“One News was incorrect and not faithful to the truth”. This was the ruling given by the Broadcasting Authority. One News again concocted pure fiction. It declared that I was “one of the most vociferous internally whenever the PN Leader appeared to change his position” and that I “worked to make Bernard Grech leader ”.
I resigned from the Nationalist Party years ago. I have no role within the Party and could not, therefore, have been vociferous internally at all. I never voted in any election Bernard Grech contested. I pointed out at the Broadcasting Authority hearing that One’s news report was false and that there was only one version of the facts.
Jonathan Attard, Labour’s newest addition to its parliamentary group, pounced. He accused me of sheer arrogance and that I did not have a monopoly on the truth. It suddenly struck me that One’s legal representative, accompanied by his Chairman Jason Micallef, had no concept of factual truth.
That contempt for the truth was evident again this week. One News issued another false story accusing Jordan Azzopardi of spilling the beans about the dire situation at Corradino. In a desperate attempt to discredit the anonymous whistleblower, One ‘exposed’ the wrong person. Instead of apologising and withdrawing its story, it stuck with it.
Targeting a private individual who had the temerity to reveal the unspeakable inhumanities inflicted on vulnerable individuals by Labour’s prison chief was bad enough. Getting the wrong person is the inevitable result of incompetence and a reckless disregard for the truth.
Disagreement between opposing sides is no longer about values but about basic facts. Some believe things that are patently untrue. Others aggressively deny established facts.
One News makes things up and believes its own lies. Its core mission is to muddy the waters, turning factual truth into empirical opinion, melting the distinction. One News is simply implementing the Labour government’s strategy and broadcasts Labour’s fiction as fact.
In a pluralistic society, it is expected, indeed healthy, to disagree on moral or political issues. Yet when people disagree on basic facts it becomes impossible to reach any political compromise. One News’ role is precisely to distort the facts beyond recognition ensuring that no political agreement can ever be reached.
By fueling partisanship, loathing of adversaries becomes the natural and obvious response. By widening the gap, it reduces the likelihood of a rational political debate with political adversaries. By promoting hatred of adversaries, Labour ensures that no common ground can ever be found.
One month after the publication of the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry report, One News continues its crusade of dehumanising, intimidating and harassing any perceived critics with lies.
By concealing and distorting the facts, it ensures that no Labour politician can ever be held to account. One News is Labour’s mouthpiece. It simply amplifies government’s relentless false messaging.
When the FATF greylisted the country, Robert Abela hailed it as an opportunity for the country to become an even more attractive jurisdiction. When Moody’s gave Malta a negative outlook, Abela proudly declared that “this is a signal that the country will keep moving forwards”. One News parroted that this was “another positive certificate for Malta”. When Simon Busuttil presented in court boxes of evidence on Labour’s corruption, One News mocked him – the boxes were empty, they claimed.
When Matthew Caruana Galizia revealed a WhatsApp group called “No Valletta, no Party” shared by Yorgen Fenech and Silvio Valletta, tasked with leading the investigation into Caruana Galizias’ assassination, it made headlines. All major media organisations reported it. One news blandly reported, “Many give evidence in Yorgen Fenech’s compilation”. It did not even mention the chat group name.
Caruana Galizia also testified that Keith Schembri, referred to as “Special K”, was directly involved in the Electrogas power station. One news did not even mention Schembri, let alone his “Special K” moniker or his link to Electrogas.
When Zammit Lewis’ messages to Yorgen Fenech calling Labour loyalists ‘Ġaħan’ were revealed, One news remained silent.
Even when people are presented with the same body of evidence, their political bias makes them filter that information in ways that favour their own political party, making them reach diametrically opposite conclusions. This partisan lens warps perception of reality.
Even when confronted with unassailable evidence, partisan allegiances drive outright rejection of the facts, fueled by a systematic assault on reality by Labour’s media organisations – One News and TVM. Labour’s propaganda triumph can be gauged by the substantial proportion who deny established facts and believe what is patently untrue.
Motivated reasoning is the tendency to continue to cling to false beliefs that favour one’s Party despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Labour knows that no matter how much “proof” is provided of its corruption, the majority will continue to deny it – because One News denies it.
No matter how many charges are brought against Schembri, One News will continue to protect him. Irrespective of the damning evidence presented at the Caruana Galizia inquiry, even by Labour’s own ministers – Edward Scicluna, Chris Fearne – Labour will continue to defend Joseph Muscat – and so will the majority of Labour supporters.
As Zammit Lewis hinted, Labour supporters are incredibly irrational and will reject facts even when presented with overwhelming evidence. Labour has taken it a step further. It exploits the fact that rewarding those who know the truth will make them disown it.
Witness the procession of switchers who benefitted handsomely from Labour’s largesse – Lou Bondi, Ian Castaldi Paris, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, Cyrus Engerer, Manuel Mallia – every man has his price.
Labour is taking no chances. It is not content with enticing switchers, it’s not complacent about its supporters’ motivated reasoning. Concerned that some within its fold may be swayed against it by the sheer volume of incriminating evidence, it simply flips the facts and creates its own fiction.
Facts don’t really matter anymore. Borrowing one of Joseph Muscat’s favourite phrases, Labour is ‘a factory of cancer’ – the cancer of lying.