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.