Tuesday, January 5, 2021

the last book I ever read (Anne Applebaum's Twilight of Democracy, excerpt four)

from Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism by Anne Applebaum:

The best-known journalists were fired and replaced by people who had previously worked for the far-right press, on the fringes of public life. Very quickly, news broadcasts ceased to make any pretense of objectivity or neutrality. Instead, they produced twisted news reports and carried out extensive vendettas against people and organizations whom the ruling party didn’t like. As it turned out, these vendettas were not just ugly, they were lethal. For months on end they ran a vicious, repetitive campaign against the popular mayor of Gdańsk, Pawel Adamowicz, accusing him of everything from corruption to treason. And someone was listening: On January 13, 2019, a recently released criminal, who had been watching state television in prison, leapt onto a stage at the climactic moment of a charity concert and plunged a knife into Adamowicz’s chest. The mayor died the next day.

Neither Kurski nor Kaczyński ever acknowledged the role that the channel had played in radicalizing the murderer. On the contrary: Instead of apologizing, Telewizja Polska turned its venom on others. Among them was the new mayor of Gdańsk, Alexandra Dulkiewicz, who now needs a bodyguard. The mayor of Poznań, along with several other mayors, has had death threats as well. The taboo against political violence has been broken in Poland, and no one is cerain who might be the next victim.

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