Following up PiS in Poland is a constant chain of being shocked with what they do, saying that this is unbelievable, briefly being unable to imagine how anyone could go a step further and then watching with disbelief as they go three steps further. I had yet another of such moments this week when I saw what TVP, the government controled public television turned into PiS propaganda is doing. And I just have to share my shock and disbelief with the readers of Britské listy.
It has all begun when the wife of Rafał Trzaskowski, Andrzej Duda’s main opponent in the oncoming presidential election, opened her profile on Social Media. The propaganda machine decided it has to be counteracted with the material praising current first lady, Agata Duda. Since her activity is very minuscule and she is virtually invisible, it was hard to praise her for her actions, therefore it has been decided that she’ll be praised for her style and understanding of fashion instead.
In that short clip we could hear that “foreign media often point out her exquisite style” (unfortunately, without providing any examples). But don’t worry, her style has been praised on camera by a stylist Ela Piorun and by American fashion designer Christian Paul. This material can be seen here, from about 33 minutes on.
Wiadomości forgot to mention that Ela Piorun, the stylist who praises Agata Duda’s style is… her personal stylist, so basically she’s praising her own work. As per famous designer Christian Paul comes, the situation here is even more absurd: he does not exist. Or rather: he didn’t exist until that material was broadcasted.
The critics quickly discovered that alleged fashion designer is, in fact, Christian Fabraniec, a data analyst from Chicago who recently moved to Warsaw. It has to be mentioned that Polish diaspora in Chicago is commonly known for its fierce support for PiS.
What would normal TV station do, if caught red-handed at such cheap manipulation? It would probably sack the journalist responsible for the material, at worst tried to blame someone else for misleading its reporters. What PiS propaganda machine does? It goes further and starts building an alternative reality, in which fashion designer Christian Paul is real. In the matter of hours a youtube channel was created, where three hastily made movies with Fabraniec assisting some models have been uploaded. Next, Fabraniec himself published a couple of clips on his social media, in which, speaking English with a Polish accent, he ensures everyone that he is real. Those were deleted already, but some were preserved and can be watched here. Then an Instagram profile and a website popped up, on which designs of Christian Paul can be purchased – at crazy prices to ensure, that nobody actually buys anything to check if it’s real.
But this is not the end yet. As if it was not enough, that TVP does everything to show Andrzej Duda in good light at every possible moment, they decided to blatantly just broadcast his political advert as the part of their flagship news program. For over 4 minutes the viewers were watching colour-corrected – to appear warmer, slowed-down footage of Andrzej Duda and his followers accompanied by pathetic symphonic music. “Cities, communes and villages… Millions of people, plenty of important topics and one common goal” – told them the elevated voice of the lector – “Pride, dignity, respect, history and tradition, responsibility, credibility, delivering promises” – the voice continued interrupted with the snippets aimed to illustrate Poles’ gratitude for the president. “Anti-crisis shield, 500+, 300+, 13th pension, lower taxes for young ones, free prescriptions for seniors, pay rises, higher minimum wage” – continued the voice, listing PiS achievements. “Tens of thousands of people joined Andrzej Duda’s support committees, he’s supported by scientists, artists, sportsmen…” – this last claim has been supported by short praise of Andrzej Duda by Robert Kubica, Polish F1 driver whos failed attempt to return to the sport has been sponsored – at great cost – by state-controlled enterprises. “This Friday, a great manifestation of support for president Duda is planned outside the presidential palace [Later edit: the great manifestation turned out to be about 40 people, apparently Kubica ate all the budget for the people who are willing to say something nice about PiS in exchange for money – TO], because, thanks to his politics, Poles have a better life than a 5 years ago”. – this time the claim is supported by an author of the extremely pro-PiS paper, who says that even those, who have a different political view, can’t deny – if they look at the numbers honestly – how much better life of almost everyone is. “This can be seen during meetings with voters – all across Poland, no matter if at North, South, East or West, the presidential rallies are attended by vast crowds. The voters are proud to demonstrate their support because they know, what’s at stake (…) President Andrzej Duda defends interests of ordinary Poles, nobody is left behind, no matter when one comes from or where he lives. President Duda listens to the opinion of every single pole”.
This is the milestone in the history of propaganda. Let me stress it out again: this is not an advertisement. This material was broadcasted as a part of supposedly impartial news program.
The clip is authored by Maciej Sawicki. Some internet users tried to track that person but to no avail: no such name can be found amongst the ranks of TVP reporter. But perpahs instead of searching the Internet, they should look into 광명, the North Korean computer network? The style matches:
Brace yourself for more: there is still a second round of elections ahead.
This piece was published in Britské Listy
Picture: R M Media Ltd, Creative Commons