Capital gave signal for new slew of fake news against Delyan PeevskiMonitor News Agency , Sofia
The news of MP Delyan Peevski being second on the Movement for Rights and Freedoms’ list of candidates for the European Parliament seems to have sounded the alarm for the behind the scenes clique’s media, as it was obviously prepared to carry out a plan of attack and was just biding its time until the signal came.
After several days of stretching at the start line, the Capital circle and its satellite websites moved to action with admirable synchronicity, recycling an old talking point that they have been burning the tires on since 2014 in a bid to smear Peevski’s reputation. The lie that they dusted off the cobwebs to include once again in their texts is that during the previous European Parliament elections the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), a member of which is the MRF, took a stance against his candidacy.
Refuted multiple times, including by the ALDE, right from its emergence in 2014, this manipulation has a life of its own now.
The objective truth does not matter to the Capital journalists and those of the guild who share their talking points. They make selective use of the archives so they can exploit the talking point that was served to them on 28 April 2014. The ensuing refutations are of no consequence to them. The cogs of the propaganda machine assembled around the Capital circle, which these days do not hide how pleased they are that their joint efforts have once again placed Bulgaria 111th on the global freedom of speech ranking, met to synchronise their actions. This is the behaviour of journalists who do not have their own opinions but rather follow orders to chew on the same talking points. This is the behaviour of reporters who make up stories from their desks, especially when they cite sources who have no idea of their existence.
To refresh their memory and give them the chance to show some professionalism, if their employers allow such a thing, let us remind the chronology of events that seems to be eluding them:
The manipulation began its journey in the Brussels-based website Euractiv as an assertion that the leader of ALDE Guy Verhofstadt tried to talk the MRF out of Delyan Peevski’s nomination for MEP. According to Euractiv, Verhofstadt said that if Peevski was elected as member of the European Parliament (EP), the Bulgarian lawmaker would be viewed as an “MEP of the back benches”.
Following that ugly insinuation, the ALDE sent a letter to the MRF, reading as follows, “Mr Verhofstadt firmly believes that it is the responsibility of every party to choose the candidates it sees best fit to represent it in the European Parliament. Mr Verhofstadt’s role is not to exercise control or to evaluate the qualifications or suitability of every candidate of every liberal or democratic party in Europe. The decision on Bulgarian MEPs is entirely in the hands of Bulgarian voters. Any supposition that Mr Verhofstadt has interfered in the election process regarding Mr Peevski or anyone else is completely false.”
On 28 April 2014, another refutation came from MEP Filiz Hyusmenova, who was at the top of the MRF list of EP candidates at the time and with whom, according to the original fake news report, Guy Verhofstadt shared his considerations. Via a press release, Hyusmenova explained that the topic was never discussed. “It is not a practice of the leader of the liberals in the EP and an ALDE candidate for president of the European Commission to take a stand or impose his opinion on matters in the competence of individual parties, even if those have some reflection on the future group of the liberals in the EP. The ALDE does not have double standards,” explained Hyusmenova in the text sent out to the media.
As was the case then, these two statements have been ignored by the authors of the fake news items, who only take into account what they have been ordered to write. This is why the modern version of the 2014 lie was presented by the website Dnevnik on 22 April 2019 as follows, “There were reports that the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, part of which is the MRF, took a stance against his candidacy.”
Employees in Stoyana Georgieva’s website Mediapool are even more devoted to the task. They go as far as presenting this insinuation as their own information: “According to information obtained by Mediapool, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), part of which is the MRF, did not approve of the idea of Peevski entering the European Parliament in 2014.”
If this is how the journalists in question view freedom of speech – as an opportunity to make up fake news at will – it is baffling that they have been stuck in the 111th place in their favourite ranking because their freedom to lie is truly boundless.