July 01, 2003

SILVIO ON A ROLL

Silvio Berlusconi analyses the media:

"The leftist press in Italy has made war since I arrived on the scene and since they lost the elections. There is a division between the moderate people and the extremists, between love and hate, good and evil, truth and lies, that's what's happening in Italy with the newspapers."

It isnít just happening in Italy.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 1, 2003 02:23 PM
Comments

Hmmmm . . . except in this case, the "leftist media" may well be right. It's not every Prime Minister that responds to corruption charges by making himself immune from prosecution.

Posted by: Mork at July 1, 2003 at 02:32 PM

And hmmmmm again. Odd sort of person to be quoting, even for a jaded old oppressor like you, Tim.

If I didn't know you were writing comedy, I'd be a bit worried for ya, mate!

Posted by: Nemesis at July 1, 2003 at 02:40 PM

"Old"?

Posted by: tim at July 1, 2003 at 02:42 PM

Oops. Guilty of assuming. Have no clue how old you are. Give us a hint...

Posted by: Nemesis at July 1, 2003 at 02:45 PM

Eleventy-one!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 1, 2003 at 02:46 PM

Does the fact that he is guilty of corruption (and I think blind freddie can see that old Silvio is guilty as hell) make him ineligible to speak the truth? Lets face it, Phil Adams and Michael Moore crap on like bandits every week, and still considers themselves the paragon of all that is good and decent in the world. In fact, I doubt that those fat useless bastards have ever said a true word in their life, whilst preaching to the rest of us how good and right they are.

It is not mutually exclusive for somebody who may be guilty of something else, to speak the truth

Posted by: Todd at July 1, 2003 at 02:59 PM

Oh, please. Berlusconi is the last person who can complain about media coverage...

Posted by: Robert at July 1, 2003 at 03:29 PM

Funny how Clinton's corruption doesn't preclude him from speaking truths (or his truths) but Silvio's does.

I think I can draw on the cliche of playing the man and not the ball for this one.

Posted by: Gabor at July 1, 2003 at 03:33 PM

Todd, Gabor, you don't maybe think that there is just a little hint of self-interest in Berlusconi's comments (man on corruption charges complains that "leftist press" is out to get him) that might lead a person to discount his opinions on the subject just a little?

I mean, when Nixon and Clinton, in their turn, claimed that the press was out to get them, did you assume that those gentlemen were giving us an objective critique with no other purpose but to shine light where before there had been darkness?

And then there's the fact that Berlusconi is the biggest media proprietor in Europe . . .

Posted by: Mork at July 1, 2003 at 03:54 PM

And he takes over the Italian presidency of the EU today for six months.

Posted by: Susan at July 1, 2003 at 03:55 PM

"It isnít just happening in Italy."

What, far-right figures talking complete crap?

Too true, too true.

Posted by: Bon Scott at July 1, 2003 at 04:00 PM

"There is a division between the moderate people and the extremists, between love and hate, good and evil, truth and lies"

and, uh, which side is berlusconi on?

Posted by: adam at July 1, 2003 at 04:11 PM

What is funny, though, is how little coverage charges of corruption in Chirac's and previous French governments have gotten. Come think of it, can anybody here tell me the last time there was a German, French or Italian government (right/left/centrist) that was not corrupt? I'm not excusing the charges against Berlusconi at all, just saying the press has hit him a lot more enthusiastically than they ever have anyone to his left. But then, I guess that's probably what he was saying.

Posted by: Charles at July 1, 2003 at 04:20 PM

Well done Tim!

Your post has brought out the usual motley crew of far right nitwits.

Do their mothers know they've got out without their nappies on?

Posted by: Nemesis at July 1, 2003 at 04:27 PM

Charles: I've seen stuff on Chirac everywhere: I'm not sure how you've missed it. Did you think the voices were only talking to you?

Posted by: Mork at July 1, 2003 at 04:47 PM

Mork, I think the voices might be talking to you.
I was speaking of the most recent charges against the French government (as opposed to the earlier corruption charges leveled against Chirac), of which the English-language press have been nearly silent (see the BBC for example), while constantly lambasting Berlusconi. Of course, the press started becoming Chirac-friendly about the time he publicly started to throw a lifeline to Saddam.
The press can't even mention Berlusconi without calling him corrupt, and they never will. Chirac, on the other hand, is "the king of peace", even though he is probably no less corrupt than Berlusconi, and is immune from prosecution for basically the same reason.

Posted by: Charles at July 1, 2003 at 05:22 PM

The fact is that the left don't like it when successful businessmen become Prime Ministers. Look at Taksin in Thailand, an IT/Electronics billionaire just like Berlusconi. They think that Government is too important to be left to entrepreneurs(as opposed to unemployable lawyers and clapped-out union hacks)- that's why the world is in such a mess.

Posted by: Fred at July 1, 2003 at 05:30 PM

The fact is that the left don't like it when successful businessmen become Prime Ministers. Look at Taksin in Thailand, an IT/Electronics billionaire just like Berlusconi. They think that Government is too important to be left to entrepreneurs(as opposed to unemployable lawyers and clapped-out union hacks)- that's why the world is in such a mess.

