Family resemblances

One of Greece?s biggest problems is the standard, style and inanity of televised discourse concerning the serious issues dogging the country.

Greece must be the only nation in all of Europe where the discussions on political and economic developments are reminiscent of coffee-shop talk.

It is no coincidence that the problems facing the country took Greek society by surprise in part because private television channels have for years hidden them behind the glitz and glamour of celebrity lifestyle programs.

Does anyone remember any experts or commentators analyzing the details about the economy or the debt? Of course not. On the other hand, most of us have vivid memories of news anchormen speaking live from their studios with singers, colorful politicians, and hot-blooded unionists.

Concern about TV ratings has always taken a toll on the quality of television discourse in this country. The local channels have been competing against each other to see who can put on the cheapest show. Televised discourse is hostage to cheap stereotypes and convenient cliches. Emotion always takes precedence over reason.

All that can be explained as, the day after the show, most of us will chat about the outrageous comment made by some cult TV personality and not sober proposals by the likes of Christopher Pissarides, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics last year.

Nevertheless, I have the impression that the box concerns a small number of labor unionists, politicians and journalists who get a kick out of arguing with each other, while in contrast the viewing public seems to be far more mature and cool-headed.

But people can see through those who are trying to sell them something, they can see who is a real friend of the people, and who is unsuitable to talk about the ills of and the remedies for the country.

We should not forget the uncomfortable fact that, at the end of the day, the shallow, provincial, nouveau riche, inadequate political establishment that failed the country emerged from the interaction with and dependence on a similarly shallow, provincial, nouveau riche, inadequate media system.

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