Interviews and press releases

Interviews and press releases

Greek politicians, of all ideological stripes, are spoiled. In fact, we have spoiled them. Especially now that we have a tough election ahead of us, they sometimes forget what work they do and what work we do. “Let’s do an interview, but only in writing”; “Use this title as we suggest”; “What kind of questions are these? They are very aggressive. What are you trying to do, destroy me?” These are but some of the comments we hear these days from politicians who are anxious about securing votes. And I repeat: this is from politicians of all levels and affiliations.

You are, of course, unpleasantly surprised when you encounter such behavior from people you don’t expect, ministers or opposition officials, from whom you expect a more self-confidence, tolerance and respect for the basic rules of liberal democracy. But you are also positively surprised when you see people in important positions in our political system not even demanding to know in advance what they will be asked and answering every question, without fear.

But this is not the rule. In fact, now that we have entered the pre-election period, the demands of politicians exceed all logic. None of them wonders why the major newspapers in Western democracies with proper journalism never publish long interviews of ministers. This only happens in third-world countries.

The strange thing is that politicians with unreasonable demands do not understand that an interview on their own terms is simply unreadable. It is so hopelessly hackneyed, boring and predictable. Some journalists might read it, but that’s it. They will only be enjoyed by the press office. Nobody else cares. At best, they cause boredom. At the same time, the ignorance of the risk of overexposure is also impressive. When one gives one or two or three interviews a week how can this person expect anyone to listen to him or her?

Fortunately, we also have good journalism in Greece. Journalists who ask everything, interviews that exude vitality and substance, and without the veneer of aggression that is often tiresome. As we enter the final stretch of the campaign, the pressure will be great, as will the need to distinguish between interviews and press releases in the form of questions and answers. The voter/reader wants to read proper interviews, not an advertisement.

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