Unacceptable reaction

Greek political parties facing internal problems and failing to win votes habitually accuse the mass media of organized attacks and devious machinations. This happened again recently when PASOK spokesman Nikos Athanassakis officially denounced a Greek television program as an «unethical and insulting attack.» The news programs of some privately owned media outlets do serve undeclared interests, but unless there are some elements of credibility and seriousness, «organized attacks» do not affect public opinion, though they may reveal the sources and the objectives of the «machinations.» Likewise, the intrigues and attacks of the media cannot overturn electoral results by distorting the criteria on which voters decide. This was confirmed in the last elections, which New Democracy won comortably even though the overwhelming majority of the media opposed it. PASOK is in a period of political stagnation and disunity, which the media naturally records, analyzes and comments on. PASOK officials’ disagreements and public squabbles over labor issues, social insurance, the constitution and the selection of Gulbeyaz Karahasan as a candidate for the job of Drama-Xanthi-Kavala prefect, which prompted Athanassakis’s remarks, are not the product of «unethical and insulting attacks.» Athanassakis went on to say, unacceptably: «It goes without saying, and we know that there will be other attacks on [PASOK leader George] Papandreou. It will be interesting to see who the prefect is.» PASOK apparently wants to pre-empt any criticism by attributing it to hidden agendas. It has gone on the attack, with a hidden threat of intimidating and manipulating journalists, particularly unaligned ones. Whatever their motivation, Athanassakis’s remarks should have triggered an outcry from politicians and, above all, journalists.