OPINION

Biased coverage

Politics has been in danger of losing out to business interests since private television channels came into being, attracting big economic interests. Some brave voices had suggested that the television monopolies would exert strong pressure on the political system, open the door to public manipulation and shape political preferences according to the interests of those that own the television networks. This has become even more obvious recently. It can be seen in the coverage of the ongoing political developments and the provocative bias of the majority of television channels. Everything – from excess coverage of events to the makeup of talk show panels – illustrates the bias, the favoritism, the rush to cultivate the next big myth. We are not hereby claiming that George Papandreou has come to any agreement with the media. In fact, he may wish to keep his distance, believing that his popularity derives from the historic legacy of his family name as well as his political demeanor. But for reasons that are known to the media and which the rest of us can only assume, the former has sought to embrace him, with an eye on the future. In any case, regardless of Papandreou’s wishes, the favoritism and the overall behavior of the media highlight the problems of a television-based democracy, the role of the media and the attempts to manipulate public opinion. As long as the institutional framework remains weak and laws are not implemented, as long as the various bosses mix up their businesses, as long as news is confused with other, profitable commodities, then democracy will retreat, citizens will become guinea pigs in the laboratory of TV-based communication and important values will disappear. Everyone must take a stand on the phenomenon, casting aside fleeting gains and calculations because, at the end of the day, what will remain is the oppressive power of television.