Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Our job is to report the news, not fabricate it. That's the government's job."

Keep calm, all is well

In my last post I talked about the role of the media and especially TV in presenting the consequences of the current economic crisis in Greece. I was particularly scathing of the role of the state run channels and the pro - government private stations in their efforts to distort the effects of the IMF/EU mandated austerity measures and present whatever PASOK party does in the best possible light.

Yesterday representatives of the IMF, EU commission and the European Central Bank held a press conference setting out the terms of the next installment of bailout money and outlining what the Greek government had and had not achieved in terms of reducing public spending and raising tax revenue. Considering the recommendations presented are set to change the whole of the Greek economy and involves massive upheavals, wage cuts and job losses  you would think that coverage of the event by the Greek press would be intense. Instead not one station broadcast the conference live and limited their reporting to short snippets which included luke warm praise by the troika of Greeec'e efforts so far. This was the line that was presented by most of the TV news bulletins along with prononouncements by experts that Greece had no choice but to accept such changes.

Instead there was extensive live reporting of a routine visit by a the head of the Cypriot republic which was attended by the prime minister, Giorgos Papandreou. Rather than reporting live a story which is set to effect the vast majority of the Greek population the media chose to focus attention on a mundane diplomatic story. As I said before the government and its supporters in the private sector are desperately trying to hide the fact that despite all the rhetoric about protecting jobs and living standards the ruling PASOK party have been forced time and time again to back down and accept everything the country's creditors have put forward.At the same time they have been required to engage in Orwellian feats of linguistic gymnastics in which cuts are called readjustmenst and savage criticsm termed positive feedback. In fact anything that covers the truth that the country is bankrupt and no longer responsible for virtually any aspect of economic policy.

 Indeed the IMF, EU and ECB by timing their report on Greece till after the country's recent elections (out of 27 EU countries, only Greece's report was delayed) you could argue that they have directly involved themselves in national politics. If the current measures which were inspired by the Eurostat's report on the economy had been announced on 27th October as happened with every other EU member) there is a good chance that Giorgos Papandeou's party would have suffered massive defeat and the country would be in the run up to national elections as has happened in Ireland.

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