Rumors with an agenda

Despite the fruitlessness of the government’s campaign to attribute its problems to dark conspiracies or hostile business interests, this hapless tactic is being pursued once again. The Socialist government is blaming the fierce criticism being leveled against it – particularly over PASOK’s economic performance – and its sliding popularity, as reflected in opinion polls, on some mysterious plan that aims to injure the party and the premier in particular. The government spokesman speaks of «rumors with an agenda» that are spread by conservative-leaning business interests. According to the government, a press report suggesting the possibility of Costas Simitis’s succession can only be a «rumor based on an agenda.» Similarly, an unfavorable public survey can only be conducted by pro-New Democracy circles. According to this pathetic view, the ruling party’s prospects would be much brighter, there would be no talk of succession, and people would be satisfied with the reformist government’s performance were it not for the malign machinations of certain vested interests that seek to undermine it. Instead of addressing the problems that it faces, the frustrated government has once again resorted to a naive communication policy, this time spearheaded by the generous efforts of an unfortunate spokesman (who has long tried to rescue the image of a «powerful Greece» against the frightening reports and statistics of international organizations by questioning the validity of their findings). The prime minister is said to be continuously irked by reports penned by people who refuse to acknowledge his political ingenuity. He appears to have lost all ability to read the real picture before him. The premier, of course, has the compassion of a sizable group of reformist «fat cats» that surround him. Reality, however, proves relentless.