Posted by: Fred at July 1, 2003 at 05:31 PM

hey charles:
1. i think that the press gave chirac a pass on the earlier corruption charges, at least by comparison with its treatment of berlusconi.
2. the scandal was in many ways similar to berlusconi's, for example chirac hand-picked a judicial committee to grant him immunity from prosecution.
3. but the corruption scandal first broke way back in Oct 2001, so its comparitively weak coverage in the press can have nothing to do with chirac being king of peace.
4. actually the people baying for blood when the chirac scandal broke were the french left!
5. i'm not sure whether the most recent scandal actually involves chirac personally [it appears to be an allegation of corrupt institutions]
6. and, uh, the bbc is not silent on it.

also to fred, i tried looking at thaksin, but all these corpses keep clouding my view.

Posted by: adam at July 1, 2003 at 06:00 PM

Charles: is this the story about the left-wing press have been nearly silent?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,984795,00.html

I ask, of course, merely for information.

And Fred: thanks for nailing down for us reason why the world is such a mess. Twice! No lawyers on the conservative side of politics, you know! And a whole lot of successful businesspeople, such as . . . .

In actual fact, very few successful business people enter politics on either side . . . why would you? But it seems to me that when they do, they are as likely to belong to parties of the left as of the right. Take a look at this list of the wealthiest U.S. Senators, for example (disregard Kerry, who married his money, and Rockefeller, who inherited it). http://www-cgi.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/06/13/senators.finances/

The richest man in American politics is Mike Bloomberg, who was a Democrat right up till the opportunity came to run for mayor of NYC for the GOP. But he is, as they say, a VERY liberal GOP pol.

Posted by: Mork at July 1, 2003 at 06:07 PM

Hey Mork you forgot the best known businessman of all in the US - your own President.

Also, I don't like lawyers what ever side of politics they're on. It so happens in Australia that there are lots of them in the Labor Party, together with superannuated union apparachiks. Not too many blue collar workers in that party.

Posted by: Fred at July 1, 2003 at 06:15 PM

Sadly, Fred, I don't have a President. I have a queen.

But if you are referring to George W. Bush, whatever his other qualities, business acumen does not seem to be one of them.

As for Australia, I certainly agree about the composition of the ALP: there's hardly anyone left in parliament who wasn't a union official, political staffer or lawyer.

But the lib side isn't that much better. Ty this for a roll-call of lawyers in cabinet: John Howard, Peter Costello, Robert Hill, Richard Alston, Tony Abbott, Phillip Ruddock, David Kemp, Nick Minchin, Amanda Vanston, Darryl Williams . . . need I go on?

Posted by: Mork at July 1, 2003 at 06:38 PM

One obvious reason for Berlusconi getting the attention is his high profile. Being (I think) the biggest media magnate in Italy (if not Europe) AND its PM makes him far more newsworthy. Especially when he comes out with self serving drivel like today's example.

Posted by: Grover at July 1, 2003 at 07:36 PM

Italy is unique in the sense that the prime minister has enormous control over the media and the "leftist" papers hate it. This precludes comparisons with Chirac et al; Chirac would be more relevant if he controlled Le Monde for example.

Still Silvio rabbits on about the leftist media conspiracy while he basically controls most of the conservative media in the country as well as having indirect control of the public television stations now that he's PM. So now he's reaping what he's sown, which is that he's shut down sensible analysis to a large degree through the Berlusconi-owned/influenced press.

When that well-known socialist rag The Economist leads with an article saying that Berlusconi should go, it's hardly a "leftist" media conspiracy..

Posted by: Juanito at July 1, 2003 at 08:12 PM

Yes, while I agree with Tim on the generally awful one-sided centre-leftism of Australia's media i think over enthusiasm has got the better of him on Berlusconi. There is nothing for us on the centre right to gain by identifying with some one who is pretty corrupt....

Posted by: Matthew at July 2, 2003 at 01:16 AM

Tim Blair, you're a nut! He's probably corrupt and probably going to be convicted! Are you insane?

Posted by: james at July 2, 2003 at 01:36 AM

rubbing your chin and nodding along to Berlusconi, Blair? are you for serious?

Posted by: TBIABFI at July 2, 2003 at 02:11 AM

Tim:

A crook who knows how to turn a clever phrase is still a crook. I don't give allowances for Jacques Chirac or Bill Clinton or George Galloway and I'm not about to give allowances to Silvio Berlusconi, no matter how quoteable he might be.

Posted by: Sean at July 2, 2003 at 02:17 AM

Jesus Tim,

You have the left-wing whack jobs soiling themselves on this one. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: D2D at July 2, 2003 at 04:39 AM

Of course, the fact that the left-wing media (probably) is out to get Berlusconi doesn't mean they're wrong. In fact, they appear to be right. On the other hand, we always have this pot/kettle thing going, and the media in the west certainly seems to be largely of the left. Therefore, there is less unholy glee in the reporting of corruption on the left (see Carter and Clinton problems -- appointments, that is).

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at July 2, 2003 at 07:27 AM

Berusconi is corrupt becuase he committed the grand crimes of commencing life as an entrepeneur and making his own fortune; unlike the moral socialist puritans who wallow at the hogs' trough called mafia and good ol taxpayer.Typical of communisto blowhard phonies.

Posted by: d at July 2, 2003 at 11:13 AM

hey d, berlusconi is suspected of paying off a couple of judges [to the tune of many hundreds of thousands of dollars] to block a privatisation deal that would have benefited a rival company, and then doctoring his company's books to hide the bribes. i didn't expect you to so frankly admit what being an "entrepeneur" involves.

Posted by: adam at July 2, 2003 at 01:28 PM