The other night, on the same day as the now famous meeting in defence of Baltasar Garzón, I did something a bit foolish; possibly even dangerous for my health. Anticipating the reactions to the criticisms made of the Supreme Court and the process against Garzón, I did a bit of zapping between the several very right wing digital channels which Esperanza Aguirre has so generously licensed for the enjoyment of all Madrileños. I went from Intereconomia to Libertad Digital, passing through Popular TV and Veo without of course forgetting to visit the well established favourite of Telemadrid.
Because I'm quite fond of boasting to those who don't live in Madrid about having such a high number of loony channels to watch it's possible that some people think I do this quite often. In reality I hardly ever watch any of them, I don't watch much TV at all in Spain. The novelty value of these channels wears off really quickly. Unless you are one of those who still lives in a state of permanent outrage because the PP isn't running Spain there is little reason at all to stop by at any of them. Almost all of them run what could be laughingly described as "debates" every night, where a gaggle of the extremely loud right wing will use up hours of (cheap) television time to always arrive at the same conclusion; Zapatero is to blame for everything.
I did it the other night because I wanted to see just how far these tertulianos were prepared to go in exhibiting absolute, abject hypocrisy when it comes to the issue of criticising the judiciary. They lived up to my expectations fully, there they were shouting about how outrageous it was for the left to criticise the fine judges of the Supreme Court and how justice must be allowed to take its course in the case against Garzón. Intolerable, anti-democratic and "guerracivilista" were some of the more polite terms used to describe those who oppose the way in which the Supreme Court is acting.
At this point we need a little exercise in historical memory. As some of you know I have blogged a lot about the conspiracy theories concerning the Madrid bombings. To do this I had to go fishing in some very murky waters and to read a lot of the things that were being said on the sites that promoted those theories. So I remember very well the respect shown by these people to the judiciary and the forces of law and order. The insults directed against the judges and prosecutors involved in the Madrid bombings case would fill several volumes. These were not just political insults either. When the investigating magistrate had to take some time off because he was suffering from glaucoma, our friends on the right engaged in some of the most vitriolic personal abuse you can imagine.
But then perhaps this was just an isolated bunch of extremists? Certainly not isolated, with powerful support in the media, the PP and the judicial governing bodies. The problem is that when any attempt was made to get the Consejo General del Poder Judicial to speak up in defence of the judges and judicial process over the 11-M investigation, the conservative bloc on that body always blocked such initiatives. Quite similar to what has happened with the Gürtel case, where the PP hasn't hesitated to repeatedly accuse both police and judges of fabricating evidence. I'm no longer shocked by this hypocrisy, but this week we have enjoyed a special festival of it. This attitude that perceives liberty of expression to mean that they can say or do what they want, and that everybody else should just keep quiet. Just like the old days.