Answering the critics

It is unclear whether the encouraging words of US President George W. Bush to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis – references to «good work,» «good efforts» and «good cooperation,» and the prediction that the Olympic Games will be «good and successful» – will have any positive impact on American mass media. After all, most of the criticism that Greece has received regarding its organization of the Games has come from newspapers and television stations. And we have no reason to doubt that these same media organizations will change their strategy as we draw closer to the big event. The sure thing is that Bush’s positive stance constitutes a response – at the highest level – to the foreign criticism Greece has been subject to during its preparations. So, it is only natural that we should be happy about such a gesture – more for the public relations boost it offers than for any insight into the progress of our preparations – something which only we and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspectors can properly judge. And the IOC recently admitted that preparations were progressing rapidly. Some Greek news reports remarking that the US president may have uttered kind words but did not express his conviction that the Games would be a success strike one as mere fault-finding. After all, no one is in a position to express total certainty or provide absolute guarantees, least of all a president facing elections shortly after the Olympics.

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