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Regime Media in Action – HotAir

First off, despite centering on a political dispute in Poland, this post is not about taking a side in an ongoing Constitutional crisis. It is about media malfeasance and the use of propaganda to put a thumb on the scale in favor of a position that the reporter or his institution holds.

I have my suspicious regarding who is more in the right in the dispute, but until I dig in deeper I will withhold final judgment on the issue.

I noticed this tweet, and it piqued my curiosity:

As presented, and there is evidence to support this from my limited reading, the new Prime Minister of Poland is on a political crusade to root out the opposition party in a very aggressive and illiberal way. Perhaps there are extenuating circumstances I have yet to read about, and I will.

But when I started poking around and read this story from Politico.eu, and thought it required an analysis. It is a perfect example of regime media in action.

In a dramatic escalation of Poland’s battle to restore rule of law, the police entered the country’s presidential palace on Tuesday evening and took two MPs into custody who had been hiding under the protection of President Andrzej Duda after being sentenced to prison terms for abuse of power.

The arrests cut to the heart of a fight between Duda and new Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who is seeking to unravel eight years of rule by the nationalist, conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS), rooting the previous administration’s loyalists out of key institutions like the media, courts and state-owned corporations.

Okey dokey. There is a big fight about two MPs getting arrested–and, as we shall see, the “fight over the rule of law” is hardly cut and dried, however Politico wants to spin it. What this battle actually turns out to be is about power within the parliament–PM Tusk really wants to kick them out of the parliament since they can still be pardoned by the president again, but in doing so, he would make them ineligible to hold the seats they currently have.

But they are convicted, you might think. Maybe they don’t belong there.

Yes, but the validity of the conviction is in dispute because they had been pardoned before being convicted, and various courts are fighting over whether the convictions were valid. Indeed, the Constitutional Tribunal says no. The Supreme Court says yes. It is a legal mess.

Hmm. So the PM, in trying to re-establish the “rule of law,” is actually rejecting the Constitutional Council’s decision and going around the process.

Different spin, huh? Again, I know nothing about what these guys did or whether they are good or bad, but Politico’s reporting does nothing to convince me that they are anything but opponents of the “nationalist, conservative Law and Justice Party” and want to destroy them. Or, in their words, “root them out.”

The tussle over the MPs’ fate highlights the new government’s huge problem in unpicking the mess made of the country’s justice system by PiS. Tusk’s new administration, which unexpectedly won the election in October, wants to reshape the country to bring it back into line with the EU’s democratic rules — unlocking billions in frozen EU funds and again making Warsaw a European power player.

So, the country is undemocratic, except Tusk won an unexpected victory. It seems pretty democratic to me–being an opponent of the current regime was no barrier to coming to power, even when the president of the country opposed him. We are just to assume that Politico is being straight with us. Those pesky conservatives made a mess and the PM has to arrest people and “root out” government officials he dislikes.

Kinda like “saving democracy” by jailing Donald Trump and kicking him off the ballot…

Why so cynical, David? Maybe things really are horrible in Poland.

Except this: Tusk has seized the media and shut down the conservative station, “rooting out” the opposition.

Again, censoring the opposition to “save democracy” is very on-brand for the Left and not my definition of democracy, whatever the EU says. The EU, after all, is on a censorship spree itself and closing down farms and power plants and upending their societies pursuing the WEF agenda. I take their word for nothing right now. The Germans keep trying to get Twitter to censor people, and have succeeded on the other social media platforms. The EU is pressuring Twitter to reestablish widescale censorship.

“Maybe it’s even a good thing that this whole crisis happened because everyone can see what kind of mess PiS, unfortunately, hand-in-hand with President Duda, has led to by ‘reforming’ the Polish justice system,” Hołownia said.

Duda insists he pardoned the two in 2015 during their trial for using fake documents in a 2007 attempt to incriminate the coalition allies of Law and Justice. PiS was hoping to destroy the smaller coalition party and absorb its MPs to allow it to rule alone — but the effort blew up into a scandal that collapsed the government.

Kamiński was then the head of the Central Anticorruption Bureau and Wąsik was his deputy.

I have no idea what happened in the case cited. So, I don’t have any opinion. But apparently, democracy survived since the government collapsed and the opposition took over. Again, this sounds more like a power struggle than anything else. Happens in democracies, and nobody has seized power. Yet. The president pardoned these guys and that should have been that.

A few days ago, one chamber in Poland’s Supreme Court — whose independence has been questioned by European courts and some of whose judges have been appointed in a way that critics say violated Polish law — found that Hołownia was wrong to rule that the two were no longer MPs. But another chamber of the Supreme Court, this one recognized by other courts, is due to issue its own ruling on Wednesday.

Man, this sounds complicated. Can you see why I haven’t formed an opinion on it yet? All I know is that suddenly the EU is choosing sides–not coincidentally the Left-wing side–and I am supposed to just assume they are right.

Yeah, no. Sorry Politico.

This is where the whole “saving democracy” spin falls apart–in the penultimate paragraph of a long story:

The fight over Kamiński and Wąsik is part of a wider war as Tusk and his government try to take control of institutions in the hands of PiS loyalists, while setting up special commissions to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing by the former government.

A lot depends on the determination of the new government and how far it will go run restoring Poland to the rule of law,” said Jakub Jaraczewski, a researcher at Democracy Reporting International, an NGO.

The government last month bent the rules and seized control of the state media, which had become the propaganda arm of PiS. That led to a furious reaction from PiS loyalists, with Duda promising to veto a spending bill and lawsuits being filed with courts favorable to the former ruling party.

Yeah, wut? They seized and shut down a media outlet by “bending the rules?”

This is saving democracy and the rule of law. Now, arresting opposition leaders in a disputed legal case takes on a whole new meaning.

“Bending the rules to restore the rule of law is very Biden-like.”

It sounds to me like a newly elected Left-wing PM is seizing media, “rooting out” the opposition, and arresting high-ranking elected officials to seize power. Politico is to Europe as MSN is to America–propaganda.

Maybe I am misreading the situation, but Politico’s story sure sounds like total spin to me. It hardly is a “he said” or “she said” portrayal. It endorses the Left-wing position without question.

Trust no one. They are feeding us propaganda.

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