ECONOMICAL WITH THE TRUTH
foremost in the shameful campaign is the
Economist. They ran a libelous
cover story on the election campaign asking, "Is
Berlusconi fit to run Italy?" This recycled the usual
allegations against Berlusconi (without paying too much attention
to his court victories, after all why ruin a good piece with
balance). This hue and cry has been taken up throughout the
press, creating an impression of European condemnation of
Berlusconi. The Italian left has clutched this convenient straw,
saying that if Berlusconi is elected then Italy will be isolated.
Now usually I would not complain. Democracy means that parties
have to use whatever weapons they have to hand. Similarly newspapers
have their own views, and it is only a little odd if a London
paper is pontificating on Italian politics. What stinks, to
high heaven, is when this is not merely an opinion but a government
WROTE THAT ARTICLE?
actually wrote the article? Was it a journalist, or was it a
member of the beleaguered Italian government? The reason I ask
this is that the former Rome correspondent of the Economist,
de Zulueta, is now a senator for the communist-dominated
coalition and is foremost in the desperate smear campaign
against him. This is compounded by the Economist's practice
of not naming authors, except on high profile pieces. Surely
a report as serious as this requires a by line and if it had
not been written by a member of the government then the Economist
would have nothing to hide. However, as a report
in the (London) Guardian said, the absence of by
lines is "designed to reinforce its authority and hide
its use of freelance stringers." Obviously, it is also
designed to hide its use as a platform for Government smears.
(For those readers worried about my use of a pseudonym, I can
assure you I neither use stringers, nor have any authority to
Economist is acting in the same way, and with the
same motives, as Zimbabweís state owned press. None of this
is surprising in a magazine whose editor in chief, Bill Emmot,
that "we are the house magazine of globalisation."
They also seem to be the house magazine of a rather corrupt
government as well.
OUT OF THE WOODWORK
all seem to be coming out of the woodwork. The proven
partisan Spanish judge, Baltasar
Garzon, has also tried to indict
Berlusconi, and tried to get his parliamentary immunity
lifted (an immunity that historically was laid down to stop
the executive or the judiciary from derailing opposition politicians).
The difference with Haider is instructive. In Haiderís
case, the Social Democrats realised after the election that
they might be pushed out of government, and so attempted to
their country too late. The Italian ex-communists now realise
that they are unpopular with the electorate, and are trying
to ameliorate it through their friends in the media and the
hope that these shabby tactics will not work and the Italians
will actually think for themselves. I think it is unlikely.
The Italian electorate will be cowed by this sustained international
smear campaign. If the right does indeed win despite this then
it will be a small, temporary and imperfect victory in the fight
for national democracy. There will be more fun if the German
Social Democrats make good on their promise
to isolate Italy if their political allies are voted out of
office. Forza Italia!
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