinced Janša’s most powerful weapon is prof.dr. Bojana Beović the infectologist heading the Covid task force and technically former member of his party. She’s dr. Deborah Birx and Kellyanne Conway at her bullshiting peak rolled into one.
Janša’s weakest spot in a normal country would have been his mishandling of the pandemic. Here it isn’t because of Beović. I honestly believe she is the only reason why he’s still in power. To quote a journalist “as a doctor, she can’t lie to us”. But what if she does?
Enter dr. Mario Fafangel our chief epidemiologist. In late November he gave an interview where he expressed doubt in some epidemic control measures. A few days later dr Regime Beović was bitching about it. A few more days later he stepped down from the task force. Allegedly in protest, because of dr Regime Beović. The media didn’t know what to do. One on hand they pretend cheered on “our Fauci” while low key siding with Regime. Fafangelgate got her in a PR blitz (among other things at the time she was running for chair of the physicians’ chamber which she of course won since).
It was the dr. Birx apology tour without the apology. I kid you not – the headlines were literally the same. Before Birx it was Beović who was tortured about whether she should resign. We got to find about how she struggles with having become a public figure and so forth. Her biggest regret is having caved to powerful influencers about masks (no idea what the hell she was talking about there). Now this is the same woman, who just weeks earlier, would say people who lost their jobs because of COVID, only have themselves to blame. The media eat it up with a passion. This includes very openly traditionally left outlets including the one that kickstarted Fafangelgate. The same dude actually conducted both interviews.
The media is, on the surface at least, completely oblivious to this. They happily go along. Again she’s the main reason why to this day Janša’s complete fuck up of a handling of the pandemic, is not understood as such. Dr Regime said they’ve done nothing wrong – only the people are to blame – and that gives Janša a perpetual benefit of the doubt. This in turn even gives the excuse to say for example our president to play along.
Make no mistake. We as a country do not get any of this as being an issue. While we understand corruption to be an issue even in the institutions dr Regime belongs to, we refuse to accept this also means individuals making up these institutions are corrupted/corruptible beyond a few bad apples.
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