Fishing in troubled waters

The premier’s allegations that he is being undermined by economic and media interests raised condescending smiles both inside and outside PASOK. It’s unknown if this was a demonstration of political gimmickry or the typical politicians’ syndrome of mistaking criticism for threats and plots. Costas Simitis’s reaction to corruption allegations shows that what irked him most was not the allegations published in the Avriani daily, but rather the fact that he no longer enjoys the unprecedented and near-scandalous status of immunity so far offered to him by the economic and media establishment. Their red-carpet treatment was not a result of his reformist pledges but mainly due to the fact that, in his time in office, political and business entanglement have thrived as never before. No doubt some economy and media figures have come closer to New Democracy and become more critical of the government. But why is the Maximos Mansion so annoyed? The government itself helped turn our political system into an «entangled democracy.» Indeed, it should have known better when it embraced the powerful money and media barons to «buy support.» What is more important than Simitis’s aggravation is, in fact, his anti-democratic reflex. What’s the conspiracy? Every opposition party has the right to use political means to outdo the government. Parties are judged by the voters. The media have the right to support or criticize them. And they are, in turn, judged by the readers, listeners or viewers. To be sure, their line is not always decided according to journalistic criteria. Those who accuse the media of being overly critical are merely testing the waters. For those media that functioned as supports for the government, facts speak for themselves. Simitis is demonizing the self-evident for he tries to fish in troubled waters. He cares little about corroding our democracy.