Top comment so far this morning: why is the Nationalist Party giving a television platform to apologists for government corruption?

Published: January 13, 2017 at 11:12am

The comment below was posted here this morning. It makes the essential point that when the government controls TVM, the Labour Party has its own very powerful – far more powerful than the Nationalist Party’s – television station, and Labour is in government and heavily influential anyway, the Nationalist/Opposition party is raving nuts to use its own television station, at prime time, as a platform for Labour apologists for government corruption.

I’ve made this point myself before, having sat through an edition of Iswed Fuq L-Abjad, on the Nationalist Party station, in which two guests were invited specifically to run down Simon Busuttil and tell us how much better Joseph Muscat is. By the end of the show, it was all I could do to prevent myself from texting people with a legendary “ARE YOU F*CKING NUTS?” but with no asterisks.

I actually do think they’re f*cking nuts, as it happens. The total absence of political communication strategy is now frightening. The Nationalist Party simply does not understand something which the Labour Party understands only too well: the sole – make that SOLE – purpose of party-owned TV and radio stations is to serve the party interests and ensure that the party gains power or stays in power.

That is exactly why I completely detest the fact that Malta has TV and radio stations owned by political parties, and why I opposed them at the outset way back when and continued to opposite them throughout. The very concept is hideous.

But once they exist, they should be used for their proper purpose. The Nationalist Party seems to have some weird, very weird, idea that it can and should run its political programmes as though they were on a commercial station or the way they are meant to be on the public service broadcaster. It has been taken over by people whose real desire, apparently, is to produce, host and transmit discussion shows and not propaganda.

They miss the point that propaganda is an art form and that it doesn’t have to be stupid, offensive or obvious. Of course, it’s a lot more difficult than simply inviting people onto your show for a discussion, but there you go. Nobody ever said winning a general election was easy, but it’s certainly a lot easier than running the country, as Muscat and his thieves have found.

But a party-owned station is there for propaganda, and if they don’t like that bald fact, they should shut it down. Why is the Labour Party’s television station so effective? Because the Labour Party understands the value of propaganda in a sea of ignorance. “But our supporters are not like that,” I hear the Nationalists say. Oh you wish. Of course they are. And those who aren’t are not watching television anyway. They’re watching Netflix.


Posted by Fred the Red:

Manuel Micallef’s argumentation on Net TV yesterday evening was the embodiment of the anything-goes attitude which has blossomed under Taghna Lkoll regime.

No, he said, there is nothing wrong in Konrad Mizzi evading journalists’ questions on his Panama companies because the audit will reveal all. It is journalists who are out of order by continuing to harp on the issue.

No, he said, it is not true that Malta is engulfed in corruption scandals. No, the Leader of the Opposition should not have raised the corruption issue before the European Commissioners because this is a domestic issue and he came across as lacking statesmanship.

Yesterday’s edition of Net Live was yet another instance of the Nationalist Party’s appalling naivety, giving a platform to the Labour Party to drive home its arguments to a Nationalist audience.

So for three whole months during the winter schedule and with scandals continuing to erupt all around us, the Nationalists inexplicably go without a political prime-time discussion programme in favour of crossword puzzles and whatnot.

But come 9 January, they come to their senses, launching a decent live programme. And then during the very first week, they incredibly decide they should invite Manuel Micallef to discuss current developments.

Micallef toyed with the presenter and Dione Borg like they were a couple of pussies reeeling out the well-rehearsed Labour counter-arguments coolly and clinically, and then interrupting Borg at every turn, even leading him to agree with him on more than one occasion. It was unbelievable. A real masterclass in how to turn arguments on their head if it weren’t so blatantly evil.

Will these people ever learn? Why invite a known Labour exponent on your TV station to predictably resort to the usual tricks when PBS is manipulated by Taghna Lkoll cronies already and Labour has its own television station?

It makes one wonder whether the people running the Nationalist Party media really want the party to win the coming elections.

Manuel Micallef with his girlfriend Norma Saliba, who works for the government-controlled TVM.