A rare TV scoop

Television coverage of a filthy storeroom behind a butcher’s stall at Athens’s central meat market, aired on Star channel’s Saturday news bulletin, was hair-raising stuff. Unquestionably, the report was a success as it prompted prefectural authorities to shut down the business. Viewers were shown a trapdoor leading to an underground catacomb containing darkened cuts of meat, wild pig heads on shelves and cockroaches scuttling along the floor – an ideal backdrop for a horror movie. And to think that most news reports about the meat market were shot outside that very corner stall. Indeed, the disgraced butcher used to put hats and glasses on pigs’ heads to attract customers and TV cameras. It only took a few minutes of coverage to convince us how horrific the situation was and to spur prefectural authorities into action. Of course, no good journalist ever reveals his sources, but whoever the source in this case was, he provided Star’s reporter with a genuine scoop. It is rather difficult to imagine a reporter, however intrepid, crawling around on his hands and knees looking for a trapdoor near the entrance to the Athens meat market. So it is clear that the channel’s ambush had been carefully prepared. But one question remains: Why did it take so long for the information to be leaked? What mesh of connivance, fear and financial dependence kept everybody so quiet for so long?

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