TV doomsayers eat humble pie

The victory in this weekend’s municipal and prefectural elections had many fathers, as the saying goes, but it also had its losers. And the biggest of these were the television channels that play to the crowd through populism and cheap spectacle. The conservatives’ election debacle foretold by the talking heads on the screen never played out. Greek voters, after all, seem to watch that sorry excuse for a news bulletin on commercial channels for fun and not to inform themselves. In the weeks before the election, most private channels were busy painting a dramatic picture of Greece – with people starving, the political landscape bracing for a seismic shift, and the country in a state of crisis. A section of the media communicated an extremely negative atmosphere that was not borne out by the election results. The electorate showed it does not live in the glass bubble of TV stars. People voted according to conscience without paying heed to the doomsayers of the 8 o’clock news. Voters gave the conservative administration of Costas Karamanlis a clear mandate and time to move on with the necessary reforms. The much-heralded slap in the government’s face – which was supposed to come from the widespread public disillusionment supposedly foreseen by most television networks and PASOK leader George Papandreou – did not come true. TV reality did not affect voter preference. The decision was based on politics, not coincidence. These elections sent a clear message, discrediting the populist media that dominate our television landscape. Let’s hope the message reached the ears of media bosses.